NASSAU, The Bahamas – The historic Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games closed as it opened – to the pulsating sounds of Junkanoo and participating athletes reveling in its hypnotic rthythm.
After six days of competing in nine sporting disciplines – the athletes who traveled near and far – returned home with medals, experiences, and lasting friendships formed between July 18–23, 2017.
The Bahamas secured a historic thirteen places on the medal podium, with 10 bronzes, two silvers and one gold across Athletics, Beach Soccer, Judo and Swimming.
The Closing Ceremony took place immediately after an action-packed Athletics programme, culminating with the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 Mixed Relays, a crowd- favourite- raising the roof as Doneisha Anderson, Kayvon Stubbs, Joel Johnson and Shaquiel Higgs brought home gold in the 4x200m Mixed Relay in front of an ecstatic crowd in the Youth Games’ final moments.
In closing remarks, Sunday, July 23, the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard especially thanked the athletes for the sacrifice they made coming to The Bahamas for the games.
He encouraged them to continue on the path of excellence not only in athletics but also in public and civic development in their respective countries. “You are the future leaders. God Bless all of you.”
Wellington Miller, Chairman of the Organizing Committee and Chairman of the Bahamas Commonwealth Games Association, said: “The Youth Games have been 100 percent successful. The Bahamas put on a great show and proved to be an example of how to host competition at this level, with our own team medaling for the first time ever in these historic Games.
“I have been so impressed with the performances of all competing athletes – and the response from team managers and coaches has been amazing, congratulating the country on its hospitality and friendship”.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin, CBE billed the games and the cultural trappings surrounding the events “a turning point in the island’s incredible sporting history”
Commenting on the success of the Sixth Commonwealth Games, Mrs. Martin said: “The Bahamas have provided a spectacular sporting stage and cultural platform for the Commonwealth’s finest young athletes to shine. All Bahamians have welcomed our athletes, teams and officials with open hearts and open arms. In return, they can forever credit The Bahamas for helping nurture them as athletes and global sporting citizens. We cannot thank The Bahamas enough for all they have achieved and delivered in record time.
“The Commonwealth Youth Games are an unparalleled opportunity for nations to promote an inclusive and positive youth and sports development agenda. Through this shared focus on youth, I passionately believe that we have shaped the future together – developing and empowering the sporting stars and leaders of tomorrow.”
Over six days, 1010 athletes mostly aged 14-18 from 63 nations and territories have competed for gold and glory across nine sporting disciplines. A total of 96 Gold Medals were awarded across Aquatics, Athletics, Beach Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Cycling (Road), Judo, Rugby Sevens and Tennis.
Over half of the participating countries took home medals; The Bahamas, Bermuda, Isle of Man and Trinidad and Tobago captured their first-ever Youth Games gold medals. The British Virgin Islands and Mozambique won their first-ever Youth Games medals.
Rwanda won its first-ever medal securing bronze in the Women’s Beach Volleyball. The athlete taking home the most medals is 16-year old swimmer Jing Wen Quah of Singapore, who dominated the pool in individual and team events winning five Golds and one Silver medal. Team England topped the medal table overall with a sensational 51 medals.
At the Closing Ceremony over 1000 athletes and team officials paraded together at the T. A. Robinson National Stadium. The closing proceedings also saw the Commonwealth Youth Games Ceremonial Quaich and the Commonwealth Games Federation flag lowered and accepted on behalf of the next generation of young athletes by 17-year-old Samoan Tristan Vaai and 16-year old Bahamian Karra Hanna.
The process is already underway to confirm a new host for the 2021 Games.
Since its inception in 2000 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Commonwealth Youth Games has provided an important springboard for future sporting stars. Commonwealth Games, Olympic and World Championship superstars such as Kirani James, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chad le Clos and Caster Semenya have all experienced the early thrill of representing their home nations and territories as teenage competitors at previous Youth Games.