Commonwealth partnership to inspire young sporting citizens at Bahamas Commonwealth Youth Games

London, June 20, 2017: Bahamas Commonwealth Youth Games, With just four weeks to go to the Opening Ceremony of the VIth edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the Commonwealth Secretariat, The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), today (Tuesday 20 June) announce a dynamic and inclusive programme of athlete engagement activities at the upcoming Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games to provide support and inspiration to tackle the issues facing the next generation of global sporting citizens.

Taking place on the Caribbean island nation of The Bahamas from 18-23 July 2017, the Commonwealth Youth Games will be the largest international sporting event ever held in the Bahamas, bringing together over 1000 young athletes aged 14-18, who will represent their country and compete in 9 sports over 6 days.

The Commonwealth Youth Games Athlete Impact Labs are an official part of the Bahamas 2017 Cultural and Personal Development Programme, helping fulfil the Games’ core ambition to strengthen the link between sporting competition, personal development and Commonwealth peace-building.

Welcoming the initiatives, CGF President and Chair of CABOS (the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport) Louise Martin CBE said: “Now more than ever, athletes are inspiring us on and off the field of play as global role models so we’re thrilled to be working with the Commonwealth Secretariat, RCS and UNICEF to engage, inspire and support our young Commonwealth athletes and young Caribbean hosts.

These CYG Athlete Impact Labs recognise and support our young athletes as essential to delivering on the Commonwealth’s values and achieving the UN sustainable development goals through sport.”

The Commonwealth Secretariat, Royal Commonwealth Society and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have worked closely with the CGF and the local Bahamas 2017 Organising Committee in Nassau to deliver a series of fun and interactive workshops, covering topics including youth empowerment, integrity and personal values, youth participation in sport governance and how young role models can contribute to human rights and sustainable development.

The aim is to help young athletes and officials understand and explore how sport can be used to contribute to society and the rights of young people participating in and around sport.

The workshops will take place on rotation on the last three days of the Games, enabling athletes and officials to attend on an optional basis, and will be delivered by representatives from UNICEF, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace (CYDSP) working group – a collaborative network of young sport and development leaders supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat and endorsed as the Commonwealth’s leading youth voice on Sport for Development and Peace.

Welcoming the partnership, Janine Thornhill, from Trinidad and Tobago, and Chair of the CYSDP Working Group said: “This is a huge team effort as we join forces with our friends and colleagues at the RCS, UNICEF, Commonwealth Secretariat, the CGF and the local Organising Committee to use the Youth Games as a powerful sporting stage to connect with young people from every nation, culture and background.

“We look forward to meeting athletes and officials to support, inspire and learn more about the issues and opportunities facing young athletes across the Commonwealth. We all passionately believe that sport can be used as a tool for development and peace and the CYG Athlete Impact Labs are another example of the important role the Commonwealth Sports Movement can play promoting the Commonwealth and our shared values.”

Launched in 2000 and now in its 6th edition, the Youth Games are a sustainable opportunity for smaller cities and nations to benefit from hosting a major sporting event, using predominantly preexisting venues (in Nassau’s case, most events take place at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre) whilst also promoting an inclusive and positive youth and sustainable development agenda.

With 50% of Commonwealth citizens aged 25 and under, the Youth Games play an important part in the Commonwealth’s mission to advance democracy, development and respect for diversity through sport. —- CGF

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