Scotland’s preparations are well underway for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games and they took another step forward recently, when Commonwealth Games Scotland Chief Executive, Jon Doig and General Team Manager for Youth Team Scotland, Elinor Middlemiss made a site visit to Games hosts Samoa.
The next major event for CGS since Team Scotland’s record breaking performance at Glasgow 2014, Samoa 2015 will represent the first step for the next generation of athletes aspiring to Commonwealth Games success. With athletes who have come through the Youth Games pathway to achieve success including the likes of Hannah Miley, Charlie Flynn and Jennifer McIntosh, there is compelling evidence that the experience stands young athletes in good stead into their senior career.
During Jon and Elinor’s short recce to the island they viewed the sports venues and accommodation, built relationships with organising committee representatives and local service providers and had the chance to see first-hand the preparations for the Games.
“It was an educational few days,” said Elinor. “We had a really friendly reception and it was a fantastic opportunity to meet the people we will be working alongside during the Games. Having the chance to view the venues and get a picture of how things will run in September, allows us to pass on invaluable information to the coaches for each sport to aid their preparations. Youth Team Scotland will go into the Games well prepared for their first taste of Commonwealth competition.”
With just less than five months until 1,000 athletes under the age of 18 and around 500 support staff from around the Commonwealth descend on Samoa, existing venues are currently being refurbished and the new squash facility is well on the way to completion. Many competition venues were used when Samoa hosted the 2007 South Pacific Games and Jon and Elinor returned happy with the standard that training and competition facilities will offer on completion.
“It has been great to see progress first-hand, although there is still a lot of work to be done by the local organising committee", said Jon. "We look forward to returning in September for the Youth Games in Samoa which will certainly offer a uniquely different experience for all the athletes.
"The Youth Games are a fantastic development opportunity for our athletes with 66 to date progressing to senior Games since their inception in 2000. The Youth Games are about more than the medal count, they are a chance to give athletes experience of a multi-sport Games at a young age and learn about their peers from around the Commonwealth.”
The Commonwealth Youth Games concept was developed by Scotland as a development opportunity to introduce athletes under the age of 18 to an international multi-sport Games. This experience helps to bridge the gap between young athletes competing in their own sport specific competitions and the daunting experience of a first Commonwealth Games.
The fifth Commonwealth Youth Games will be held in Samoa, 5-11 September 2015 and athletes on Youth Team Scotland will compete in eight sports: Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Squash, Swimming, Tennis and Weightlifting. Lawn Bowls was the first sport to name their two athletes for Youth Team Scotland and further team announcements will be made in May and June.