Following hot on the heels of the announcement last week that The Bahamas will host the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, today Northern Ireland has also been confirmed as a future host venue for the VII Commonwealth Youth Games in the summer of 2021.
At a special event attended by Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland Patron Dame Mary Peters and athletes from previous editions of the Commonwealth Games and Youth Games, Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE made the announcement saying: “I am thrilled to announce that the Executive Board of the Commonwealth Games Federation has unanimously voted to award the 2021 edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games to Northern Ireland.
“The Commonwealth Youth Games are an important and inspiring demonstration of the connecting and life-changing power of sport to bring people and different communities together. As Samoa showed us last year, hosting a special sporting occasion like the Youth Games empowers even the smallest nations to have a profound and distinctive impact – not just on their own young people or their own communities – but on an international scale.
Northern Ireland’s successful bid for the Commonwealth Youth Games centres around an ambitious promise of an inclusive and accessible event delivered for and by young people – as athletes, volunteers and organisers. All athletes will be housed in existing university accommodation and the sports programme will be determined at a later date. An even gender split of athletes is regarded as a high priority, consistent with Belfast 2021’s ambitions to use the Games to inspire increased participation and active lifestyles, especially for young girls.
Alongside the sporting action, the VII Commonwealth Youth Games will offer a diverse and dynamic cultural and Commonwealth celebration, showcasing Belfast’s young people and the city’s ambitious regeneration projects such as the city’s Titanic Quarter.
Welcoming the news, Commonwealth Games Chairman, Paul Bush OBE said: “I am delighted to hear that the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games has been awarded to Belfast. It is great news that the future of this important event has been secured for the next two editions, enabling CGA’s to start the planning process for taking teams to compete in The Bahamas and closer to home in Northern Ireland. It will also provide a real source of inspiration for Scotland’s young athletes, excited about progressing through the sporting pathway to represent their country on the international stage.
“The Youth Games has an excellent track record for developing athletes who go on to deliver success for Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and I have no doubt it will continue to do so in future years.”