The 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games returns to The Bahamas with the competition being held July 18-23 in New Providence.
The team of 92 Bahamians is getting ready to play host, while competing in one of the biggest international competitions to be hosted in the country. The competition will feature nine events – Aquatics, Athletics, Beach Soccer, Judo, Cycling, Rugby Sevens, Boxing, Tennis and Beach Volleyball.
Of the nine sporting disciplines, Grand Bahama will be represented in Aquatics, Athletics and Rugby Sevens, with most of the Rugby Team selected out of the ‘second city.’
Yesterday – Thursday, July 13, much to the delight of the GB Commonwealth Games Committee and local athletes, Chef de Missions for this year’s Games, who is none other than a Grand Bahama native, Derron Donaldson, met with some of the athletes selected to compete and foster an early connection with the selected members.
Donaldson noted that the need to meet with the athletes came after a team manager’s meeting, where he wanted to make the athletes feel a part of the whole process.
Congratulating the athletes on making the team, Donaldson noted that they should also be highlighted for the achievement.
“They’ve made an international team and to be a part of these historic Games, they should be celebrated just for qualifying for that, because a lot of negativity goes toward young people,” he expressed, “And we have some young Sports Ambassadors in this room right now and they should be celebrated.”
He stressed that a part of the Chef’s job is to ensure the athletes, coaches and officials are organized, and managing substitutions among other responsibilities.
The Chef’s remarks moved toward how more athletes such as the CYG athletes could be developed, which he noted starts with the development of sporting facilities.
He also mentioned that persons in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture offices could visit and possibly be assisted by coaches of various disciplines to oversee children playing various sports after school.
“The minister (Michael Pintard, who was in attendance) seems open to conversation and he’s very interested in what we could put together for Grand Bahama, and I’m happy to help. I’m offering my services to him now and I want us to see this through.”
Donaldson later surprised the athletes with news that they would be granted early travel to the capital, which will enable them to be a part of a planned motorcade and any press conference that would be held leading up to the Games. He then named a Grand Bahamian liaison, Allan Hall, who athletes can take their concerns to and in turn, Hall will pass those concerns on to Donaldson.
Donaldson also disclosed that the athletes would be staying in the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar.
Representing Grand Bahama in Swimming will be – Brianna Nesbitt, Trent Albury and Katelyn Cabral.
Cabral and Albury were not present for the meeting with Donaldson, but Nesbitt voiced her enthusiasm of representing The Bahamas on the Commonwealth Youth Stage.
“This is going to be the biggest event for me in my swimming career (so far) and I’m very excited to represent The Bahamas.”
Named to the Athletics Team out of Grand Bahama were – Shaquille Higgs, Corey Sherrod and Tyrell Simms.
Simms and Sherrod are currently in Kenya competing in the IAAF World Under 18 Championships. Higgs, however, addressed how he felt about the upcoming week.
“It is a very good experience for me representing the country, once again. I just want go out there and do my best to represent The Bahamas.”
Selected to represent The Bahamas in the Rugby Sevens were – Maurice Moore III, Keith McGregor, George Cartwright and Tyler Bain. The assistant coach for the Rugby crew is Kyle Charlton.
Each member shared how, “big of a deal” it was to be selected to play on the CYG stage for the first time and can’t wait to get on the pitch.