Scotland’s top young athletes ready for Commonwealth challenge

19 Jul 2017

Scotland’s best and brightest young athletes are in the Bahamas this week, taking part in the Commonwealth Youth Games. This is the sixth edition of the Games, which will run until 23 July and Team Scotland has taken 40 athletes under the age of 18 to compete against the Commonwealth’s best young talent. It’s the first time that a Commonwealth Games event has been held in the Caribbean in over 50 years and is the largest sporting event the Bahamas has ever held. The capital city of Nassau, home of the prestigious World Relay Championships in 2014 & 2015, will play host to the action.

The opening ceremony will take place at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium, which will also act as the centrepiece of the main sports hub. Team Scotland will be led out by 17 year old flag bearer, Lewis Johnstone. He will go on to compete in the boxing and is already a double European Junior Championship medal winner. Lewis was chosen as flag bearer by his fellow athletes and he will become the first boxer to carry the flag for Team Scotland at an Opening Ceremony.

A wide range of sporting disciplines will be on offer across the six days, with Team Scotland competing in seven of the nine different sports available. The programme will see Judo, Beach Volleyball and Beach Soccer make their Youth Games debut, as well as a return for Cycling, last held in 2011. Team Scotland will compete in Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Cycling, Judo, Swimming and Tennis, with Beach Soccer and Rugby Sevens the other two sports on the programme.

The concept for the Commonwealth Youth Games was created in Scotland as a development opportunity to give athletes under 18 an international multi-sport experience. It aims to bridge the gap between young athletes competing in their own sports specific events and the often daunting first experience of a senior multi-sport Games. The other great thing about the Youth Games is that they are now targeted to be held in smaller countries which are unlikely to be able to hold the full Games, thereby spreading events around the entire Commonwealth.

The first Youth Games were held in Edinburgh in 2000 as part of Scotland’s Millennium celebrations. Athletes from 14 countries competed in Edinburgh and the event quickly proved to be a great success. The Youth Games now attracts entries from all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth and has been the ideal introduction to multi-sport Games for a host of international stars. Scotland has also achieved a great deal of success at the Youth Games, sitting sixth overall in the all-time medal table.

Many of Scotland’s current top athletes began their career participating in the Commonwealth Youth Games. Commonwealth Games gold medallists such as boxer Charlie Flynn, swimmer Hannah Miley and gymnast Daniel Keatings all had their introduction to a multi-sport Games at this competition. Also, international stars such as Olympic Swimming champion Jodie Henry of Australia, Olympic Heptathlon

The 2017 Games are set to be the largest to date, with over 1300 athletes expected to compete. As well as competing, the youngsters will also get the chance to soak up the atmosphere of the host city. A cultural week is scheduled to run alongside the competition to allow athletes to mix with their peers from around the Commonwealth and learn about other cultures.

These Scottish stars of the future are ready to shine on an international stage, and show the world what they are capable of. You can keep up to date with how they are getting on by following them twitter @team_scotland.

Visit Team Scotland Website