Today, 1st February 2016, at Belfast City Hall, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) announced Belfast as host City for the VII Commonwealth Youth Games in 2021. The games, which will be held from 27th July – 1st August 2021, hopes to welcome 1,000 young athletes from 71 nations and territories within the Commonwealth of Nations to venues across Belfast and surrounding areas.
The Commonwealth Youth Games started in Edinburgh in 2000 and since then has taken place in Bendigo, Australia (2004), Pune, India (2008), Isle of Man (2011) and Samoa (2015) with the 2017 Games due to be hosted in The Bahamas. The Games, aimed at young athletes aged 14 -18yrs, have featured Commonwealth, World and Olympic champions athletes including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Beth Tweddle, Geraint Thomas, Caster Semeya and our own Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan.
The Youth Games will involve up to nine sports which will be announced in Edmonton, Canada, in October 2016 at the CGF’s General Assembly. They will be selected from Commonwealth Games Federation sports programme which have governing bodies affiliated to the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council.
It is anticipated that the benefits and legacy from the games will not only have an impact on Belfast but on the whole of Northern Ireland. The Youth Games will attract officials, dignitaries and large numbers of visiting friends and family as well as provide the opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland as a world class tourist destination with the ability to stage fantastic sporting events. Legacy programmes featuring sport initiatives, volunteering and social cohesion are already being developed. Underlining all of this is the unique opportunity to promote the Games Federation’s values of Humanity – Equality – Destiny and the sharing of ideas and culture with young people from across the world to help promote tolerance and respect.
Commonwealth Games Federation President, Louise Martin CBE, said:
“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. The Commonwealth Games Federation looks forward to working in close partnership with you to realise your ambitions to write a proud and ambitious new chapter in Northern Ireland’s history through the unifying power of sport”.
Robert McVeigh, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, added:
‘On behalf of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council I’m delighted to accept this offer to host the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2021. This is a hugely significant day for local sport; the result of many years of lobbying and hard work. It offers a great opportunity for children of upper primary school and Year 8 age to strive towards being part of the largest ever TeamNI at Commonwealth Youth Games. We look forward to the tremendous support for which the Northern Ireland public is renowned.”
Welcoming the successful bid Lord Mayor, Arder Carson, said:
“When major events come to our city we get involved in our thousands and embrace the festival atmosphere. We will support the Commonwealth Youth Games with as much vigour as we have previous global events such as Giro D’Italia and Tall Ships Race. These events provide multiple opportunities for new experiences particularly for young people through volunteering – it gives them an exciting way to highlight and develop their skills and talents. I am sure everyone in the city, young and older, will throw themselves behind the event to ensure its success and strengthen our reputation as a city capable of hosting international events with a welcome and warmth that ripples around the world. I commend all who have helped make this vision a reality. Throughout the bidding and lobbying process they have been selling all that is good about our city and it is to their credit that we have won the right to host the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2012.”
For further information visit www.belfast2021.com and follow Belfast 2021 ‘on the road’ to the VII Commonwealth Youth Games on Instagram, Facebook and twitter @Belfast2021 #GoBelfast2021.