HEAD of the local organising committee Ephraim Serrette believes the Commonwealth Youth Games TT (CYGTT) 2023 is an opportunity to showcase the quality of local venues which will support this country’s sport tourism drive.
Seven sports will feature at the Commonwealth Youth Games including swimming (boys/girls), athletics (boys/girls), cycling (boys/girls), netball (girls), rugby sevens (boys/girls), triathlon (boys/girls) and beach volleyball (boys/girls).
The games will take place from August 4-11 for athletes aged 14-18. A total of 1,000 athletes from over 70 countries are expected.
The games were originally scheduled to be held in TT in 2021, but were postponed because of the covid19 pandemic.
The games will be split into two clusters with sports being held in Couva, and in Tobago.
The venues which will be used in Couva are National Aquatic Centre, National Cycling Velodrome, Ato Boldon Stadium and the Home of Football which will help house athletes and officials.
In Tobago, the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet will be the lone stadium used. However, a space at Pigeon Point will be developed to host beach volleyball and triathlon will take place in Buccoo.
“Barring the economics and the budgetary stuff, it is an investment,” Serrette said at a media conference at the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua, on Friday.
“An investment to showcase the facilities that we have, so that we could have international competition (in the future) and also to push the sport tourism (drive). That is one of the budding topics these days - sport tourism. That will be the investment for these games going forward, so we could promote our facilities.”
Giving more details about how TT can benefit from sport tourism, Serrette said, “Over the years we have (had) colleges (travel to TT) during the winter season looking for warm spaces or countries to do their work, so this is an opportunity for TT to showcase those facilities.”
As mentioned in the Newsday on Wednesday, Sport Company of TT chairman Douglas Camacho said the aim is to have all venues ready in six months to hold test events before the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Serrette said if the TT athletes train at the local venues it will help them prepare for the games.
“We have very competitive deadlines where the facilities are concerned. They will be ready months before so that even our local NGBs (national governing bodies) that are participating in the seven disciplines would have the old adage of home town advantage, so they will be able to play on the facilities or use the facilities before the games.”
Head of the TT Commonwealth Games Association Diane Henderson said the Commonwealth Youth Games will allow TT to pinpoint junior athletes who have the potential of achieving success at senior level.
She said, “We know that over the next few months the NGBs will be selecting the best of the crop to not only represent TT and win in 2023, but also with the hope that they continue to compete as their skills increase beyond Youth Commonwealth Games. We are looking at podium potential beyond CYGTT 2023 and I am sure that the NGBs responsible are aware and preparing. We look forward to the cream of the crop.”
Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe, in a Facebook post last month, said the games will showcase TT’s culture.
Serrette said the opening ceremony in particular will highlight TT’s culture as a street parade will be held.