The Bahamas has been awarded the 2017 edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games, it was announced today, aiming to unite 1000 young athletes aged 14-18 in a Caribbean carnival of impactful competition, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships.

St Lucia has withdrawn as host of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, it was announced here today.

The decision to pull out was revealed during the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in a video message from St Lucia's Prime Minister Kenny Anthony.

The Caribbean island had been awarded the event in November 2011 but its preparations have been hit by doubts over venues and financial concerns, particularly over the lack of a stadium to host athletics.

A fire had caused severe damage to a hospital in the south of the island, meaning the George Odlum Stadium in the capital Castries, containing the country's only International Association of Athletics Federations-accredited track, had been adapted into a temporary medical facility.

The rebuild of the hospital is now not due to be completed until 2016 and the cost of returning the Stadium to a sports facility was in excess of $15 million (£10 million/€13 million) and would also not be completed in time for the Games.

A deal to hold athletics on the neighbouring island of St Kitts and Nevis could not be reached in time for this General Assembly, Anthony revealed, so the Government no longer believed they could support the project.

Canada and Scotland have already contacted the CGF to offer to step in as hosts.

The CGF have also asked for any other "expressions of interest" and hope to announce a new host by the end of next month.

"The [CGF Execuitve] Board met earlier this morning and decided to put this to the meeting, but also give the other members who would like to offer to host the Youth Games in 2017 a chance," outgoing CGF President Prince Imran said.

This year's edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games is due to start in Apia, Samoa's capital, on Saturday (September 5).

About 1,000 athletes from 71 countries and territories were expected to compete in St Lucia in what would have been the biggest CGF event to be held in the Caribbean since Jamaica's capital Kingston hosted the 1966 Commonwealth Games.

"We are obviously disappointed to hear St Lucia has taken the difficult decision to withdraw its commitment to host the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games," said David Grevemberg, chief executive of the CGF.

"Whilst appreciating the economic and environmental challenges they face as a small island nation, we will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth Games Association of St Lucia and their Government partners to support and ultimately realise their ambitions to deliver a positive and lasting legacy for the young people of their island, the Caribbean and the Commonwealth.

"Our attention for now focuses enthusiastically on delivering an inspiring Youth Games in Samoa in a few days time, showcasing a joyous celebration and impactful sport, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships made on the level playing field of sport."

Paul Bush, chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS), confirmed they were interested in stepping in as hosts.

“We note the withdrawal of St Lucia as hosts of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games and along with a number of other countries, we have agreed to consider hosting the event," he told insidethegames.

“CGS will now work with Scottish partners to evaluate the options over the coming weeks.”

Edinburgh had hosted the first-ever Commonwealth Youth Games in 2000.


The 2011 Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games officially closed last night with a ceremony and lively athletes party to mark the end of the fourth Commonwealth Youth Games.

Steve Colley, a local motorbike rider, treated the 1500-strong audience of athletes, officials and VIPs to a thirty-minute stunt show before speeches from David Cretney, the Isle of Man Government’s Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure and President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Hon. Michael Fennell.

The athletes and officials assembled on Douglas promenade in their country line-ups before marching into the Villa Broadway Gardens and reassembling in the sports that they participated in over the four days, demonstrating the friendships created during the Games.

Minster Cretney then spoke to the assembled guests and outlined his gratitude to the volunteers for their efforts in delivering a successful Games. He also expressed his gratitude to the Commonwealth Games Federation in supporting one of its smaller nations by granting the Games to the Isle of Man. “We are a small nation, with a big heart. We said that you were arriving as guests, but would be leaving as friends. Well that’s proven the case. Go home now and take a little of the Isle of Man’s hospitality with you.”

The President of the Commonwealth Games Federation then formally replied on behalf of the Commonwealth: “I would like to thank the Isle of Man Government and its people for hosting an outstanding Games. They have demonstrated in abundance the spirit, enthusiasm, hard work and organisational ability required to make the Games a success. I would also like to congratulate all the teams and athletes for taking part and I look forward to seeing you all again in Scotland in 2014 and for the next Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015.
He then handed the ceremonial Quaich, the Scottish Cup symbolising love and friendship, to Vui Tapasu Leung. Vui Tapasu Leung then handed a Tanoa, a Samoan symbol of Peace and Unity to Geoff Karran, MBE, chair of the 2011 Organising Committee.

It was then left to Mr Fennell to formally declare the 1Vth Commonwealth Youth Games closed and he requested that the youth of the Commonwealth reassemble in Samoa in 2015.

Afterwards there was a party for athletes and officials with music from local rock band ‘The Same’ and musician Davy Knowles. Hundreds of young athletes from 63 Commonwealth countries rocked the dance floor of Douglas’s Villa Marina to tunes by Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian and Davy Knowles also played the memorable Games anthem 'Reach Higher' that he composed.

Geoff Karran, MBE, Chairman of the Isle of Man CYG 2011 Organising Committee commented:

“We have enjoyed a fantastic Commonwealth Youth Games and seen some world class performances from the stars of the future across a number of sports. I look forward to following the progress of the athletes as they make their way in the sporting world. I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to make the games a success, particularly the volunteers who kept their levels of the enthusiasm going and contributed so significantly to the Games.