The Samoan capital Apia is set to host the Commonwealth Youth Games from September 5 to 11 ©CGF

In just 100 days, the fifth edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games will get underway in the Samoan capital Apia, where up to 1,000 athletes aged 14 to 18 will represent their country and compete for 107 gold medals in nine sports.

The Games, due to take place from September 5 to 11, will feature five days of action across two sporting complexes that will play host to swimming, archery, athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rugby sevens, squash, tennis and weightlifting.

Like the senior version, all athletes stay in Athletes’ Village-style accommodation and events comply with the relevant International Federation’s technical rules and regulations, giving many competitors their first taste of an international multi-sport Games.

World Anti-Doping Agency standards also apply, while away from the field of play, the Youth Games aim to nurture new sporting global citizens by focusing on friendship, integrity and cross-Commonwealth inter-cultural exchange - learning and living the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) values of humanity, equality and destiny.

Launched in 2000, the Youth Games are said to be a sustainable opportunity for smaller cities and nations to benefit from hosting a major sporting event, using predominantly pre-existing venues - in Samoa’s case those constructed for the 2007 Pacific Games - while also promoting an inclusive and positive youth agenda.

With 50 per cent of Commonwealth citizens aged 25 and under, the Youth Games play a vital part in the CGF’s vision to inspire Commonwealth athletes to drive the ambition and power of all Commonwealth citizens through sport, it is claimed. 

"After the inspiring success of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, our attention as a Commonwealth Sporting Movement turns to the next generation of sporting talent, as up to 1,000 aspiring young athletes prepare to represent their country on the great sporting island of Samoa,” said Prince Imran, President of the CGF.  

“We look forward to a week of impactful sporting competition, personal development and international friendship as part of a joyful event that, from the very first Youth Games in 2000, has celebrated the potential and achievements of our finest, young Commonwealth athletes.

“I wish all the athletes and teams well with their preparations and look forward to cheering them on in Samoa in 100 days time."

Great Britain's track and field athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill has previously competed in the Commonwealth Youth Games
Great Britain's track and field athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill has previously competed in the Commonwealth Youth Games ©Getty Images

The host nation, Samoa, which means Sacred (Sa’) Centre (Moa) of the Universe, is a small, tropical island nation in the Central Pacific with a young population of around 187,000, more than half of whom are 25 and under.

"Practically our entire small island community from sports associations and athletes, to the public and private sector, to our citizens and communities have all banded together to prepare to welcome and host Commonwealth athletes, officials, dignitaries, supporters and visitors in 100 days’ time,” said Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, chairman of Samoa 2015 and Prime Minister of Samoa.

“Samoa is a small island developing state in the Central Pacific and sport and recreation is a hugely important part of our island life and culture.

“With this close affinity to and appreciation of sports and its rewards and benefits, our island nation and community stands ready and eager to extend to all athletes and visitors a very warm welcome and to ensure that the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games will not just be the most memorable but a lasting legacy for all."

The Commonwealth Youth Games have provided a springboard to future Commonwealth Games glory for the likes of Grenadian sprinter Kirani James, South African swimmer Chad le Clos and British heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, while for others, a formative first taste of an international multi-sport competition.

St Lucia is set to host the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games despite some uncertainty surrounding preparations
St Lucia is set to host the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games despite some uncertainty surrounding preparations ©Getty Images

Meanwhile CGF chief executive David Grevemberg has claimed he is “more optimistic” about St Lucia’s ability to stage the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017, following some uncertainty surrounding preparations due to a lack of Government backing. 

Grevemberg was among some 29 delegates from 21 member CGF territories attending a joint meeting of the Caribbean and Americas region in the host nation. 

“Commonwealth Games is very important but we need as sports organisations and National Olympic Committees to get our respective Governments involved,” Juman Yassin, regional vice-president of the Americas, told the Jamaican Observer.

“We need for Ministers in the Caribbean, in the Americas, and throughout the Commonwealth to appreciate the Commonwealth Games is important, but we need…their contribution so it could go much further.”

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January 2015: Exclusive: $4.4 million budget for 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games submitted to Saint Lucia Government
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November 2011: St Lucia to host 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games