NI Team Announcement – Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games
With just a little over two months before the action begins, the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) has announced the majority of the team which will be competing in the Commonwealth Youth Games. The Games will take place in Samoa between the 5th and 11th of September.
The Commonwealth Youth Games will bring together 1000 young athletes for a festival of elite sport. The Youth Games are a vital stepping stone for young athletes with previous competitors including Olympic medallists Jessica Ennis-Hill, Beth Tweddle, Chad le Clos, Geraint Thomas and Michael Conlan. A certain Carl Frampton also represented Northern Ireland at the Bendigo Youth Games in 2004 before going on to become World Champion.
Northern Ireland will be represented by 17 athletes across 5 sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Boxing, Lawn Bowls and Squash. All of the competitors have been selected based upon nominations from their respective sport’s governing body and are aged between 15 and 18.
World U25 Indoor Bowls Champion Chloe Watson will team up with Lisburn’s Stephen Kirkwood as they attempt to emulate their elders who have picked up medals at every senior Commonwealth Games since 1982. Singles and a mixed pairs competitions are on offer.
While still of tender years, the swimmers bring a lot of experience with Rachel Bethel (Lisburn) and Danielle Hill (Larne) having both competed at last year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games. They are joined by Emma Reid (Ards), Conor Ferguson (Larne) and James Brown (Ards). Four of this quintet are currently in Baku for the European Games while Conor is preparing for August’s World Junior Championships in Singapore where he’ll be joined by Rachel.
Two long jumpers will be travelling with the team. City of Lisburn’s Ben Fisher and Ballymena & Antrim’s Lydia Mills will be hoping to leap their way to success while Ben is also eyeing the 110m hurdles. Newry’s Oisin O’Callaghan will race over 800m, pitting himself against the cream of east Africa.
Five boxers will be seeking to maintain the sport’s terrific recent record at Commonwealth competitions as Stephen McKenna (Old School), James McGivern (St. George’s), Tiernan Bradley (Sacred Heart), Aidan Walsh (Holy Family) and Brett McGinty (Oakleaf) will attempt to add to the burgeoning haul of medals collected by local boxers.
Squash will be represented by Bangor Aurora’s Stephen Hearst and Ellie McVeigh from Belfast Boat Club who, similar to bowls, will compete in singles and a mixed doubles competition.
NICGC Chairman, Robert McVeigh, offered his congratulations to all those who had been selected. ‘It’s a great honour for these young athletes to represent Northern Ireland at such a prestigious global event. While it will be an arduous trip to Samoa, we will be endeavouring to make sure that all the athletes and coaches are suitably prepared so that they can perform to the best of their ability. We wish them ever success.’
The athletes will be accompanied by a support team of eight, including coaching, medical and management staff. The NICGC acknowledged the ongoing support given to athletes by Sport Institute Northern Ireland and the financial contribution made by SportNI. Interestingly, the vast majority of the young athletes selected have also been supported by the Mary Peters Trust during their fledgling careers.
Note to Editors
1. The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) is the lead body for Commonwealth Sport in Northern Ireland. The council is representative of those sports recognised by the Commonwealth Games Federation. We currently have 17 affiliated sports which elect a nine person Board. The NICGC is primarily tasked with presenting a team at both the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games. These are the only opportunities available for athletes to compete in a multi-sport event representing Northern Ireland.
2. Selection to the Northern Ireland team has been made by the NICGC, based upon nominations presented by each relevant governing body for sport. Each governing body is responsible for ensuring that a suitable process has been followed in determining nominations.
3. The Commonwealth Youth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving teams of athletes from the 71 Commonwealth nations. The event was first held in Edinburgh in 2000 and usually takes place every four years. Samoa 2015 will be the 5th edition of the Games.
4. The NICGC has expressed an interest in hosting the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games in Belfast. A business case has been prepared and is awaiting approval by the NI Executive. A bid must be submitted to the Commonwealth Games Federation by 31st July 2015 but cannot be progressed without government support.
5. For further information please contact Conal Heatley, NICGC Executive Officer on 028 9066 4955, mobile 07787 414776 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org