Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin has visited the Bahamas to carry out an inspection of venues and facilities, as the Caribbean country closes in on being named as host of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games.
The Bahamas is the sole contender bidding to replace fellow Caribbean country St Lucia, which pulled out of hosting the event in September after deciding they were not in a fit state to host the Games.
This was largely due to doubts over venues and financial concerns, particularly over the lack of a stadium to host athletics.
Martin was hosted during her visit by the Bahamas Government and the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), and they sought to reassure the CGF President ahead of their Executive Board meeting in Gibraltar next week, where a host will be named.
Site inspections of the country’s sporting venues and hotel accommodation was carried out by Martin, who was joined by Rachel Simon, the co-ordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Games.
One of the key selling points for the Bahamas is the 15,000-seater Thomas A Robinson stadium in capital city Nassau, which has hosted the first two editions of the 2014 and 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays.
“So far, everybody has been very helpful, we’re getting the information that we asked for and if they don’t have it, they are finding it for us, so everything has been going great here,” Martin told the tribune242.com.
“From the Prime Minister right down to your youth and sports minister, and everybody else we have had to deal with, we have had some very good responses.
“We want to make this an educational and cultural experience for these young athletes because the majority of them may never ever get a chance to come back here again if the Games are hosted here.”
Botswana, Canada and Scotland were among other nations who had considered stepping in to replace St Lucia, but insidethegames has been told that only The Bahamas and Sri Lanka formally expressed interest.
Sri Lanka, which was stripped of hosting rights for the 2017 Asian Youth Games last year, after tensions between sporting and Governmental bodies, ultimately decided not to proceed with a bid.
BOC President Wellington Miller and secretary general Romell Knowles met with Martin and Simon during the visit, with the duo expressing their confidence that they will be named as St Lucia’s replacements.
“We went down to the Sports Center to visit all of the sites and the good thing that they liked about it is that all of the sporting disciplines are in one area,” Miller said.
“Once you go down there to watch any one of the sports, you can walk to the other one.
“To them, that was very good.
“Everything seems to be going very well in our favour, so we seem to be on the right track to hosting the Games.”
Almost 1,000 14 to 18-year-old athletes from 65 nations and territories participated in the Games last year in Apia, Samoa, with 107 gold medals contested.