The Commonwealth’s 53 member countries have a combined population of over two billion, and more than 60 per cent of these people are under 30 years of age.
As the leaders and shapers of tomorrow, young people are true assets to their countries’ development and have an important role to play in sustaining the Commonwealth’s values – for example, gender equality and tolerance, respect and understanding.
Youths are the backbone of a society and hence they determine the future of any given society. This is because all other age groups, the kids, teenagers, middle-aged and the senior citizens rely on the youth and expect a lot from them. It applies in the business and sporting world. It’s an important age group in both today's society and the future society than other age groups. Therefore, due to the high dependence on youth in the society, the youth have a critical role to play because the future of our families, communities and the country lies in their hands.
For any country to succeed, it needs to be educated, well informed and responsible leaders. The youth have to correct the mistakes and shortcomings of the previous leaders and completely change the outlook of that particular society.
Last week an inspection team visited this country to inspect our bid for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games after completing a site visit last week to Gibraltar. If it comes to these shores, it would be the biggest youth event of its kind since the FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup in 2001 and the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2010.
The third edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games held in Pune, India in 2008, saw over 1,220 athletes and 350 officials from 71 countries participated in nine disciplines. The last Commonwealth Youth Games was held in Nassau, Bahamas with 1,034 participants from 65 countries and the sporting disciplines of Athletics, Swimming, Beach football, Boxing, Cycling (Road), Judo, Rugby Sevens, Tennis and Beach Volleyball were contested.
Although there are currently 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, 71 teams currently participate in the Commonwealth Games, as a number of dependent territories compete under their own flags. The four Home Nations of the United Kingdom—England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—also send separate teams.
It is left to be seen what economic benefits will arrive if T&T does host these games but one thing's for sure, there will be no shortage of sport tourism opportunities for our twin-island.
All kinds of sports attract fanatical support, both at the event and at homes of participating countries, and there are both economic and social benefits on a national and regional level from hosting sports events, the visiting sportsmen and women, their support teams and supporters. Not only are there the direct benefits of the money spent to provide these events and the money spent by those participating but there are the indirect benefits of increased employment in providing the services, improved infrastructure to existing ones, accommodation, amenities and the growth and development that potentially continues as a result of such events.
Once a sporting event such as these games is booked, our tourism bodies will now need to encourage visitors to not only visit for the event but to explore the area as a holiday or business destination. Many destinations have become adept at offering packages to fit a variety of sporting options.
Like other countries have been doing, it is important that national tourist Authorities and Boards understand that sports events are currently the biggest vehicle of promotion for the whole territory and a wonderful occasion to present the destination and many different tourist products beyond the main reason for the trip, the sporting event itself.
The role of the youth is simply to renew, refresh and maintain and these games will serve as an ideal opportunity for them to be in the spotlight. And I’m not just talking about the athletes but also the host of volunteers and working officials who will have an opportunity to serve as a renowned global sporting event.
Some of the most memorable moments in our lifetimes will be sports related. These are events that stay with us, that give us a common interest, that give young people heroes to aspire to be like. It is a priceless right to see adults give their time freely to help young people achieve their dreams; in turn, these same young people help the following generations. The local football, athletics, cricket and other sporting clubs, for example, are often at the heart of our communities where adults and young people come together to compete, where friendships are made and ambitions are realised.
Youth have a role to renew and refresh the current status of our society including leadership, innovations, skills etc they have also to maintain the culture of our culture and all good values in the societies. Let’s start the campaign from now.
Shaun Fuentes is the head of TTFA Media. He is a former FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He is also currently a CONCACAF Competitions Media Officer and has travelled extensively, experiencing and learning from different cultures and lifestyles because of sport and media over the past nineteen years. He is also a certified media trainer for athletes.