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July 13, 2020

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“THIS is the place to be.” The Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) has promised an innovative, exciting and inspirational digital strategy that would generate significant youth engagement and participation among the Commonwealth community, if they are entrusted with hosting the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) 2021.

The pledge was delivered to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) evaluation team Friday, the deadline for both countries (Trinidad and Tobago and Gibraltar) bidding for the opportunity to host the multi-sport event. This follows on the site visit by the CGF evaluation team on February 7.

The last phase is expected to be the CGF’s decision - expected to be delivered in June - as to which of the two countries will get the opportunity to host the CYG, last hosted in the Bahamas in 2017.

TTCGA and Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis said his organisation also stressed the country’s several world class facilities in their clarification to questions posed by the CGF evaluation team.

The TTCGA bid “Trinbago 2021” - completed by the three-woman bid team of Rugby North America (RAN) programme manager Kwanieze John, TTOC project officer, athletes services and programmes Rheeza Grant and TTOC project officer, marketing and communications, Chanelle Young - was based on three pillars: Youth, e-sports and Trinbago culture. The trio received guidance from experienced TTCGA members Lewis and Annette Knott.

“Our bid is innovative in terms of the approach we have taken to it,” Lewis said before adding, “It’s youth and athlete-focused, and the centrepiece of our bid. Together with our world class facilities, it gives the athletes representing the Commonwealth’s 71 nations and territories the opportunity to display their talent in world class venues.”

Lewis added the TTCGA also indicated their intention to employ a very cutting-edge digital strategy to build a new and younger fan base for the Commonwealth Sports Movement, also in keeping with the CGF’s Tranformation 2022 agenda.

The TTCGA is expected to engage young entrepreneurs to use digital and modern technology to highlight the opening and closing ceremonies that will trace this country’s history from slavery through colonialism and its transformation into a modern-day Commonwealth partner.

Questions for clarification concerned the sports programme which will include cycling (track, road and mountain bike), aquatics (swimming and diving), netball, boxing, beach volleyball, tennis and track and field. The CGF Sports Committee is to rule soon on whether the e-sports component of the bid will be for participation or for medals.

There were also questions raised about the logistics of traffic and movement of CYG 2021 officials, coaches and athletes to and from their bases to the sport venues. The TTCGA also clarified its volunteer programme.

Lewis said the TTCGA confirmed to the CGF that the event would be held during the holiday period and that, together with assistance from the Ministry of National Security and other stakeholders, the traffic volume is expected to be less and to be facilitated by adequate and appropriate measures for smooth movement of CYG 2021 accredited personnel

“We appreciated the opportunity to clarify where it was needed,” Lewis said, “Hosting the CYG 2021 will be a tremendous opportunity for the TTCGA, the stakeholders and the country. The TTCGA is unwavering in its commitment and dedication to the vision for transformation of the CGF president, Dame Louise Martin. The legacy that staging this games will be for Trinidad and Tobago will be transformational and impactful.”

He added that with its bid, the TTCGA will adhere to the core values of the CGF: “Humanity, Equality, Destiny”.

The former Trinidad and Tobago Rugby Football Union (TTRFU) general secretary said the TTCGA also showed its commitment to the CYG by its 50-athlete Team TTO contingent to the Bahamas 2017 edition of the Games, one of the larger teams among the smaller Commonwealth nations.

Lewis added that the CGF Constitution identified the Bahamas as part of the Americas, so that another selling point is the CYG is yet to be staged in the Caribbean, especially the Southern Caribbean.

Lewis held no fears of the country’s capacity to host a multi-sport event, given the country’s history of staging the OAS Summit, a leg of the Cricket World Cup 2007 and the annual Carnival, among other regional and international events.

“We believe strongly we can stage an awesome Games,” Lewis concluded.