Congratulations to Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), officials of the T&T Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA), the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the three (3) member committee — Kwanieze John, Rheeza Grant and Chanelle Young for winning the bid to host the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) from August 1-7.
The CYG will not only result in the top athletes from the 71 Commonwealth countries competing against each other in nine disciplines for glory but also provide an opportunity for T&T to showcase itself to the rest of the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.
The benefits for T&T can extend beyond the seven days of competition into medium to long term international collaborations in sport, business and tourism.
Tavakkoli (2014) in his 'Study of the Effect of the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 on the Sport Tourism in Pune City,' stated the city of Pune, India, benefitted from development in sports infrastructure, job creation and an increased in the staging of national and international competitions post 2008.
In terms of infrastructural development, the existing athletic stadium was renovated to meet international standards, and spending as made on hostels, three and five star hotels to house officials and athletes. The bus fleet was also boosted to encourage public transport, especially during the games to minimize traffic congestion. Tavakkoli (2014) notes that after the games, all the 2008 facilities and infrastructure were used by national camps, schools, and for national and international games. After the 2008 CYG, the city of Pune continued to host competitions with athletes and officials from both India and other parts of the world attending.
A major advantage that T&T presents is that the facilities for the events are already established to a large extent.
The Hasley Crawford Stadium; the Racquet Centre, the Aquatic Centre and the national Cycling Velodrome will on be on show not only for the 2021 games but also for marketing to international clubs and federations as future training and competition venues.
Additionally, the TTCGA will have the opportunity to work with the ministries, the THA, businesses, cultural artists and the people of T&T, to ensure that Trinbago culture is well represented and marketed to the rest of the world.
The experiences that the athletes, officials and fans achieve must motivate them to return to T&T and those who follow the 2021 games via traditional media- television and print- and social media interest must also be piqued into wanting to visit the shores of T&T.
By hosting the CYG 2021, the potential for an economic multiplier effect is great as was evident in Pune 2008 where there was observed growth in food and beverage, cultural and handcraft and travelling services.
The TTCGA has two years to collaborate with all its major local and international stakeholders to make CYG 2021 the best ever event for athletes and officials and the best ever cultural experience. There will be challenges, but the TTCGA has the opportunity to review the postmortems of previous games such as the Bahamas 2017 to ensure that all advantages are maximized and all disadvantages are eliminated or minimized into being inconsequential.
"I don't feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning." Michel Foucault