August 25 - The tiny Island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean are the first team to begin their journey to the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man as they set off on their long voyage.

St Helena is unique in the Commonwealth Games as they are the only nation without an airport and therefore they have had to make epic travel arrangements in order to attend the event.

The team, which consists of four athletes and two officials, are travelling some 1,200 miles south to Cape Town in South Africa by ship before they can begin their near 12-hour flight north to the UK.

They will the travel by coach and ferry before they reach their destination in the Isle of Man.

As well as having no airport, St Helena is serviced by only one ship so the team must be away from their island home for more than five weeks in order to attend the Games in the Isle of Man.

"This is a fantastic effort by the young athletes", said Eric Benjamin, who is the chair of the National Amateur Sports Association of St Helena.

"Some of them have not left their island home previously except to visit the smaller sister Island of Ascension some 700 miles away.

"One of the athletes has never left the island at all.

"But distance and time is not going to thwart the courageous ambition of these young people to arrive in the Isle of Man on time for the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

"The St Helena team members are all looking forward to a great time at the Games.

"The island wishes them success at the Games and will welcome them on their return to St Helena on 22nd September."

The St Helena team consists of 15-year-old Jessica Sim, 17-year-old Sarafina Yon, 17-year-old Tyrel Ellick and 17-year-old Myles Henry, while the two officials supporting them are Jeremy Roberts and Wendy Benjamin.

The Isle of Man 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games will see athletes aged between 13 and 18-years-old gets underway with the competition due to take place from September 7 to 13.

The event will be one of the most prestigious ever to be hosted on the island, with a total of 69 Commonwealth nations set to attend.

Approximately 1,000 young athletes will be competing in the seven sporting events of athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, rugby sevens and swimming, while the newly refurbished Bowl Stadium in Douglas will host the Opening Ceremony for what will be the fourth Commonwealth Youth Games.

Tickets for the Opening Ceremony and the seven sporting events are now on sale, with prices ranging from £6 ($10/€7) to £15 ($24/€11).

The cycling events, on the other hand, are free to spectators and set to be well attended due to the popularity of Manx racing cyclist Mark Cavendish, who won gold at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games in the scratch race and is now the world's top sprinter.

More than 600 volunteers from the island have signed up to help with the Games and they will act as ambassadors for the island as well as assisting visitors with all the necessary information required.



altIn conjunction with the International Rugby Board, the organising committee for the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games(CYG) has announced the pool draws for the Rugby 7s competition, which will take place over two days with late afternoon/evening sessions on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 of September.
Trinidad and Tobago has been drawn in Pool B against some tough opposition. The junior Calypso Warriors will face South Africa, England, and Sri Lanka. Australia, Canada and Youth Games hosts the Isle of Man  will battle for the medal places in Pool A.
 Speaking about the draw, T&T  CYG rugby 7s  team manager Rudolph Jack said: “In an eight team draw at this level there will be no place to hide. To play South Africa and England, two of the biggest names in world rugby will be quite an experience for my players. Sri Lanka, from what I have read cannot be taken lightly. I’m confident in the squad of players going to Isle of Man, and I know we’ll give a good account of ourselves during the competition. The main thing for me is that the boys enjoy and learn something from the competition which will serve them well in the future.”
The venue for the Rugby 7s events will be the National Sports Centre (NSC), based approximately 1.5 miles (2.4km) from the Games Village on Douglas Promenade .
Matches at the newly refurbished 3,000 seat floodlit stadium at The National Sports Centre will be played on a 3G synthetic pitch fully approved by the IRB (Regulation 22).
The Commonwealth Youth Games is for young athletes aged between 16 and 18 years.


Hon. David Cretney MHK, Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure said, “Excitement is building as we get closer to the Games and I can’t wait to give a warm Manx welcome to guests from 71 Commonwealth nations. I am delighted with how plans are progressing and I know we will deliver a great Games to make the Island proud.”

Geoff Karran MBE, Games Director said, “We are now at the sharp end of the planning process with the Games just 200 days away. All venues are in place and will be ready for the start of the Games on 8th September. The Bowl Stadium is right on schedule and will be completed in May ready for the Manx Youth Games. This will give us a great opportunity to identify any last minute improvements before the Commonwealth Youth Games begin. We also have the go ahead to extend the Ellan Vannin Gymnastics Club, which will greatly improve the Boys’ Gymnastics event.”

“As well as the Games infrastructure being well on track, we have put a programme together of the events officials who will be required to ensure the sporting programme runs smoothly and are actively sourcing those via our Organising Committee.”

“The volunteer response from the Manx public has been excellent, but there are still opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved.”

Mr Karran added, “I would also like to give a big thank you to all the Games Partners and sponsors whose continued support helps us tremendously in putting on these Games.”

The Hon. Michael Fennell OJ., CD, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation said
“This will be the fourth edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games and its popularity amongst competing countries continues to grow. I am sure that visiting athletes and officials will have a memorable time in the Isle of Man thanks to the work and support of both the Isle of Man Government and the Manx population. The opportunities that flow from hosting this event, including volunteering, will ensure that sport continues to be an important part of life on the island providing a legacy for local communities and visiting nations & territories in the years to come.”

“The high quality competition that will be on display, the uniqueness of the venues and the athletes village will only add to the development of some of the finest athletes in the world as they look ahead to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and beyond. The significance of the Commonwealth Youth Games in the development of today’s talent should not be underestimated. Back in 2004 in Bendigo, Australia we saw the likes of Jessica Ennis and Beth Tweddle compete and then go on to become world champions in their respective sports of athletics and gymnastics.”

Commonwealth Youth Games Newsletter

Please click here for the December 2010 Edition pdf Commonwealth Youth Games - December 2010 Newsletter