If you are a young athlete feeling overwhelmed ahead of your first Commonwealth Youth Games, then seek out Zambia’s Zach Moyo.

The 17-year-old swimmer has already competed at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and by the time he heads off to the Youth Games, he would have also competed at the World Swimming Championships in Japan. 

While Trinidad and Tobago will be his first Youth Games, his experiences at the top level have already seen other athletes seek him out – and he is more than willing to share his knowledge with anyone who asks.

“I have been asked a few times for my advice - some younger athletes have approached me,” said Moyo.

“It is a nice feeling to be able to reassure them and to be kind and help them as much as I can.

“The biggest bit of advice I give them is to really believe in yourself and that nothing is impossible. Everything can be achieved. 

“However, I make sure that they realise that it takes hard work and commitment. It also does not come overnight - if you want it, then you have to work for it. 

The young swimmer who will be competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke events, also encourages his fellow athletes to take it all in – not only in their events, but the whole Games experience. 

“The Commonwealth village was not quite what I was expecting - it was just so much better,” remembers Moyo.

“It was amazing to see all the different athletes from around the world and all their coaches. 

“Going down for breakfast and seeing the likes of Adam Peaty in the line behind me was just so surreal, it was an amazing feeling.

“The whole experience inspired me so much. It made me a lot more confident - in all that I do. 

“Looking around the room and seeing these amazing athletes really made me feel like I could achieve.

“The Youth Games will be like that too; it will inspire us all. 

“For me it was wonderful to see all these diverse athletes from all over the world. It’s nice to see things from a different perspective and interesting to get to know different cultures and customs.”

Sport at the highest level comes with immense pressure and this impressive young man is well aware of the toll that can take on emerging athletes. He has been lucky to have had plenty of support behind him and is thankful for the support the Zambian Commonwealth Games Association has given him. 

“They have been very supportive, in terms of your mental and emotional wellness,” added Moyo.

“That is very important to me. Being quite young it can be stressful but they are aware of the pressures that can be put on you, and do what they can to support you.”

There have also been pressures away from the pool as he has recently finished sitting his GCSEs. Once again it is the hard work that has paid off. 

“I have just finished my exams - for me it is all about balance it. As a swimmer, training is usually in the morning so it was all done before school. 

“However, I sometimes had to miss swimming training to focus on studies - school is the priority. Overall, I think I had a pretty good balance. It does get tiring but it all pays off with hard work.”

Zack epitomises all that the Youth Games hopes to achieve – he inspires, motivates and looks to engage with all those around him. With role models like him, the future of the Youth and the Commonwealth Games are in good hands.