The 7th Commonwealth Youth Games and the first in the Caribbean kicked off in a carnival style at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad.
In a ceremony bursting with colour and energy, more than 1,000 athletes from around 70 Commonwealth Nations and Territories were welcomed to the first Youth Games since 2017.
Famous for their appearance at Carnival time, the Kiddies Carnival Kings and Queens performed alongside a youth steel pan side, while spectators enjoyed tassa and tamboo bamboo stands within the stadium.
Following the traditional parade of nations, there was a demonstration of the sports being played during the Games. Each sport was represented by an incredible Moko Jumbie, designed to not only glisten in the sunlight, but also show movement similar to the sport.
Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games told athletes in her opening address: “I truly hope you seize the moment and enjoy this Caribbean carnival of inspiring competition, personal development and global friendship.”
“You are diverse, unique and equal members of one big sporting family and especially in this Commonwealth Year of Youth – we will celebrate each and every one of you.”
Closing the festivities Trinidad and Tobago-born group, Freetown Collective performed the theme song ‘Stay Ready’ created especially for the Youth Games.
Diane Henderson, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA), and the local Organising Committee, said: “What you saw today is a combined volunteer effort led by us here in Trinidad and Tobago and aided by persons from around the world.”
“I think as a nation, we can stand up and say proudly we are Trinbago 2023. Now, the work really begins as the real stars of the show take to the field over the next few days.”
From 4-11 August athletes will participate in Aquatics (Swimming), Athletics, Cycling (Road Race, Time Trial, and Track) and Triathlon, as well as Rugby Sevens and Beach Volleyball.
Netball’s shorter, faster format, FAST5, makes its debut at the Youth Games with eight women’s teams competing for a medal.
A fully integrated Para-Athletics programme will also make its first appearance at the Games with athletes competing in six medal events (three women’s and three men’s events).
The Youth Games are an established pathway towards the Commonwealth Games, and other major senior sporting events, providing an opportunity to showcase the stars of the future.