Australia’s 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games campaign has come to end.

 

I am so proud to have led such a talented and professional group of young athletes.

 

For many, this was their first taste of international competition and for most, their first taste of a multisport Australian Team.

 

At our training camp before departing to The Bahamas, we spoke of the inevitable challenges and hurdles that would arise during the journey. It didn’t take long for those challenges to present themselves.

 

After missing our connecting flights through the United States, our group was split in many directions in an effort to get everyone to The Bahamas as quickly as we could.

 

The result was a travel time for most athletes of approximately 48 hours door to door from Brisbane.

 

If there was a silver lining, it was the way in which our team was able to bond, across sports, during these delays.

 

Despite the challenges, I was unbelievably proud of how our athletes handled themselves and were able to respond. The professionalism of these young athletes is just so impressive and has come a long way since I was in their shoes.

 

We saw it with our judo team, who were the first to compete after an extremely compromised preparation. They kicked us off with a gold and three silver medals, setting the tone for the rest of our group.

 

From there on, I was so impressed with the performance of our athletes.

 

Across all of the seven sports Australia was represented, gold medals were won, and other wonderful performances recorded.

 

Each day, new personal bests were achieved, medals won but most importantly Australian athletes competed with tremendous spirit.

 

The future is bright and it is certain we see more of the athletes that competed at The Bahamas 2017 on the world stage in the future.

 

In fact, Ella Connolly – fresh off silver in the 400m, bronze in the 200m and gold in the 4x100m mixed relay – was just named in the Australian team for the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London next week. Many more I know will follow suit.

 

I would like to acknowledge and thank all the athletes, officials and support staff who were part of our team and represented Australia with such pride and passion.

 

Thanks also to the organising committee of The Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, who put on an event that our young athletes will remember for a lifetime. The cheer of the  crowds whenever the hometown athletes were competing was fantastic and showed what a passion for sport they have in The Bahamas.

 

A Commonwealth Youth Games is about the experience. It is a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I have no doubt that the lessons learned by all our athletes at these youth games, will make them better athletes in the future. And that is what it is all about.

 

 

 

Matthew Cowdrey

Team General Manager – Australia

The Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games

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