New Zealand’s entire Commonwealth Youth Games team has arrived in the Bahamas and begun training ahead of competition.
The team is made up of 33 of the country’s most promising and exciting young athletes, who will take on their Commonwealth counterparts from July 18th – 23rd.
The doubles beach volleyball teams have been training on the beach in front of the team hotel. They’ve been practicing in the mornings and evenings to avoid the heat, with temperatures hitting 34 degrees Celsius during the day.
“We’re feeling pretty good and have been putting some good sessions together. We aren’t struggling too much in the heat which is a bonus as well”, said women’s team member Jasmine Milton.
She says the team is finding sand conditions better than expected.
“It’s a lot grainer than the sand in New Zealand but we were worried it might be a lot deeper than it is so that’s good for us”, Jasmine said.
The athletics team surveyed the facilities at Thomas Robinson Stadium and held their first training session yesterday.
“It was humid and there were lots of sand-fly’s flying in our face but a few more runs in these conditions will definitely help us to adjust”, said middle distance runner Hannah O’Connor.
Across the street from the stadium the swim team have been having regular sessions at the Betty Kelly National Swim Centre.
“We’re swimming pretty well, still getting over a bit of jetlag so a little jaded but after a few more trainings we should be good to go”, said swimmer Mya Rasmussen.
She’s confident the team will be able to post some personal bests.
“We should be able to put down good ones, it’s an outdoor pool which is different to what we usually compete in but we’ve had a few sessions there now which is good.”
The road cyclists were caught in a storm during their first ride, making it back to the hotel drenched but in one piece.
“The water came up to our feet in the pedals at some points because the drainage doesn’t seem to be working that well here”, said Abigail Morton.
“It was really fun though”, added Jenna Merrick, “the roads are really nice, pretty smooth and double laned so they should be fast which will be exciting for competition”.
The boxers have been training in shaded areas outside the hotel at least twice daily.
“We’re sharpening up in time for the fights, we’re feeling pretty good and have been doing pads, touch sparring and lots of technical work”, said Pelea Fruean.
“Conditions are good, it’s really nice and hot which is helping us to reach the weight we need to be for weigh in”, added Shylah Waikai.
The Games will be the largest international sporting event ever hosted in The Bahamas, and the largest-ever edition of the Youth Games. Up to 1300 athletes aged 14-18 are set to make the most of an inspiring and immersive mix of impactful sporting competition, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships.
The New Zealand team is made up of eleven swimmers, ten athletics representatives, three cyclists, five boxers and four beach volleyball players.Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games