"There is life after COVID19 and the COVID19 pandemic and I see the CYGTT2021 as playing a very important part in being a catalyst for the post-COVID19 pandemic life and era."
This was the view of T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis as the world continues to struggle with the pandemic.
On Tuesday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said that the changing situation of the international coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak forced the IOC to postpone the 2020 Olympics despite his confidence that Tokyo organizers could put on the Olympics safely.
The Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community”, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said later in a joint statement.
The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will continue to be called the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020” even when they are held next year, and the Olympic flame will stay in Japan “as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times”.
Other Olympics — 1916, 1940 and 1944 — have been cancelled because of war, but none have ever been postponed for any reason, let alone a renegade virus that has accounted for more than 375,000 cases worldwide, with numbers growing exponentially.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports following the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games, Lewis said: "The Commonwealth Youth Games Trinbago (CYGT) 2021 to be held from August 1 - 7 and titled "Changing Lives for the Better", can be a shining light coming to us all.
He added, "I think that after the coronavirus pandemic and the devastation and havoc it is presently wreaking around the world even here in T&T has ended, the CYGT2021 has surely taken on added significance due to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games."
Lewis said, " The whole concept of the bid was digital, youth and young people-centred and the need to be innovative and creative and transformational was the core of the bid and the intention was to always do things differently and in a very creative and innovative way, and I think that even though the IOC has not indicated when the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games exactly will be If perchance the Tokyo Olympic Games being staged next year is within the same July/August period as was carded for this year, I see the Commonwealth Youth Games complimenting that event.
"We can have viewing parties with big screens nationwide helping to make it a tremendous experience for the young athletes who will be coming from the 71 Commonwealth Countries to compete across nine sporting disciplines.
"So the CYGT2021 offers a lot of opportunities and I think by next year hopefully, the world will be kind of getting back to some semblance of normalcy."
Concerning the effects of the COVID-19 virus, Lewis replied, "I think that it has changed many things forever and I think that events, especially for young people like the CYG, would be an important thing."
"From the perspective of the economy, tourism, hospitality, entertainment and events management sector in T&T are currently taking a significant hit and an influx of 2000-plus visitors will boost the economy of T&T. So the CYGTT2021 is something that can be happening at the appropriate time when we have gotten past the battle that we are currently in now with regards to defeating COVID-19.
Lewis noted that one of the sports that was recently approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) which they hope to have the addition of is Mountain Bike and E-Sports.
"Again the choice of sports was aimed at energising the games and targeting a different youth demographic outside of the traditional sports like swimming, aquatics, boxing, beach volleyball, cycling, rugby sevens, netball, and tennis, so there is a significant opportunity and I am looking forward with excitement.
"I believe the Commonwealth Games Federation, its Commonwealth Games (CG) sports movement, and the Commonwealth brand needs to differentiate itself and be very innovative in terms of making the Commonwealth sports brand more relevant, more exciting and more dynamic."
"The Commonwealth Youth Games T&T 2021 was intended to be a catalyst for the transformation of the CG sports brand.
Concerning the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics clashing with other major sporting events next year, Lewis was quick to note that the IOC has not at this point indicated which dates they have moved the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games too in 2021 while there are several other major events on the schedule, but he still considers the Commonwealth Youth Games a priority."
'We already have the Caribbean Games (June 30 - July 4); Junior Pan American Games (June 5 - 19); the IAAF Track & Field World Championship (August 6 -15); the FINA World Swimming and Aquatics Championship (July 16 - August 1), in addition to the Commonwealth Youth Games which is in my view the flagship event for the Commonwealth Games Federation.
"I know that some people feel that yes the big Commonwealth Games which is scheduled for Birmingham, England in 2022, but in the context of attracting youth and bringing young people into the sport and understanding an appreciation for the Commonwealth brand, the Commonwealth Youth Games is it."
"The IOC has only confirmed that the Olympic Games will not be held this year, but also that it will not be later than 2021, so you know its kind of unfair and puts all the other organisations which have already scheduled their 2021 events at a disadvantage. I am not aware that the IOC in its consultations would have reached out to the CGF to find out that these are some of the scenarios that they were looking at and asking the commonwealth Games federation what they have on their schedule for 2021 and 2022 calendar.
"It's a bit unfortunate that the IOC would have several federations including the CGF at a disadvantage because these organisations have already established dates on their calendar, the CGF is not part of the IOC eco-system like the Pan Am Games and other organisations that are part of the IOC eco-system.
So I think there is a challenge the CGF will have to accept, and face up and rise to in terms of the CYGT&T2021 and even Birmingham 2022. Its also going to be a challenge for the CG associations in the various countries, some of them who also double up as their respective nations national Olympic Committee, because this is an opportunity for them to show a significant commitment to the youth and young people in their countries and to the commonwealth brand. I don't see any reason why CYG should not be successful in 2021 when T&T is hosting it."