THE COMMONWEALTH Games Federation (CGF) executive board, in partnership with the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) and Ministry of Sport, have decided to explore rescheduling options for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games.

TT was selected to host the multi-sport event during August 1-7, 2021, but due to the global covid19 pandemic and recent rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympic Games, 2023 is now being examined as the tentative new date.

This was confirmed in a media release issued by the CGF on Thursday.

“The impact of the pandemic on the global international sporting calendar means that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have now rescheduled to the summer of 2021 during the original dates of the Youth Games. Following positive discussions, the CGF has agreed to consider the best alternative options and timeframes for staging the event in the future, potentially in 2023,” the release stated.

CGF president, Dame Louise Martin revealed the rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has also changed demands on scheduling and resources for many of the Commonwealth Games Associations and international federations from 2020 to 2021.

The CGF, TTOC, Ministry of Sport and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) agrees the coronavirus has had a devastating impact across the world and their primary priority is the health and well-being of their communities.

The statement continued, “Our decision has been made in the best interests of athletes, fans and citizens that are to benefit from these transformational Games. We are committed over the coming months to look at future dates and hosting options, to ensure the right decision is taken for the Commonwealth Youth Games, so that the region can continue to play a leading role as part of the Commonwealth Sports Movement.”

Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Shamfa Cudjoe also confirmed these most recent developments and indicated a final decision on the date should be set within the next six months. She also committed to asking the Cabinet to re-examine its position and provide the necessary confirmation regarding the hosting of the Commonwealth Youth Games and the related expenditure.

On April 20, the Minister took part in a Zoom meeting with members of the above mentioned organisations, including THA’s secretary of Sport and Youth Affairs Jomo Pitt, TTOC’s president Brian Lewis and executive member Annette Knott, to discuss the implications for the Games’ seventh edition.

“We plan to meet again via Zoom, monitor the situation and hope that by September/October to have a more concrete position so that we can inform the other countries and athletes who are getting ready. Based on whatever decision we come up with when that time gets here, we have to go back to Cabinet, depending on what the decision is. TT won the bid to host and we are still open to hosting,” she explained.

The Minister admitted rescheduling the Games was still a “fluid situation” due to the lingering novel virus. Reiterating the decision to host in 2023 was still tentative, Cudjoe gave assurance the maintenance of all local sporting facilities will continue to ensure TT is ready when the final decision is made.

She also said her ministry had not yet made any sizable financial disbursements towards the 2021 edition but will use the additional time provided to carefully monitor all elements connected to the Games.

Cudjoe added, “We haven’t made any financial investments. However, we had already started discussions with hotels but no payments were made to them. We only approved, via Cabinet, some of the members for the local organising committee. We even spoke about the Athlete’s Village, maybe one with social distancing. As the situation progresses, we will get to our final decision and make a final proposal, if there are any changes that are different from what we would have discussed and settled on before.”

TT won the bid to host the Games against Gibraltar in 2019. Its success builds on the back of the Bahamas hosting a successful Games in 2017 and continues the CGF’s commitment to small states and island states.