Commonwealth Youth Games squad back from Trinidad
GUERNSEY’S Commonwealth Youth Games squad have returned to the island, jet-lagged but pleased.
They arrived yesterday morning after a week of competition in Trinidad, which saw a host of personal bests, including two island records.
A total of 10 athletes – eight swimmers and two cyclists – made up the contingent which travelled to the Caribbean, along with a number of coaches and officials.
Team manager Peter Jory said the experience for the young athletes had been invaluable, despite the challenges in getting to the games in the first place.
‘We almost didn’t make our flight to Trinidad because our flight to Gatwick got cancelled due to fog,’ he said.
‘Luckily British Airways held the flight for us.
‘I think every athlete set a PB during the week, which was impressive considering the change in climate and temperature that they had to contend with. It was over 30C and incredibly humid.’
Both island records came in the pool, where Hannah Jones set a new 50m freestyle record, while the mixed 4x200m freestyle relay team also came away with an island best.
Fellow team manager Karina Jackson said that the challenge of competing against bigger nations such as England and Australia would stand the athletes in good stead in future.
‘Some of the countries have huge development programmes and sent big teams to Trinidad, so to experience that type of competition was incredibly worthwhile.’
Cyclist Chay Kennedy-Cook, 16, placed 19th in both the time trial and the road race.
He was delighted with his performances, but admitted his finishing position in the road race was bittersweet.
‘I was in contention for the bronze medal but got crowded out in the sprint finish.
‘However, knowing where I am at the moment motivates me to push on to a bigger level.’
He added that competing in the games had been ‘surreal’, and had enjoyed competing in the challenging conditions.
‘It was incredibly humid, it was 32 degrees on the day of the road race but it felt closer to 40.’
Swimmer Josh Dunning, 16, set personal bests in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, as well as in the 200m individual medley.
‘I’m very happy, we were in the pool every day either training or competing, as well as doing gym work,’ he said.
‘It makes me want to work towards future Island Games, as well as the senior Commonwealth Games.’
Swimming manager Sara Parfit said the last month for the squad had been relentless.
‘With the Island Games beforehand it’s been gruelling but they’ve done amazingly well.
‘Having that home Island Games really helped the athletes adjust to the scale of the atmosphere in Trinidad, and everyone really embraced the whole experience.’
Guernsey Commonwealth Games Association chairwoman Angela Stuart said she was incredibly proud of the team’s efforts.
‘I know how honoured they were to compete for Guernsey against much larger countries.
‘It was a huge opportunity for them and the fact that there were so many personal bests bodes well for the future.’