Sport: Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa declared a success
Organisers of the Commonwealth Youth Games believe the week-long event has been a success and will provide lasting benefits for Samoa.
The Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa have been described as the warmest, friendliest event yet.
Australia topped the medal count in Apia last week, while there was also success for Pacific nations with Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea all striking gold.
The chief co-ordinator for the 2015 Youth Games Vitolio Lui told Vinnie Wylie there were challenges but he believes the athletes enjoyed the experience.
VITOLIO LUI: As hosts we felt that we've done our job and helped them to compete to the best of their abilities and had a good time. These are very young people that are developing their careers. I think it's a stepping stone for that and that we provided that we feel happy.
VINNIE WYLIE: The President of the Commonwealth Games Federation described it as the friendliest Games that's ever been held - what about challenges during the Games?
VL: A lot of it was the small teething problems with accommodation because we cannot host everybody in hotels - we can't have one village - so we converted two schools into accommodation. That provided a few issues to begin with but then once the teams settled down they were happy with the services provided: the food, the transport. We've done everything that was possible to be done. The friendliness of the people, the liaison officers - everybody went out of their way to make them feel at home and compete, and kids being kids they have the same interests: they enjoyed the stay, enjoyed the competition and that made us very happy as well".
VW: In regards to Sierra Leone, (who were declined entry to Samoa by the government because of fears over the Ebola virus) - and I know there were a couple of other countries that weren't able to get in for their own issues, in terms of visa or cost - is there a way that could have been handled better?
VL: They were also having difficulties getting transit visas themselves but we thought letting them know well in advance of the difficulty and the concern for the safety of everyone - so that was done well ahead so they weren't caught off-hand, so-to-speak. Other countries, for a number of reasons, it was beyond anybody's control. Some of them were from the Caribbean and there was the devastating hurricane that hit them just before departure. All in all 65 of the 71 countries were able to attend and I think that's even bigger than the last Games.
VW: What is the legacy of the Youth Games for Samoa as a country?
VL: For the first we've had international class competition. It's the best from the Commonwealth world and I think that's inspired a lot of our youth going forward that if youth from other developing countries and developed countries can excel to this level it's also very much possible for them so exposing the youth to this, having the facilities that are world class - it's up to the sports. It's a challenge to not only youth but various sports organisations to use what's available so that Samoa's youth for the future has a lot going for them and I think that's the legacy.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: