Minster supports NI Commonwealth Youth Games bid

NI team home after Commonwealth Youth Games success

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has given her backing to a Northern Ireland bid to stage the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games.

There were fears that the estimated cost of £3.75m to host the Games would rule out a bid.

However, the minster said officials are in discussion to "make sure this bid actually happens".

"I'm certainly keen to support this as I believe it is a great opportunity for children and young people."

The development comes after the Northern Ireland team returned home after a successful Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

Northern Ireland's total medal haul was four gold, four silver and four bronze.

Ms Chuilín added that Jonathan Bell also supported the bid before he resigned as DETI minister last week in the wake of the political crisis at Stormont.

"When it comes to major sports events it is within the gift of DETI to promote this," the sports minister explained.

Boxing stars Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan have been among the list of Northern Ireland athletes to have competed at the youth games over the last decade.

Boxer Carl Frampton
Carl Frampton is among the Northern Ireland sports stars to have competed at the Commonwealth Youth Games

The Games see around 1,000 athletes aged from 14 to 18 competing against 70 other nations.

Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallists Dame Mary Peters said last month that missing out on the Games because of prevarication over funding would be "a tragedy" for Northern Ireland sport.

"This won't happen again. We've got to find the money to make it happen," added the first lady of Northern Ireland sport.

Botswana and Jersey were the only two other countries to bid for the 2021 Games but Jersey have since pulled out after saying that they would be unable to compete with Northern Ireland's sporting infrastructure.