As the sun sets on an amazing 2014 which saw Team England enjoy their most successful Commonwealth Games in history – topping the medal table at Glasgow 2014, winning a staggering 174 medals and beating the Australians into second place – attention has already turned to the continuation of that success.
Planning is already in full swing for what the Australian's are calling the 'revenge Games' on the Gold Coast in 2018, but before that Team England are focussed on their next competition – the Commonwealth Youth Games which will take place in Samoa in September 2015.
The Youth Games gives athletes aged 14-18 from around the Commonwealth the unique opportunity to compete at the highest level in a multi-sport environment.
Nine sports – archery, athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rugby 7s, swimming, squash, tennis and weightlifting – will form the competition in Samoa. At the last edition of the event in the Isle of Man in 2011, Team England topped the medal table with 37 gold medals, 24 silver and 16 bronze meals.
Weightlifter Rebekah Tiler, who at the age of 15 became the youngest woman ever to represent Team England in her sport at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, finished an impressive fourth place in the 69kg category. She is now determined to put the experience of Glasgow to good use in Samoa;
“My next step is for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in September, I want to go out and bring home a medal, I can then work towards the Gold Coast in 2018.
“It’ll be a little bit strange going to the Youth Games after being part of the senior team, but it’ll be good. I’ll be one of the more experienced on the team and I should medal.”
Team England Chief Executive Richard Graham believes the team will be well placed to deliver more success in Samoa: "The Commonwealth Youth Games are a crucial stepping stone for young athletes on route to senior success. Previous Team England Youth Games athletes include Jessica Ennis-Hill, Louis Smith, Zoe Smith, James DeGale, Danny Cipriani and James Wilstrop all of whom have gone on to great things.
"Our planning is focussed on working with the Governing bodies to select a strong and competitive team and provide them with the necessary support to reach the start line in the best possible shape.”
The Commonwealth Youth Games runs from 5-11 September.