NASSAU – Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard said it is too early to say if the Commonwealth Youth Games will yield a viable return on the government’s $7m investment despite a meagre turnout on opening night, adding: “Investments are not just financial.”
Attendance at the opening ceremony Tuesday night at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium was sparse, and the stadium appeared to be a quarter filled.
The beach soccer games were poorly attended on Wednesday, however, there appeared to be a larger crowd at the judo events.
Romell Knowles, managing director of the games, told The Tribune yesterday that outdoor events were not as crowded as indoor ones, something he chalked up to the intense summer heat.
“If you went to judo and swimming and boxing you would see they were filled,” Knowles said. “The activities that are happening on the inside have good crowds, but the outside ones we are having challenges because of the heat. It’s in the middle of the day and it’s extremely hot outside and we don’t want people sitting in the sun for a long period of time, they could get a heat stroke, but this problem is not unique to the Bahamas.
“Even in the World Cup, they have difficulty getting people out when it is hot. So we would love the people to attend the events outside, but we understand it is hot and we prefer people to stay cool,” Knowles said.
Meanwhile, Pintard told The Tribune while it is too soon to speculate on an investment return, his focus is on ensuring that such investments “make sense in business terms as well as those other intangibles.”
Those “intangibles,” Pintard said, include things like the country’s exposure to the international sporting community, as well as the opportunity local athletes and competitors will have to be exposed to international competition.
The CYG is the latest international sporting event hosted here, flowing from the former Christie administration’s efforts to boost sports tourism. The event was agreed to by the former government.
However, Pintard said the newly elected Minnis administration is keen on seeing the event’s economic impact assessment to determine “in advance where economically it is a viable proposition for the country.”
Not since the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica has a Commonwealth Games event been held in the Caribbean.