Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin has urged officials to boost their support for sport as it will help "engage and inspire" the next generation.
Martin, the Scot who was making a first major speech since her election to replace Prince Imran of Malaysia as President iduring September's CGF General Assembly in Auckland, asked those present at a meeting of senior Government and civic heads in Malta today to support their Games Associations, sports leaders and athletes and put them at the "vanguard of making Commonwealth goals a reality for citizens and communities".
This conforms with the CGF's Transformation 2022 reform process, a new strategic approach adopted by members in Auckland which appears broadly similar to the International Olympic Committee's Agenda 2020 reform process.
Hailed as a "historic change in the movement’s focus from the four-year cycle of hosting Commonwealth Games to a wider role of delivering sports leadership within the Commonwealth", four key areas are being priorited, Martin explained.
These are "Innovative and Inspirational Games; Good Governance and Management, Strong Partnerships and developing Commonwealth Sport as a strong valued brand".
Martin cited the Commonwealth Youth Games as a particularly good opportunity to inspire young people, confirming how Bahamas and Northern Ireland are poised to host the respective 2017 and 2021 editions ahead of confirmation at a CGF Executive Board meeting in January.
“The Commonwealth Youth Games is an incredibly vital way that we can share the connective and life-changing experience of a Commonwealth united in its diversity with a new generation of athletes and citizens," Martin said.
"As Samoa has just shown, hosting such a inspirational international sporting occasion like the Youth Games empowers even the smallest nations to have a profound and distinctive impact - not just on their own young people or their own communities - but on a global scale.
“The CGF team looks forward to working with our friends and colleagues in both the Bahamas and Northern Ireland as we undertake the evaluation process to understand how we can collaborate with them through the unifying power of sport, helping to write positive new chapters in their own stories.”
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat co-hosted the breakfast held during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on the Mediterreanean island, with Commonwealth secretary general Kamalesh Sharma also present.
“Sport is one of our most cherished and visible Commonwealth traditions," claimed Sharma.
"More than that, sport can make vital contributions to inclusive social progress.
“Sport for development and peace is central in our work to advance respect and understanding.
"Innovative approaches such as this to inspire our youth are needed more than ever, with the challenges and tragedies we face in the world today."
Others present included Maltese long jumper and sprinter Rebecca Camillieri, a five-time medallist across four editions of the Games of the Small States of Europe who also competed at both the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and Lachlan Strahan, senior Commonwealth representative from Australia, the nation which will host the next edition of the Games in 2018 in Gold Coast.