Belfast Telegraph

Matthew and Kirstie get Northern Ireland off to flier at Youth Games

 

By Adam McKendry

It was a good first day for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas as they picked up two medals in judo. Seventeen-year-old Kirstie Strouts-McCallion clinched a silver medal in the +70kg category, while Matthew Elliott, also 17, added a bronze to the tally in the 73kg event.

The one-day judo event took place before the opening ceremony, meaning Strouts-McCallion and Elliott picked up Northern Ireland's first medals of the week.

Strouts-McCallion, who is from the St Columb's Park club in Derry, defeated opponents from England and host nation the Bahamas, but was then defeated in the final by Emily Ritchie of Scotland.

And after picking up her medal, she also had the honour of being Northern Ireland's flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

Elliott, of the Murakwai club, was successful against his Scottish opponent Ryan Quigley, as he produced a podium performance as well, bringing home the bronze for third place.

It's set up to be an exciting week for the Northern Ireland hopefuls, who will be eager to try and better the 2015 total of 12 medals - including four golds - which they won in Samoa.

In all there are 18 athletes competing in the Northern Ireland colours and, with the two judo fighters already landing medals, the team are off to the perfect start.

However, there has already been controversy over the handover at the conclusion of the closing ceremony on Sunday.

Belfast is due to host the next Commonwealth Youth Games in 2021, meaning there should be a ceremonial handover at the close of this year's proceedings.

But the Executive did not release enough money to guarantee the event's staging in time, therefore organisers have decided that Belfast will not take part in the closing ceremony, with the handover taking place later in the year instead.

Belfast Telegraph

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