by Jada Chambers
Cayman Island sisters and Beach Volleyball athletes Anjia and Brianna Delapenha have praised Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) Trinbago 2023 for giving athletes a “royal” experience.
The Delapenha sisters, who are also Youth Ambassadors of the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation (CIVF) are no strangers to the world of volleyball as they have traveled near and far to compete in numerous tournaments.
However, despite having played in different places across the world, Anjia said that at CYG Trinbago 2023, it was the first time that she felt like royalty.
The 18-year-old said this on August 8 as she stood alongside her 16-year-old sister and Volleyball partner Brianna, after losing a tough match against English athletes Daisy Boardman and Alice Jagielska 9:21,14:21 at the Black Rock Beach Facility in Tobago.
Despite her “disappointing” loss, Anjia was more than willing to speak about her experience competing in the Games.
“We are police escorted everywhere. For the first time I feel like royalty. I one hundred per cent think Trinbago 2023 and the Commonwealth Games Federation did a tremendous job in terms of promoting safe sport and safety in Youth…,” she said, adding that there is not much more that the organisers could have done to make the event better than it was.
“I think the procedures and protocols that have been in place are very efficient and very good and I know who to go In terms of an injury or anything else, so I think Trinbago 2023 has been a really good demonstration of how other big games and competitions should follow after.”
Anjia said it is crucial for athletes to have a safe environment, especially young athletes, and to be able to not worry about details off the court or to have any concerns about their teammates. She said these elements were taken seriously at the Games.
“…As we can see in all the goodie bags, we have “Do you feel Safe” cards, even at the front desk in our hotel, so all the protocols and procedures have done very very well in Trinbago 2023 and that’s something I really really want to promote ….”
Agreeing with her sister, Brianna said they would not be able compete as teammates anymore as Anjia will be moving to the United Kingdom to further her education.
“My sister is going to go off to college so that leaves me on the island alone, so I’d probably have to look for a new partner and hopefully develop from there and probably next time, representing would be me and someone else, other than my sister.”
Anjia said she is looking forward to competing at the college level to represent her country and to continue to bring wealth, shine and positivity to the sport.
Trinidad and Tobago raised the bar every single day at the CYG. The country is the first Caribbean territory to host a Youth Games; the first Youth Games ever to welcome para-athletes; the first Youth Games to be hosted on two separate islands; and now, Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation for giving athletes a “royal” experience.