Kelly Holmes tops impressive list of athletes who will visit during games

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Dame Kelly Holmes DBE, MBE, the 2004 double gold Olympic Medal winning runner tops an impressive list of Olympic and Commonwealth medal winning athletes who will be visiting the Isle of Man during the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.

Kelly, who won both the 800 and 1500 metre races at the Athens Olympics, is visiting in her capacity as President of the English team. Throughout her illustrious career she won gold at the 1994 and 2002, and Silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Silver and Bronze at the 1995 Gothenburg World Championships, a bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Silver in both the 2003 indoor and outdoor World Championships.

She retired from athletics in 2005 and was appointed a dame by HM The Queen in the same year.

Kelly is clearly looking forward to her visit and commented:

“The Commonwealth Youth Games is a great opportunity for athletes to pit themselves against some of the world’s leading competitors in their age group. It will give many of them a really good introduction to competing in championships and I am really looking forward to spotting some of the stars of the future and see what a great event the Isle of Man puts on.”

Fellow Athens Gold medalist Tonique Williams-Darling from Bahamas, who won the 2004 Olympics 400 metres race and the gold medal in the 2005 Helsinki World Championships, has also confirmed that she will be on the Isle of Man during CYG2011.  Tonique will be working in her role as Athletics team leader for the Caribbean island team.

Kenyan Marathon Runner Catherine Ndereba, described by a Chicago Tribune reporter as the greatest women’s marathon runner of all time, will be accompanying the Kenyan team to the Isle of Man. She won gold at the 2003 and 2007 World Championships in Paris and Osaka and Silver in Helsinki in 2005, also winning silver in both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics and broke the women’s world record for the marathon in 2001, recording 2:18.47

Gymnast Beth Tweddle, the three-time world champion, who competed in the Edinburgh Commonwealth Youth Games, will be closely following the English team as their Gymnastics ambassador.

Alan Pascoe, the 400 metres and 400-metre Hurdles runner will also be casting his eye over the Games. Pascoe, whose career highlight was an Olympic Silver medal in the 400m relay in Munich as well as Gold medal from the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games, is now the Chairman of leading UK Sports Agency Fast Track and was involved in the successful bid for London hosting the 2012 Olympics.

Swimmer Sarah Price is guaranteed the best seat in the house at the Swimming, which takes place at the Isle of Man’s National Sports Centre, as she will be commentating on the event. Sarah, who won gold medals in the 100 metre and 200 metre backstroke events at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, was also the 200 metre backstroke World Record Holder, which she set in winning the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Riesa, Germany in 2001.

Geoff Karran, MBE, Chairman of the Isle of Man CYG 2011 Organising Committee commented:

“ We are delighted that such an illustrious group of former stars will be visiting the Isle of Man for the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games and we look forward to welcoming them and all the athletes and officials to our Island where we hope to be watching some of the stars of the future making their mark.”

Tickets for the Opening Ceremony and all of the sporting events can be purchased from the Welcome Centre, the Villa Marina or from the NSC reception. Tickets for the Opening Ceremony are £15 and for sporting events range from £6 to £10 with concessions in certain sports for disabled, pensioners and juniors. 

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