By Emily Goddard

Vanuatu will host its first ever National Youth Games later this month ©ONOCVanuatu is gearing up to host its first ever National Youth Games later this month.

More than 50 athletes from Shefa Province, Penama Province and Tafea Province will compete at the event, due to take place at the 6,500-capacity Korman Stadium in Port Vila between September 17 and 19.

The Vanuatu Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) and Department of Youth and Sport of Vanuatu organised competition will see the youngsters competing in athletics only at this first edition, with further sports to be introduced ahead of the country's hosting of the Pacific Mini Games in 2017.

It is hoped that the National Youth Games will become an annual event beyond this year's edition.

The project was developed to help achieve a number of goals in Vanuatu, including enhancing youth sport in the country, promote Olympism, integrity and fair play, fight against the use of drugs in sport and to stimulate the development of sports facilities across the nation.

VASANOC also hopes the event will help to identify future talent for international competition with a view to securing podium places at major events, including the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

Vanuatu made its Olympic debut at Seoul 1988 and has competed in every Summer Games since but never won a medal.

They have also taken part in every Commonwealth Games since making their first appearance at Brisbane in 1982 without winning a medal. 

"VASANOC and the Department of Youth and Sport wish to thank the Vanuatu Government, ONOC [Oceania National Olympic Committees] and the private local companies Vanuatu Brewing Limited and TVL [Telecom Vanuatu Limited] for their Support," read a statement from the National Olympic Committee.

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