Issy Boffey reflects on the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games

Despite this being her first year as a senior athlete, Issy Boffey (Luke Gunn, Enfield & Haringey/Birmingham Uni) already has an impressive list of titles to her name. Not only did she become British Champion over four laps of the indoor track earlier this year, Issy also has multiple European gold medals to her name from both the U20 and U23 Championships. She was also part of the winning England Team at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. Issy placed a fantastic 4th in the final of the 800m.

With this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago now underway, we caught up with Issy a few weeks ago to learn about her experience at the 2017 Youth Games. What it was like to travel to the Bahamas, how she found the experience and how the Games helped her transition so successfully from a junior to a senior athlete.

What was it like travelling to the Bahamas for the Commonwealth Youth Games?

It was such a crazy experience! Travelling with the team was so much fun but also super tiring as it was a 9-hour flight, one of the longest I had ever been on. The Bahamas itself was absolutely amazing. We were sharing the hotel with teams from other countries, but Team England had lots of spaces for us to be in and the stadium itself was such a great facility.

What was your favourite memory from the Commonwealth Youth Games?

Can you talk us through what it was like to compete at the Games, both in the heat and the final?

The heats were quite nerve racking. There were a lot of really talented girls in the 800m, so you didn’t know what was going to happen. The Bahamas also has a humid climate which is something I wasn’t used to, but it made the heats a great opportunity to see what it was like to race in those conditions.

I was quite nervous for the final, but it helped that I knew the whole process very well from the heats the day before. Everyone was going for the win, so it was a bit more pressure, but I knew I had to just go for it and leave it all out on the track.

Bedford 6 May 2019. Isabelle Boffey wins the women's 800m. Photo by Mark Shearman.

What one ‘luxury item’ would you suggest this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games athletes pack and why?

I would suggest a disposable camera so you can capture all the behind-the-scenes moments that you can look back on in the future.

What advice would you give to the Team England athletes competing at this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games?

Has competing at major events like the Commonwealth Youth Games helped support your transition from a junior to a senior athlete?

Yes, it definitely has! The experience I gained from doing a Games as part of Team England has been so beneficial for me as a senior athlete. Going through the whole process was incredibly insightful. From flying with the team, to having team meetings, attending the opening ceremony and the whole championship process with heats, semis and finals, I learnt so much from the event.

I didn’t realise it back then, but going through all that as a junior athlete meant I knew exactly what to expect at a senior level. It meant I wasn’t intimidated by the travel, meeting a whole new bunch of other athletes or any of the competition process as I’d been through all of it before. In addition, the Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport championships, which just prepares you in all the other aspects such as what the dining hall is like, interacting with athletes from other sports and from all the different nations as well as Team England, which may seem small to some people but as athletes these things are so important.

Images by Mark Shearman.