Northland's next crop of athletes are set for one of the biggest youth sport stages in the world.

The Youth Commonwealth Games begin today and Northlanders Ciara Smith, Kyle Chen and Jasmine Milton are all set to prove themselves in the Bahamas.

Whangarei swimmer Ciara Smith will contest the 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke in the Bahamas.

Smith won all three breaststroke events at the 2017 National Age Group Championships, claiming the top podium spot in the 50m, 100m and 200m divisions.


The Northwave Swim Club member won silver in the girls 16 years and under 100m and 200m breaststroke at the 2017 Australian Age Championships.

Ngunguru Beach Volleyballer Jasmine Milton will compete in the women's doubles team event. She competed in the 2016/17 New Zealand Open Women's Pro-Tour recording three top-10 finishes.

Milton said she's been drawn to the sport for years.

"As soon as I touched the ball in the sand I loved it. I love the game of sand volley, the locations, the workload and the passion for the sport has just always been there."

Paihia boxer Kyle Chen is heading to the Games full of confidence after winning the New Zealand nationals three times and the Taiwan national championships twice.

The 16-year-old is also a two-time New Zealand Golden Gloves champion and won the 2016 Australian Golden Gloves open.

The Kerikeri High School student currently has a record of 38 wins and six defeats following a move from the junior to youth ranks in amateur boxing in 2016.

Chen has been accepted into the International Boxing Association's road to Buenos Aires programme, in preparation for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

Chen said this was the biggest accolade of his burgeoning career.

"Yeah, it's probably the most prestigious selection I've had. I previously competed at the 2015 Junior Worlds but I think this will be above it," he said.

"It will just be the boxers from the Commonwealth and they are definitely strong but not as strong as boxers from Russia, USA and Cuba."

Up to 1300 athletes from around the world will be involved in the Games and will make the most of an inspiring and immersive mix of impactful sporting competition.

New Zealand will be hoping to beat an impressive 2015 campaign where they picked up seven gold, nine silver and five bronze medals in Apia.

This is the sixth edition of the games, having previously been hosted in Scotland, Australia, India, Isle of Man and Samoa.

The games will allow for personal development in the athletes who will also be given the opportunity to form new Commonwealth friendships.

They will provide a performance pathway for the young New Zealand athletes and will also inspire them to future sporting and individual success.