The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council has announced their team for the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games ©NICGC

The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) has announced their team which will compete at this year's Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau in The Bahamas.

Northern Ireland will be represented by 18 athletes across five sports - aquatics, athletics, boxing, cycling and judo. 

The squad has been selected based upon nominations from their respective sport’s governing body and athletes are aged between 15 and 18.

The swimming squad consists of Rachel Bethel, Jack McMillan, Rebecca Reid and Shannon Russell.

Due to a change in the games scheduling Bethel, who also competed at Samoa 2015, will be able to compete in her second Commonwealth Youth Games as she is still aged only 17.

Athletics sees Sommer Lecky looking to build upon her early season form, which saw her jump 1.82 metres in recent high jump competition.

That score is a nomination height for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games but selections will not be made until January.

Aaron Sexton will take to the track in the 100m and 200m, while Anna McCauley will compete in the 100m hurdles.

Davicia Patterson completes the group and will be a contender in the 400m.

Six boxers will be seeking to maintain the country's terrific recent record at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Kian Bittles, Dominic Bradley, Anthony Johnston, Aaron McKenna, John Moran and Kane Tucker are set to take to the ring.

All five Northern Irish boxers returned with medals from the Samoa 2015, including McKenna's brother Stephen who took light-flyweight gold.

Stephen McKenna, left, won boxing gold at Samoa 2015 for Northern Ireland ©Getty Images
Stephen McKenna, left, won boxing gold at Samoa 2015 for Northern Ireland ©Getty Images

Harvey Barnes and Adam Ward will be compete in the cycling road race and time trial while Matthew Elliott and Kirstie Strouts McCallion are the two judokas.

"It’s a great honour for these young athletes to represent Northern Ireland at such a prestigious global event," said NICGC chairman, Robert McVeigh.

"Our planning has been in progress for quite some time and, over the next couple of months, we will continue to make sure that all the athletes and coaches are suitably prepared so that they can perform to the best of their ability.

"NICGC acknowledges the ongoing support given to athletes by their respective governing bodies and SportNI.

"We wish them every success."

The athletes will be accompanied by a support team of 12, including coaching, medical and management staff. 

Northern Ireland won 12 medals at Samoa 2015, including four golds, four silvers and four bronzes.

The Games, first staged in 2000, are due to be held between July 19 and 23.

It will be the largest international sporting event ever staged in The Bahamas and the biggest edition of the Games with up to 1,300 athletes aged between 14 and 18 set to participate.

The event will see 94 medals contested across athletics, beach soccer, boxing, road cycling, judo, rugby sevens, swimming, tennis and beach volleyball.