By Australian Sailing Youth
Eighty-eight of the nation’s brightest young sporting prospects will represent Australia at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), the world’s largest multi-sport competition for young athletes.
The Australian Team will compete against 4,000 athletes, aged 15-18 from 206 countries in the Argentinian capital across the 10 days of competition, running 6-18 October.
Australia’s Chef de Mission, dual Olympic fencer, Evelyn Halls, congratulated the Team on their selection.
“I’m very excited about the potential of our talented, young athletes who will represent Australia in Buenos Aires,” Ms. Halls said.
“Many of today’s YOG Team will go on to vie for selection in future Australian Olympic Teams.
“The Youth Olympic Games is an important step in a young athlete’s career, providing a unique opportunity to experience the Olympic environment. As well as elite level competition, the YOG program also offers a range of educational and cultural opportunities that build on the Olympic values.”
Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll said: “The AOC is committed to providing opportunities for our member Olympic sports to develop their rising talent. The Youth Olympics provides such a unique opportunity for the athletes and their coaches.
“The Youth Olympic Games provide that all important multi-sport experience for Australia’s next generation of elite athletes.
“As well as testing themselves against the world’s best junior athletes, these Games provide an opportunity for Aussie athletes to mix with fellow athletes from other sports and importantly from many nations and backgrounds; learning valuable life experiences that will help them develop as athletes and individuals.
“With Australian Olympic medallists like Emma McKeon, Kyle Chalmers and Jessica Fox starting their careers at the Youth Olympics, Buenos Aires 2018 can be a springboard for representation in future senior teams.”
The Australian YOG Team is made up of 47 (53%) female and 41 (47%) male athletes. Hockey 5s will boast the largest sport section (18 athletes), with both a female and male Australian Team competing at YOG for the first time.
The men’s hockey team are heading into Buenos Aires with a target on their backs as the two-time defending champions, having won at Nanjing 2014, and at the inaugural YOG at Singapore 2010.
Five athletes will bring with them invaluable Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) experience to the multi-sport event, including Matt Carter (diving – bronze), Keely Small (athletics), Kaylee McKeown (swimming), and shooters Alex Hoberg and Victoria Rossiter.
Current U18 and U20 800m Australian record holder, Keely Small said she was honoured to be selected in the Team and hopes her GC2018 experience will give her an advantage over her competitors.
“To wear the Australian uniform is an amazing opportunity and I am looking forward to getting out there and competing at another international event, while meeting athletes from all over the world,” the 17-year-old said.
“My previous Team experiences will help me adapt and cope with the challenges of competing at an international level, and I am also hoping to use my past experiences to help my other teammates.”
Rio 2016 modern pentathlon Olympic champion, Chloe Esposito, will also be with the Team in Buenos Aires as one of the IOC’s Young Changemakers, to act as a mentor, friend and supporter for the athletes.
The entire Youth Olympic Team, plus the 60 selected officials, will come together in Sydney at the end of September for a pre-departure ‘Champ Camp’. The Team will meet one another for the first time at Champ Camp, attend sessions on anti-doping and media skills and receive their ASICS uniform. They will have the chance to meet a number of Australian Olympians, including Olympic medallists Chloe Esposito, Bronte Campbell and Daniel Kowalski, who are attending the camp to share their knowledge and experience.
Alex Halank – windsurfing
Hailey Lea – windsurfing
Mani Bisschops – kiteboarding
Will Cooley – Nacra 15
Evie Haseldine – Nacra 15