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Aussies wrap games with medals

25 August 2010

The 2010 Australian Youth Olympic Team has finished the first ever Youth Olympic Games as they started; delivering outstanding sporting performances, displaying the Aussie fighting spirit and winning an array of medals.

On the final day of competition for the Aussies, athletes won four medals, pumping the total number medals won to 32 - 8 gold, 15 silver and 9 bronze.

“The Australian team has produced some outstanding performances at the Youth Olympics,” Chef de Mission Nick Green said. 

“Each one of them has done their very best and worn the green and gold with pride. I am thrilled by their achievements.”

Green was impressed with the calibre of competitors as well as the overall experience provided to athletes.

“The Youth Olympic Games is a fantastic initiative.

“Not only have our athletes competed against some of the best athletes from around the world, they have been exposed to living in an Olympic village, undergone drug testing, learnt how to deal with the media and participated in a diverse culture and education program.

“I am confident we shall see athletes who have competed here represent our country at future Olympic Games and this experience will be invaluable.”

Australian Olympic Committee President and IOC Executive Member John Coates has been in Singapore for the duration of the Games.

“The AOC is impressed. The IOC is impressed. But more importantly the athletes are impressed,” Coates said.

“As we found from our Youth Festival, on a much smaller scale, this sort of event is a great stepping stone to a Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games. This is an important pathway to keep kids focused.”

“Eighty countries have medalled which is a really good spread,  that has really achieved something. And for the Australian Team the number of medals and personal bests is really encouraging.

Coates didn’t rule out Australia bidding for a future Youth Olympic Games.

“It is certainly something we are interested in. I don’t think we could contemplate it at the cost of these games, but we’ve got great venues and the experience in running events.

“The only other issue is that if it is going to be in July/August as the IOC would like, then it really rules out most of Australia other than Queensland.”

Olympic gold medallist in sailing, Elise Rechichi, accompanied the athletes as a Young Ambassador and provided guidance throughout the games.

“This has been an amazing opportunity for young athletes to understand the Olympic environment and learn how to deal with its distractions and pressures, before competing at the real thing,” Rechichi said.

Australian rhythmic gymnast Taylor Tirahardjo, 15, was not in the hunt for medals in Singapore but that didn’t matter.

“This has been amazing a once in a lifetime experience. I definitely want to keep training hard and try for London (2012 Olympics), Tirahardjo said. 

 “The Athletes’ Village has been so much fun and I’ve met so many new friends I don’t want to leave.”

Now for the 100 Australian athletes the only thing left to do is enjoy Thursday night’s Closing Ceremony and cherish the last of their first Olympic experience before flying back to Australia on Friday. For many they have the taste of what an Olympics are like and they now have London 2012 or Rio 2016 on the to-do-list.

Frances Cordaro and Andrew Reid

AOC

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