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Coates praises successful Festival

20 January 2013

AYOF2013: Australian Olympic Committee President and International Olympic Committee Executive Board Member John Coates has praised the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) contested in Sydney over the past five days.

The AYOF, which originated as a legacy of Sydney 2000, was contested by 1700 athletes across 30 nations.

“I am extremely proud of the way the Australian athletes have been so welcoming of our guests,” Coates said.

“I am also very pleased with the spread of medals across the different countries. Athletes from the smaller nations will benefit greatly from the high standard of competition.”

Coates cited the “remarkable” seven-medal-haul by Combined Oceania in the weightlifting as an example of the AYOF’s multifaceted appeal.

“The competition has been intense but there is also a very good feeling amongst the athletes.”

The Australians performed well across all events, with world-class performances by gold medallists Jacob Birtwhistle and Jaz Hedgeland in the triathlon, clean-sweeps in the hockey against fortified challengers, and impressive international debuts by Australia’s rugby sevens sides.

“We introduced rugby and golf at this AYOF and both were very successful and will be extremely popular in Rio in 2016,” said Coates, who presented gold to the Australian women and silver to the Australian men at the end of a colourful rugby sevens tournament.

“Rio 2016” has certainly been a buzz-word around the AYOF.

“The Festival was so good for my preparation towards Rio,” Australian kayaker Madison Davies said.

“It was a good opportunity to see where I stand against athletes from other countries”

As the international athletes fly home over the coming days, many of these athletes will meet again at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

2014 Youth Olympic Team Chef de Mission Susie O’Neill was in Sydney to experience the AYOF and will lead a team of approximately 100 athletes to China in August 2014.

Follow the athletes on the road to Rio and Nanjing at corporate.olympics.com.au

Taya Conomos

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