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Nanjing athletes excelling one year on

16 August 2015

AOC: One year on from the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Young Ambassador Jessica Fox looks back with fond memories.

“I’ll always remember the human arch and tunnels we made in the village to honour our medallists, the hugs and support for those who were a bit disappointed, and the great sportsmanship our athletes showed on and off the sporting field,” she said.

Fox, the London 2012 silver medallist, loved helping guide the 89 young Australian athletes on their first Games journey.

“I considered myself a mentor, team mascot, big sister, head cheerleader,” she said.

The Games were a success both on and off the sporting field for the Australian Team, with a total of 26 medals: 5 gold, 4 silver and 17 bronze.

It was a golden start and a golden end of the Games with Brittany Dutton claiming the first gold medal of the 2014 YOG in the women’s individual triathlon, while on the final evening of competition, the men’s hockey5s team also won gold.

Jessica Thornton set the track alight at the main stadium in the 400m smashing her PB of 53.90 seconds with a run of 52.50s to claim the gold medal.

In the sport’s dress rehearsal for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Australian women’s rugby sevens Team defeated an experienced side from Canada to become the first Olympic champions. Queenslander Dominique du Toit’s blistering speed helped her score three tries, to set up the win.

Five of the medals were won by Aussies competing in mixed nations events, including Trae Williams in a mixed relay event to round out the five times an Australian athlete was top of the podium.

For many of the young athletes from the 2014 Team, key events are coming up which will decide their path to the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games. And remarkably one already has.

Nanjing Chef de Mission Susie O’Neill said many “yoggers” continue to train hard on their sporting journey with amazing results already.

“Many athletes on the team have gone on to do even better things. I would like to acknowledge (Youth Olympic Modern Pentathlete) Max Esposito who was the first athlete chosen on the Rio Olympics Team. Well done Max!”

The multiple Olympic medallist had a powerful message for all of the 2014 Nanjing Team.

“Hopefully the Youth Olympics gave you a taste of how rewarding elite sport can be.

“I want to encourage you to keep training hard every single session - I really believe consistency is the key. You may not get results straight away but the sessions add up to future success.

“We all have self-doubts from time to time, but believe that you can be as good as or better than any other athlete in your sport.”

Along with Esposito, badminton’s Joy Lai has also tasted success after Nanjing.

Lai claimed the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the 2015 national championships.

In athletics, Samantha Geddes and Williams both competed at the World Relay Championships in the Bahamas. While hammer throwers Ned Weatherly and Alex Hulley are on fire. Weatherly claimed bronze at the World Youth Championships and Hulley broke the world U20 record in January.

At the recent open world championships in Russia, swimmers Brianna Throssell and Kyle Chalmers both wowed in the pool. Throssell finished a fantastic fourth in the women’s 200m butterfly final while Chalmers produced a stunning 47.92 second leg in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team to be the Australian stand-out.

The men’s hockey5s Team have been involved in various events: the Sultan of Johor Cup, National Junior Development Camp, under 18/21 Australian Championships & National Junior Squad.

While some of the Australian rugby sevens Nanjing Team were a part of the silver medal winning Pacific Games Team, in June. There are several players on the cusp of a breakthrough into the squad of 12 for the Rio Olympic Games.

Also competing at the Pacific Games, weightlifter Kiana Elliot scored a silver and bronze medal in the 85kg division.

For Fox, it wasn’t only the podium finishes at Nanjing which were great to see, but the friendships forged within the Team.

“Our team reflected the values of the YOG – excellence, friendship and respect and I am so proud and grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this 2014 YOG Team.”

She looks forward to seeing some of the 89 athletes at future Games and continuing to be role models in their respective sports.

“I am sure I will see some of those 89 Yoggies again – maybe in Rio? Maybe beyond.
Watch out Australia, the Yoggies are coming!”

Nanjing 2014 was the second summer Youth Olympic Games. The next summer YOG will be in Argentina for Buenos Aires 2018.

The second winter instalment will be in Norway in February for the Lillehammer 2016 Games. For more information check in here>>>

ANNIE KEARNEY
olympics.com.au

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