Team GB Stars of the Future Selected to Youth Olympic Squad

5th December 2012

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced the 120 athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney from 16-20 January 2013. The team will feature four talented junior triatheltes.

The AYOF will see 1,700 athletes aged 13-19 from 30 nations competing across 17 Olympic sports in many of the venues used to host the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Team GB will compete in 11 Olympic sports: badminton, basketball, diving, golf, gymnastics, hockey, rowing, shooting, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling.

Inspired by Team GB’s outstanding success at this summer’s London Olympic Games, this group of young athletes will be aiming to use the AYOF experience as a springboard in their development towards fulfilling their aspirations of representing Team GB at future Olympic Games.

Leeds based triathletes Georgia Taylor-Brown, 18, and Gordon Benson, 18, make up half of the TeamGB triathlon squad. They have benefitted from regularly training alongside London 2012 Olympic medallists Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, and were recently presented with the British Triathlon Junior Triathlete of the Year awards.

Sophie Coldwell, 17 from Nottingham, and Marc Austin, 18 from Glasgow, make up the other half of the squad that travels to Australia next month.

Coldwell said: “Being selected for the Youth Olympic Festival means a lot to me and will hopefully be a stepping stone for my future career in international sport. Representing your country is a great honour and I am very happy to be able to do it as part of a big multisport squad.

“World Champion British triathletes such as the Brownlees and Helen Jenkins are brilliant role models for us and I hope to one day follow in their footsteps.”

Team GB has participated very successfully at the last two AYOFs, held in 2007 and in 2009 when they claimed 26 gold, 16 silver and 26 bronze medals – 68 in total. Previous AYOFs have provided an important stepping stone for many of Team GB’s successful London 2012 Olympians.  From the two previous visits to the AYOF a total of 35 athletes from 12 sport disciplines have graduated to become Olympians, and they have won 17 Olympic medals to date. The AYOF Team GB alumni include the likes of London 2012 medallist Jonathan Brownlee (triathlon).

Brownlee said: “Winning gold at the Australian Youth Olympics (in 2009) really gave me a lot of confidence. It was my first taste of a big global competition and to be there as part of a big British team was a valuable experience that really helped me. Good luck to the team, and I hope to see some of them in Rio in 2016!”

As part of its commitment to develop and nurture future British Olympic talent for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond, the British Olympic Association will be taking Team GB delegations to seven Youth Olympic events over the next four years, beginning with the 2013 AYOF.

Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission said: “Following the inspirational achievements of Team GB’s athletes this summer at the London 2012 Games it is an exciting time to lead this group of exceptionally talented young athletes to the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

“The AYOF will play an important role in introducing these athletes to an environment reminiscent of the Olympic Games and providing them with a taste of a multi-sport competition. They will also have the opportunity to develop their understanding of the Olympic ideals of excellence, friendship and respect.  I’m confident the AYOF will prove to be an invaluable experience in progressing their international sporting careers as they aim to bridge the gap between youth and senior international representation. The statistics show what a crucial springboard the AYOF has been for many of our successful London 2012 Olympians.”