13 August 2014
Bound for the Youth
Today 11 track and field
NSW athletes depart for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing
China. The former capital for China, Nanjing is located two hours west of
The Australia Youth
Olympic Games team will contest 23 of the 28 sports across over nine days of
competition between 16-24 August.
The inaugural games were
held in 2010 in Singapore when 639 athletes from 169 countries competed in the
track and field competition. Three NSW emerging stars from that team included: Nick Hough (gold 110m hurdles), Brandon Starc (silver high jump) and Michelle Jenneke (silver 100m hurdles).
The three would compete together again at the 2012 world juniors and 2014
A legacy from the three NSW athletes continues
with the 2014 team. Hough attended The King’s School, along with 2014 team
member Nick Andrews, also a
hurdler . Combined they dominate the school’s and GPS hurdle records. Andrews
and another 2014 team member, Rachel Pace train with Michelle Jenneke, under coach Mick Zisti. Finally, 2014 team triple jumper Tay-Leih Clark, trains with 2010 medallist Brandon Starc, with coaches Alex
Stewart and Nicole Boegman-Stewart.
Hough recalled his Youth Olympic experience.
"The 2010 Youth
Olympic Games was the perfect introduction to international competition for me.
Having the opportunity to interact with some of the greatest Olympic legends of
the last few decades, mixed with the experience of racing world class
competitors, was invaluable. For me, the Youth Olympics is still the best
international competition I have been a part of.
“Both Nick Andrews
and I were students together at The King's School, and so to see him develop so
promisingly in my pet event is fantastic. He's running very similar times to
what I was running when I won the Youth Olympics four years ago, so hopefully
he can pull out something special and push for a medal as well."
NSW athletes selected in the Australian team – IOC Youth
Nick Andrews – 110m hurdles
Matt Rees – Javelin
Sam Geddes – 100m
Jessica Thornton –
Alina Tape – 800m
Emily Augustine –
Rosie May Davidson –
Rachel Pace – 100m hurdles
Tay-Leih Clark –
Grace Robinson – shot
Alex Hulley - hammer
In June, the athletes spoke about their
Nick Andrews feels honoured
to selected in the team.
“I feel like it is an immense privilege to be a part of
the Australian Youth Olympic team,” he said. “Being part of this team will not
only give me the opportunity to compete against the best in the world, but it
will allow me to continue my journey to one day compete for Australia at a
senior level. Running at the Youth Olympic Games on the world stage will be
exciting but at the same time quite surreal. I can’t wait to go!”
has adapted very quickly to a new hurdles distance. In December 2013 she won
the Australian All Schools 90m hurdles in a national record time of 12.35. From
January 2014 she had graduated to the 100m hurdles and it did not take her long
to excel, winning the national under 18 title in a time of 13.49 which remains
the fastest time in the world this year on early season rankings.
transition from 90m hurdles to 100m hurdles went a lot better than I thought it
would,” she said. “I had tried to go over 100m hurdles at training at the end
of a session and could barely manage to get over two or three. Once the All
Schools nationals were over, I had just under two months until NSW juniors to
perfect the 100m hurdles. The transition went quite well, better then what my
excited about what lies ahead for her in Nanjing.
selected was the best thing to happen in my athletics career so far. I was over
the moon and so happy that I have the opportunity to represent Australia for my
first international competition. Competing
at an international competition will be quite daunting and very confronting.
Running against elite athletes from other countries will be such an amazing
experience and I am very nervous but very excited to run.”
three athletes from the Sutherland Shire have won selection in the team.
Sprinter Sam Geddes (Illawong), shot
putter Grace Robinson (St George)
and jumper Tay-Leih Clark (Illawong)
will travel together to China.
only 15, and the current national under-16 shot put record holder stepped up to
the under-18 shot and trial for the Youth Olympic Games team. In a terrific
battle with Queensland’s Luisa Sekona, Robinson won by just 4cm with 15.91m.
jumper Clark made significant progress last summer adding more than a metre to
her personal best. In December she raised the NSW under-16 triple jump record
with a leap of 12.05m, before taking the national under-18 title in March with
“To be representing my
country is a feeling I cannot even put into words,’’ Clark said.
“It has been great
getting many quick tips from Brandon
Starc from his experience competing in the first ever Youth Olympic Games,
also having Alex Stewart (Clark’s
personal coach) as the Australian coach is just the icing on the cake.” Starc
placed second in Singapore with a breakthrough personal best of 2.19m in the
“I’m looking forward to a new and amazing
experience in Nanjing, And with some amazing athletes also competing the
adrenalin levels should be higher than ever,” Clark said.
Geddes will be joined in
Nanjing by Eastern Suburbs sprinter Jess
Thornton (South Sydney), her training partner in Michael Dooley’s squad, one of the nation’s leading sprint squads.
In December at the Australian All Schools Championships, they swept the
competition, clocking the two fastest 100m times at the meet, with Thornton
also smashing the 19-year-old NSW under-16 400m record.
so incredibly honoured to put on the green and gold,” Geddes said. “Hopefully
this is one of many times I can run for Australia. Words can't do justice as to
how excited I am to be running on the world stage. It's going to be such a
surreal experience, and I honestly cannot wait to give it my best shot. “
was equally as excited.
just can’t wait for it. I already have a countdown happening and I get to
represent Australia so that makes it even better. But I’m also really nervous,
so mixed emotions are everywhere.”
Hunter region javelin
thrower Matt Rees will join his
Sydney-based training partner, Grace Robinson in the team. Rees, a most
dedicated athlete travels 2.5 hours fortnightly to train in Sydney with his
coach Ray Russell. He earned
selection courtesy of a throw of 70.85m in the national under-18 championships,
a competition he won by more than 8m. It is currently the seventh best under-18
throw in the world this year.
grateful to be selected in the team knowing that only a few will ever get the
chance, and I can't wait until the competition,’’ he said. ``Knowing that I'll
be competing against the best in the world for my age is just incredible.”
UTS Norths’ middle
distance star Emily Augustine will
contest the 1500m in Nanjing after winning the Games’ trial in March in a big
personal best of 4:30.03.
am honoured to be selected to represent Australia, and am so excited to be
competing against the best youth in the world,’’ she said. ``The experience of
traveling to China with my fellow teammates will be amazing.’’:)
Another endurance athlete to earn selection is Wollongong’s Rosie May Davidson (IBS). In March she
won a very close national under-18 2000m steeplechase by just 0.13 seconds
clocking 6:50.59 and putting her into selection contention. Another country
athlete selected is Alina Tape
(NAM), from the North Coast town of Bowraville. She will contest the 800
metres. In a tactical race, she clocked 2:10.61 to win the Australian under-18
title but travels to Nanjing with an impressive personal best of 2:07.85.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: collage of
the 11 NSW athletes (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)