13-strong Athletics squad selected for Buenos Aires
9 August 2018
BUENOS AIRES 2018: With the addition of a 13-strong athletics squad to Australia’s Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Team, the Buenos Aires 2018 Team now sits at 78 athletes from 23 sports.
The Athletics Australia National Junior High-Performance Manager, Sara Heasly, congratulated the athletes and officials that have been selected to wave the Aussie flag in Argentina.
“Congratulations not only to the 13 athletes selected to represent Australia at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, but also to their coaches and support teams,” Heasly said.
"The Youth Olympics is a tremendous developmental opportunity for our junior athletes, we are grateful to the AOC for their support with this competition."
The squad boasts the likes of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games 800m runner, Keeley Small, who said her previous Commonwealth experiences will give her an advantage at the worldwide multisport event.
“It was a great learning and development experience being in a senior Australian team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, as well as the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas,” the 17-year-old said.
“My previous team experiences will help me adapt and cope with the challenges of competing at an international level. I’m also hoping to use my past experiences to help my other teammates.”
Small, who placed 11th at Gold Coast 2018, first set her sights on the Youth Olympics after watching her cousin and dual Winter Olympic Alpine skier, Greta Small, compete at the Winter YOG in Innsbruck.
“My cousin Greta Small (alpine skier) competed at YOG in 2012 and was chosen as flag bearer. My goal since then has been to qualify for YOG and other Australian teams.
“My main focus in Buenos Aires is to compete to the best of my ability and do my country proud. To wear the Australian uniform is an amazing opportunity and I am looking forward to getting out there and competing at another international event.”
Making her move in women’s hurdles is 16-year-old Sophie White. The Perth local equaled Olympic Champion Sally Pearson’s U18 100m hurdle record at the 2018 Australian Junior Championships in Sydney – recording a time of 13.14 – which also beat the time of the U20 winner.
Achieving this goal was a major step towards realising her dream of wearing the green and gold at YOG.
“I first heard about the Youth Olympics in 2016 when watching replays of the 100m hurdles at the 2014 Games in Nanjing,” White said.
“It became a real goal of mine after the 2016 All Schools Championships. At national competitions and at each race, I aimed to improve my personal bests, achieve qualifying times for Buenos Aires and tick off the things I had been working on in training.
“To be selected is a real honor and until I officially found out about my selection, I made sure that I had done everything possible to put myself in contention to represent my country.”
After a stellar performance at the Australian Nationals in March, White won gold at the Melanesian Championships in Vanuatu in May, booking her ticket to Buenos Aires.
Now, the Western Australian hurdler is ready to take her experience international, competing against the world’s best in the “pinnacle” of her young sporting career.
“I’m really looking forward to the cultural experience that Buenos Aires will offer, it looks amazing! I'm also looking forward to meeting other members of the Australian team from other sports.
“Competing on a newly built athletics track against the world’s best junior athletes will be the pinnacle of my career so far. I’m really hoping that I can run my best, perform well and hopefully set a new PB.”
With every selected athlete on the 2018 Athletics Team being the current U18 national champion in their chosen discipline, the 13 young athletes are ready to show the world Australia’s strength at the Youth Olympics in October.
Selected Athletics team for Buenos Aires 2018
Keegan Bell (17), The Ponds, NSW – 400m
Joshua Cowley (17), Brisbane, QLD – Long Jump
Jaylah Hancock-Cameron (16), Broulee, NSW – 1500m
Jamie Hiscock (17), Chandler, QLD – 2000m Steeplechase
Oscar Miers (16), Brisbane, QLD – High Jump
Elizabeth Moss (16), Brisbane, QLD – High Jump
Keely Small (17), Canberra ACT – 800m
Sally Shokry (16), Castle Hill, NSW - Discus
Thomas Throssell (17), Perth, WA – 400m Hurdles
Rochelle Vidler (17), Collingwood Park, QLD – Hammer Throw
Anthony Vlatko (17), Sydney, NSW – 800m
Sophie White (16), Perth, WA – 100m Hurdles
Luke Young (16), Awaba, NSW – 1500m