Future Olympic Champions ready for Games

Future Olympic Champions ready for Games

One month today the next generation of Australian Olympic champions will march in a spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Float Marina in Singapore for the first ever Youth Olympic Games.

The composition of the 100-strong team to wear the green and gold is now finalised. To celebrate the final selections and the countdown milestone Team members and Chef de Mission Nick Green gathered in Melbourne today.

Basketball, like many of the sports at the YOG, will take on an exciting, modified youth format as a 3-on-3 competition. Australian Youth Olympic Team members Olivia Bontempelli, Rosemary Fadljevic and Hannah Kaser took on Olympians Mark Bradtke and Allison Tranquilli and Melbourne Tiger Matt Burston in a 3-on-3 basketball demonstration at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre today.

Victorians Bontempelli, Fadljevic and Kaser will be joined by Queenslander Mikhaela Donnelly at the tournament.

AIS Women's assistant coach Kristy Flores will coach the team at the Games.

The girls will compete on a half court with one hoop and win the game if they are the first to reach 33 points or have the highest number of points after the allocated two x 5 minutes halves with a 10 second shot clock.

Australia has been placed alongside Chile, France, Japan and Italy in Group D with the top two teams from the round-robin group stage progressing to the quarter finals.

“We definitely have a great team as we all have different strengths,” Donnelly said. “We have all played together before and we are all really close friends, so hopefully we can win.”

Aged 14 – 18 years, the 2010 Australian Youth Olympic Team will compete in 20 of the 26 sports on the 2012 London Olympic program and is the maximum size allowed by the IOC.

“There are some outstanding medal prospects on the Team,” Chef de Mission and two time Olympic champion Nick Green said.

“We have selected the best athletes from a range of disciplines to compete at the Youth Games.”

Among them are junior world champions and national champions, 48 percent are women and 19 have competed at Australia’s very own Youth Olympic Festival, organised and funded by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

“The Youth Olympics will offer our young athletes an experience which proves a valuable step in their journey to represent the country at the Olympic Games,” Green said.

“Accompanying them are 27 coaches, 10 of whom are Olympians or have Olympic experience.”

The AOC has made a significant investment spending $647,000 to prepare, manage and outfit the Team.
The Australian Team will form part of 3,600 athletes descending on Singapore to compete in a multi-sports environment, live in an Olympic Village, undergo drug testing and learn about the Olympic values in a Culture and Education program.

“The Culture and Education program will teach our athletes about important Olympic traditions, such as sportsmanship and friendship, respect and tolerance, the environment and sustainability,” Green said.

Australian basketball legends Andrew Gaze and Michele Timms will travel to Singapore with the team as Athlete Role Models.

The Youth Olympic Games will create a lasting sport, culture and education legacy for young athletes around the world.