Future stars chosen to represent Team GB at Olympic Festival
2nd July 2013
The British Olympic Association (BOA) announced today the athletes selected to represent Team GB at the 12th European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Utrecht, Netherlands, from 14th-19th July.
The race to Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games is already a year old and may prove a bridge too far for most of Team GB’s young athletes, but the EYOF will play a vital role in helping them along the road towards achieving their Olympic dreams.
Team GB consists of 44 athletes aged 13-17 years old who will compete in cycling, gymnastics, judo, swimming and tennis. They will test themselves against more than 2300 of the finest young sportspeople from 48 other countries across the continent.
For most of the team this represents their first experience of an international multi-sport environment and they will all be hoping to emulate the likes of Rebecca Adlington and Sam Oldham, who went from the EYOF podium to medal success at the Olympic Games.
In the pool there will be a 16-strong contingent of Team GB swimmers including Nico Campbell (Cheshunt), Luke Gunning (Orpington) and Laura Stephens (Wix) who all swam in the London 2012 Olympic trials held at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park. Adlington returned home from EYOF 2003 in Paris with two silver medals and five years later in Beijing she turned them to gold. All 16 of Team GB’s swimmers are sure to be inspired by her achievements and eager to begin their own path to success.
Team GB’s Chef de Mission in the Netherlands will be double Olympic sailing champion Sarah Gosling, who will be supported by deputy Chefs de Mission Mahdi Choudhury and Louise Whitehead. Gosling and her team aim to create the ideal environment for success as Team GB look to maintain the high standards set at previous Festivals – in the 22-year history of EYOF, Team GB has never finished lower than sixth in the medal table, and no lower than third in the last four Festivals.
Sarah Gosling, Team GB Chef de Mission, said:
“There has never been a better time to be a young athlete in Britain. Utrecht is the third Youth Olympic event Team GB will have been to in 2013, demonstrating the BOA’s dedication to developing and nurturing British Olympic talent for the Rio 2016 Games and beyond.
“Multi-sport events like EYOF play a crucial role in young athletes’ development, not only as a sportsperson but also as a person in general. They give athletes the opportunity to experience life in an Olympic Village, to mix with athletes from different nations and to learn about the pressures of competing in a multi-sport environment.
“The EYOF has proved a valuable stepping stone for the careers of many young British athletes in the past and our goal is to continue that process in Utrecht.”
Team leaders from each sport on their involvement in Utrecht:
Mark Perry (Northampton), swimming, said:
“We have a history of winning lots of medals in swimming at EYOF and long may that continue. Some of our most successful swimmers in recent years have raced at a Youth Olympic Festival including Rebecca Adlington, Liam Tancock and David Davies – that’s six Olympic medals, three world titles and three world records just between them. We have selected the best of what Britain has to offer and they all have bright futures ahead of them.”
Laura Stephens (Wix), swimming, said:
“The Olympics are where every young athlete aspires to be so I feel very privileged to have been selected to represent Team GB in Utrecht. I got my first taste of the Olympics when I swam in the trials for London 2012 in the Aquatics Centre and the EYOF will be another great experience for me as I develop as a swimmer and learn what I need to do to make an Olympic Games one day.”
Suleman Butt (Aberdeen), swimming, said:
“There’s a history of swimmers doing well at EYOF and going on to the Olympics and winning there too. Becky Adlington has done it for Britain and to have Pieter van den Hoogenband, who did it for the Netherlands, organising the whole event in Utrecht it really shows what a launchpad a Youth Festival can be.”