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First athletes selected for Buenos Aires 2018

6 June 2018

BUENOS AIRES 2018: The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has today announced the selection of the first members of the Australian Team for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

Eight athletes from the sports of Badminton, Basketball 3x3, Equestrian and Fencing can now begin their serious countdown to one of the biggest sporting events of their young careers.

The AOC will send around 95 athletes aged 15-18 to the Argentinian capital in October to have their first taste of the Olympic experience.

Madi Sinderberry portraitAustralia’s sole equestrian representative Madeline Sinderberry (NSW) said she was “so excited” when Equestrian Australia told her they were nominating her for Jumping after the Australian selection camp.

“I felt a big rush of pride that the many years of training and competing had resulted in me being chosen to represent Australia at the YOG,” the 17-year-old said.

“I already knew about the YOG from the two previous representatives, Tom McDermott and Jake Hunter. They are both riders that I really respect, so to be following in their footsteps is an amazing feeling.”

Similarly, Australia’s male fencing representative, Robert Ciccarelli (NSW), said his selection in the Team is an accumulation of 10 years of hard work.

Robert Ciccarelli in action

“I was 6 when I first started fencing and found out about YOG when I was 8. I was part of a Youth Olympic Training Group and from then on, the Youth Olympics was my goal,” Ciccarelli said.

The 16-year-old Foil Fencer from Western Sydney secured the quota for Australia after he was the top placing Australian at the 2018 World Cadet Fencing Championships in Verona in April, finishing 48th. He will be joined by 16-year-old Giorgia Salmas (VIC) in Buenos Aires after Salmas placed 42nd in the women’s ranking in Italy.

“When I found out I had a chance of qualifying and representing Australia at the YOG I was lost for words, I couldn’t really believe it. It had been a goal of mine for so long, the fact that it was finally happening felt like a dream come true,” Ciccarelli said.

16-year-old Zecily Fung (NSW) will be Australia’s sole badminton representative in Argentina, securing her place in the Team with a Junior World Ranking of 62nd in women’s singles.

Zecily Fung BWF Thomas & Uber Cup at Impact Arena on May 21, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Four athletes from four different states will band together to become Australia’s YOG 3x3 Basketball Team, before the sport makes it debut on the big stage at Tokyo 2020.

Alexandra Fowler (QLD), Ruby Porter (SA), Suzi-Rose Deegan (WA), and Sara-Rose Smith (VIC) will compete in the women’s 3x3 competition in one of the city’s main tourist areas, in Urban Park.

Chef de Mission of the 2018 YOG Team, and dual fencing Olympian Evelyn Halls, said today’s announcement will have a huge impact in the sporting careers of these up and coming athletes.

“As members of the Australian Youth Olympic Team, these young athletes have become part of the great tradition of the Olympic movement in Australia,” Halls said.

“My own selection in the Australian Team for the 2000 Olympics was one of the true highlights of my sporting career and a moment I will never forget. Selection in the Team is the result of many years of hard work and dedication by our athletes, their families and their support teams - they should be justifiably proud of what they have achieved.

“Athletes at their first Olympic Games can often find the experience overwhelming (I know I did!), so the chance to compete at YOG can be an important stepping stone on the path to future Olympic success.”

The Youth Olympic programme is based on that of the Olympic Games, featuring 32 sports, but has an added element of a Culture and Education Program designed to educate young athletes on Olympism, responsibility, skills development, expression, well-being and healthy lifestyles.

In addition, the 2018 YOG will be the first Games with gender equality across all sports, and athletes will have the opportunity to compete in mixed gender relays and mixed international team events.

“The YOG program extends beyond the competition arena and offers a range of cultural and educational experiences, focusing on Olympism and its values. I am confident all our athletes will have an unforgettable experience in Buenos Aires,” Halls said.

The Buenos Aires 2018 YOG will run 6-18 October.

Selected athletes for Buenos Aires 2018
Zecily Fung (16), Sydney, NSW

Basketball 3x3
Suzi-Rose Deegan (17), Perth, WA
Alexandra Fowler (16), Townsville, QLD
Ruby Porter (16,) Adelaide, SA
Sara-Rose Smith (16), Melbourne, VIC

Madeline Sinderberry (17), Condoblin, NSW

Robert Ciccarelli (16), Mt Vernon, NSW
Giorgia Salmas (16), Melbourne, VIC

Georgia Thompson

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