Commonwealth Youth Games discus champion Connor Bell heads a team of five athletes named to compete at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Bell will be joined by distance runners Hannah O’Connor (3000m, cross country) and Murdoch McIntyre (2000m Steeplechase, cross country) as well as Kayla Goodwin (triple jump) and Dominic Overend (200m). The athletes obtained qualification at the Micronesian Championships in Vanuatu in early May which doubled as the Youth Olympic Games qualification event.
Bell claimed Gold at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. The 17-year-old from Auckland currently holds the national discus records for U19, U18 and U17, and is the national champion in both the U18 and U20 grades. Bell threw an impressive 64.47m to win in Vanuatu and is currently ranked second in the world for under-18 athletes.
Dominic Overend won the 200m in Vanuatu in a personal best 21.57s to secure his spot for Buenos Aires. Following surgery in April 2017 the 16-year-old Aucklander has been steadily improving and has climbed his way to 25th in the world for the U18 200m.
“It’s really exciting, this will be the first time I have represented New Zealand in a multi-games environment,” said Overend.
“I’ve done a lot of work for this, it’s been a personal goal to make the team and it’s going to be a real privilege to wear the silver fern”, he added.
Above: Dominic Overend
Taranaki Teen Hannah O’Connor has been selected for the 3000m following her second place at the Micronesian championships.
The 17-year-old recently won her fourth consecutive NZ Secondary Schools cross country title as well as claiming the win at the 2018 North Island Cross Country Champs U18 and U20. O’Connor placed 2nd in the 3000m in Vanuatu and also represented New Zealand at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Murdoch McIntyre was runner-up in the 2000m Steeplechase in Vanuatu, running a personal best of 6:10.23. The Aucklander was also 2nd at the North Island Cross Country Championships and the NZ Cross Country Championships in the U18 grade.
Triple jumper Kayla Goodwin set a New Zealand U17 Triple Jump record of 12.62m to win the Micronesian title. A versatile athlete, Goodwin is the current New Zealand U18 champion in the 100m hurdles, long jump, triple jump and heptathlon as well as the U20 champion for triple jump.
The 17-year-old Hamilton athlete competed in the long jump and 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.
“It’s great to get the news that I will definitely be going and that I now have something to really focus on”, said Goodwin.
“I was at the Commonwealth Youth Games last year and I’m excited to be going to another Multisport event. It will be insane”, she added.
The 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be the third summer youth Games, following those in Singapore in 2010 and Nanjing in 2014.
The Games are a pre-elite development opportunity for the world's most promising young athletes, allowing them to experience a multi-sport games environment while exposing them to learning and cultural opportunities and helping them on the performance pathway.
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith passed on her congratulations to the athletes.
“It’s fantastic to welcome back three athletes from the successful Bahamas campaign last year.”
“We’re excited to see all of these athletes take on the world’s most promising young athletes in October and we wish them all the best with the rest of their preparation.”
The Youth Olympic Games will run from October 6-18th in Buenos Aires, Argentina.Buenos Aires 2018 Olympic Summer Youth Games