17-year-old Rihari Iki has been named to represent New Zealand in judo at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Iki was born in Tauranga but is now based in Perth and this year won the age group National Judo Championships in both New Zealand and Australia. Iki is ranked 8th in the world in his age bracket and will compete in the men’s U81kg Judo event at Buenos Aires 2018.
The young athlete has been competing all over the world as he worked towards selection.
“Throughout the year I’ve trained in Japan and competed in Hong Kong, Macau, Noumea and Australia to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games,” said Iki.
“I love the comradery, discipline, physical and mental challenges that come with judo and I’m hoping to get a lifetime of lessons from the Youth Olympic Games.” Above: Rihari Iki (in white)
Judo New Zealand National Technical Director Dave Browne says Iki has put in a lot of hard work to gain selection.
“Rihari has been targeting the right training opportunities and selecting the best tournaments to advance his young judo career.”
“He’s currently the New Zealand and Australian U81kg champion and reinforced his place as a top Oceania judo athlete by winning the Oceania Championships earlier this year. He’s targeting a medal at the Youth Olympic Games and is a great prospect.”
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 Iki.
“Well done to Rihari for gaining selection. All the best with the rest of your preparation ahead of what is going to be a fantastic Games full of spirited competition and learning opportunities.”
The Youth Olympic Games will run from October 6-18th in Buenos Aires, Argentina.