Valentina Ivanov has been named as the first ever New Zealand tennis athlete to compete at the Youth Olympic Games.
The 17-year-old holds eight age group national titles across New Zealand and Australia and will compete in the singles, mixed doubles and doubles events at Buenos Aires 2018.
Ivanov was born in Christchurch but is now based in Sydney. The young athlete got into tennis through her parents and has represented New Zealand at three Junior Fed Cups.
“I’m extremely excited to be heading to the Youth Olympic Games and can’t wait to play for my country over there. I know the tennis level will be the best you can get and I’m really looking forward to experiencing it and giving it my all,” said Ivanov.
Tennis New Zealand High Performance Director Simon Rea says the selection is a significant achievement for Ivanov.
“Tennis New Zealand is thrilled for Valentina, particularly given the significant injuries she has suffered in recent years.
“Valentina has been the highest-ranked New Zealand female junior for an extended period and this opportunity will be one that she’ll treasure. The quality of the field looks very impressive and so Val will need to perform strongly."
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 Ivanov.
“Congratulations to Valentina for gaining selection. We’re very pleased to have a tennis player representing New Zealand for the first time at the Youth Olympic Games and wish you all the best. Enjoy the exiting times ahead.”
The Youth Olympic Games will run from October 6-18th in Buenos Aires, Argentina.Buenos Aires 2018 Olympic Summer Youth Games