Some of New Zealands top young athletes are set to get their first taste of Olympic-style competition as the New Zealand team to the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) is finalised today. The team of 156 elite junior athletes will represent New Zealand in athletics, three on three basketball, badminton, canoe/kayak, cycling, diving, golf, swimming, gymnastics, shooting, triathlon, rowing, weightlifting, wrestling and Pitting their skills against 1700 athletes from 30 nations, the athletes will follow in the footsteps of Olympians Lisa Carrington (K1-200 gold, London 2012), Blair Tuke and Peter Burling (sailing 49er, silver, London 2012) who began their careers at the AYOF. With teams from the US, UK, Canada, China, Japan and Brazil the level of competition will be high. New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Kereyn Smith said the experience was an important step in an athletes Olympic pathway. The Olympic Games are incredibly complex and quite different from a World Championships. We support events like the AYOF so they will help our athletes, and their sports, learn more about what it means to be part of a multi-sport event. The athletes will be better prepared for their futures. Village-living alongside athletes from different codes and nationalities will be part of the experience for the young athletes. Experienced Olympic campaigners Moss Burmester (swimming) and Nathan Twaddle (rowing) will be on hand to guide the athletes. Theyll be joined by Katie calder (cross skiing), Dave Schaper (rowing) and a team of more than 50 coaches, medics and other support staff. AYOF competition is for athletes aged between13 and 19 years. The festival takes place in Sydney January 16 20 2013. ABOUT AYOF The Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) was initiated by the Australian Olympic Committee following the success of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The inaugural Festival was held in January 2001 and takes place every four years, alternating with the IOC-run Youth Olympic Games. The AYOF is held under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. For more information please contact: Ashley Abbott Communications Manager
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