Published Tuesday 15 January 2013

Waikato triathlete Mikayla Nielsen has been named flag bearer for tomorrow’s Opening Ceremony for the 6th Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.

The 18-year-old from Tamahere has had a rapid rise in the world of triathlon since first trying her hand at the endurance event in 2009, including winning the Junior World Triathlon title in 2011 (under 19) - while still having two years’ remaining in the competition age category.

She was also the 2011 and 2012 Junior Elite Oceania Champion and the 2011 Junior Elite Sprint World Champion.

Chef de Mission Chris Arthur said Mikayla was chosen for her exceptional work ethic and embodies what the festival is all about. “This festival’s slogan is ‘seeing tomorrow’s Olympians today’ and Mikayla’s results so far make her one to watch for the future.”

Mikayla said she will carry the flag with pride. “This is my first time competing in an Olympic-style event so it’s such a privilege to be given this honour.”

“I can’t wait to compete on Friday and see it as a stepping stone towards my goal of competing at the next Olympics in Rio.”

Mikayla was chosen by members of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, led by Chef de Mission Chris Arthur.

The flag bearer announcement took place at a team function in Sydney, which also included the presentation of a team pendant, an official photo and a BBQ lunch.