Olympic fes­ti­val calls teen rower

Central Leader - - NEWS - By RACHEL STURGES

It was a bit­ter­sweet moment for Mt Eden teenager Lucy Jonas when she heard she was on the row­ing squad to com­pete at the bi­en­nial Aus­tralian Youth Olympic Fes­ti­val in Syd­ney this week.

Lucy did not ex­pect to be called up but an­other rower was in­jured in train­ing.

The five-day mul­ti­sport fes­ti­val hosted by the Aus­tralian Olympic Com­mit­tee be­gan on Wed­nes­day. It’s in­tended to give young elite ath­letes an Olympic-like ex­pe­ri­ence.

More than 1700 ath­letes from 30 coun­tries will be com­pet­ing in 17 sports over five days.

Mum Tracey Baird says her daugh­ter ‘‘was ex­cited and ner­vous and shocked’’.

‘‘But she had also been train­ing with that girl for a week and she had a lot of sym­pa­thy for her.’’

The New Zealand team of 166 ath­letes is the third largest af­ter Aus­tralia and China and as well as row­ing will be com­pet­ing in sports in­clud­ing ath­let­ics, triathlon, ca­noe/kayak sprint and slalom, and swim­ming.

The Ep­som Girls Gram­mar School year 13 stu­dent started row­ing for the school in year 9 and re­cently won a gold medal rep­re­sent­ing Auck­land in Queens­land.

Ms Baird says the fam­ily is ‘‘really proud’’ of their daugh­ter.

‘‘She’s very young to be in that sit­u­a­tion and it’s go­ing to be a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s all a bit daunt­ing.’’

Lucy is stay­ing in an ath­letes vil­lage, at­tend­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony and com­pet­ing on the Olympic row­ing course.

‘‘Prob­a­bly as close a case to the ac­tual Olympics as she can get,’’ Ms Baird says.

New Zealand Row­ing high per­for­mance man­ager Ju­dith Hamil­ton is in charge of the young row­ing squad in Syd­ney. She says the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of row­ing at grass­roots level has meant that they have more ath­letes to se­lect from.

‘‘It raises the stan­dard. I guess that’s a really good place to be, they’re coming in at a slightly higher level than they oth­er­wise would have,’’ she says.

She says it was fan­tas­tic that Lucy was ‘‘ready and able’’ to join the squad at such short no­tice.

‘‘She fit­ted in really well. It’s great.’’

Ms Baird says Lucy’s achieve­ments in row­ing at a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level are not only due to her own hard work and ded­i­ca­tion but to the row­ing coaches at Ep­som Girls Gram­mar School.

‘‘It’s the club and the coaches who have got her where she is.

‘‘They are fan­tas­tic coaches and the sup­port they’ve given her, that’s what really got her there.’’

Aussie bound: Lucy Jonas is com­pet­ing in New Zealand’s row­ing squad at the bi­en­nial Aus­tralian Youth Olympic Fes­ti­val in Syd­ney this week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.