Minister for Sport Kate Lundy tonight wished competitors the best of luck as the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) started with a dazzling opening ceremony at the Sydney Entertainment Centre tonight.
Speaking at the ceremony Senator Lundy said the evening was a fantastic start to the sixth festival, with about 1600 elite athletes from 30 nations participating.
“The Australian Youth Olympic Festival aims to give young competitors an Olympics-like experience, giving them a taste of what to expect over the international five-day event,” Senator Lundy said.
“The opening ceremony showcased about 1100 young performers and all of the symbolism that goes with an Olympic Games opening ceremony, including a parade of athletes, a flag bearers’ march, a festival oath by athletes, an Olympic flag raising, cauldron lighting, and a spectacular presentation of music, song and dance.
“The festival aims to inspire young elite athletes to become future Olympians as Australia prepares for the Rio Games and beyond.”
Senator Lundy said she looked forward to seeing many of the competitors join past festival stars including Anna Meares, Jessica Fox, Sally Pearson and Matthew Mitcham as future Olympic medal winners for Australia.
The festival is being hosted by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and features 17 sports/disciplines, including athletics, badminton, basketball, canoe/kayak (slalom and sprint), cycling, diving, golf, gymnastics (artistic), hockey, judo, rowing, rugby sevens, shooting, swimming, triathlon, weightlifting, and wrestling.
For more information about the festival, visit ayof2013.olympics.com.au