Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

U18 wāhine sevens set for Youth Olympics

By Regan Paranihi

The Under 18 women’s sevens squad has qualified for The Youth Olympic Games following their win at Oceania Under 18 Sevens Championships earlier this year.

New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith is delighted the new generation of rugby sevens players will have the opportunity to partake in the tournament as it is a pathway to the Commonwealth and Olympic games.

“We're excited about the sporting, educational and cultural opportunities the Youth Olympic Games provide and welcome the players to the New Zealand Team," says Smith.

New Zealand Chief of Rugby, Nigel Cass, says he is excited to be a part of the games for the first time.

“The Youth Olympic Games is a fantastic opportunity for our young players to continue to be inspired to play sevens and perform on the world stage.”

He says it was an extensive process to find the group of talented athletes.

"These players are the future of the women's game and we can't wait to see them don the black jersey in Argentina later this year."

Head coach Victoria Grant, former Black Fern captain, praised her team's discipline.

"As a group, we worked incredibly hard in the lead up to the Oceania event and that showed with the on-field performance. To get the confirmation that our team would be included as part of the New Zealand team for the Youth Olympics was incredible.”

She says it was hard selecting twelve from her squad of twenty but is confident they have a team who will give it their best shot for the gold medal.

"We are confident that we have a team that will push hard for a gold medal.  Risi and Jazmin are involved with the Black Ferns Sevens team so bring a real level of experience and professionalism to the squad."

The Youth Olympic Games are a multi-sport event that provides opportunities for athletes aged 15 to 18 to experience an Olympic-style environment.

The games are also designed to support athletes as they prepare for a future in elite sport, providing them with access to Olympic role models, education programmes, and cultural experiences.

The third edition of the summer Youth Olympic Games will take place in Buenos Aires October 6th-18th, 2018, and a team of approximately 70 athletes will represent New Zealand.

The team is;

Tiana Davison              Sacred Heart College    (Taranaki)

Dhys Faleafaga            St Mary's College             (Wellington)

Tynealle Fitzgerald       Rangiruru Rugby Club   (Bay of Plenty)

Iritana Hohaia               Opunake High School (       Taranaki)

Jazmin Hotham            Hamilton Girls' High School  (Waikato)

Riscshay Lemanu        Papatoetoe High School        Auckland

Azalleyah Maaka         Gisborne Girls' High School   Poverty Bay

Risaleaana Pouri-Lane    Motueka High School           Tasman

Montessa Tairakena    Hamilton Girls' High School  Waikato

Kalyn Takitimu-Cook   Manukura                              Manawatu

Arorangi Tauranga       Hamilton Girls' High School  Waikato

Hinemoa Watene         Howick College                      Auckland