Twelve young judokas will travel to the Netherlands for the Team GB 12th European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) inspired by Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant who fought their way to silver and bronze respectively at London 2012.
The British Olympic Association (BOA), the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland has announced the athletes selected to represent Team GB in Utrecht, Netherlands, from 14 to 19 July.
The team includes Enrico Atkinson from Tonbridge Tunbridge Wells, Jodie Caller from Northampton, Sarah Hill from Chichester.John Jayne from London, Peter Miles from Bristol, Jamal Petgrave from Mitcham Carshalton, Lubjana Piovesana from Birmingham, Abbi Blackie from Melrose Galashiels, Michelle Boyle from Carluke and Stuart McWatt and Valentino Volante from Edinburgh.
The team have just returned from Estonia with a haul of three bronze medals from the European Cadets Championships and the team’s oldest representative, Michelle Boyle from Carluke in Scotland qualifies to compete in Utrecht by just five days.
The race to Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games is already a year old and may prove a bridge too far for most of Team GB’s young athletes, but the EYOF will play a vital role in helping them along the road towards achieving their Olympic dreams, according to Matt Divall England Performance Manager for British Judo. He said: “All our competitors have just come back from the European Cadets Championships in Estonia where we were successful in winning three bronze medals. We’ve also had success in the European Cadets Cup this year which shows the more experience our juniors can have competing against the best in Europe, the more our results improve.”
Scottish athlete Stuart McWatt a GB judoka based in Edinburgh added: “It’s a fantastic feeling to be selected for Team GB; I haven’t stopped smiling since I heard. I think it’s going to be brilliant competing in Utrecht surrounded by so many other young athletes; you don’t experience that when it’s just a judo competition. I used to do gymnastics when I was younger so it will be nice to meet our gymnasts and all do our best for Team GB.”
Meanwhile, Jodie Caller a GB Judoka from Northampton also selected for the event, said: “I went to London to watch the Olympics last year and I’ve never experienced anything like it, so to get the chance to compete in an Olympic Festival myself is amazing. I went to the European Champs in 2012 and I just won a bronze in this year’s competition. This will be my first time at an international multi-sport event. I’m really looking forward to meeting all the other people from the different sports.”