Alpine skier Max Baggio (Harpenden) was selected to carry the Union Flag at today’s Opening Ceremony at the 11th edition of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF), which began Sunday 18th February, at the Arena Ion Tiriac, Braşov, Romania.
The British National U16 Champion said:
“It was pretty awesome to be selected as flag bearer for Team GB, especially as it was voted for by all of the athletes representing Team GB in Braşov. I’ve never had an opportunity like this before and I’m not really sure what to expect but I am really excited. Not many people have the chance to be a flag bearer so I am really honoured.”
Team Ambassador and Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams said:
“To be selected as the flag bearer for your nation is a very special thing, especially when it is your peers that have voted for you.I am sure Max will lead the team into the stadium with pride, his achievements to date make him a fantastic choice as Team GB flag bearer. It’s an honour to lead your team out at the Opening Ceremony, and hopefully kick start what will be a fantastic week for Team GB.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge, who is the founder of the EYOWF, addressed the packed arena and welcomed the young athletes to the festival along with Patrick Hickey, President of the EOC, who also addressed the audience.
After the official ceremony including the lighting of the Olympic Flame, the athletes got a taste of what an Opening Ceremony would be like at an Olympic Winter Games when they were treated to an energetic steel drum act, freestyle skiers and snow boarders before Romanian singer Inna closed the show.
Short Track Speed Skaters have Solid Start to Day One of EYOWF
Team GB took to the ice for the start of the EYOWF competition for day one of the short track speed skating.
In the junior ladies' competition both Mari Deland (Nottingham) and Kathryn Thomson (Nottingham) eased through their heats to progress to the semi finals. Deland recorded a second place finish to progress to the A final in a race which saw three skaters crash half way through. Teammate Thomson did not progress through to the final.
In the final, with eight skaters competing, Deland took to the front of the pack in a bid to control the pace but unfortunately struggled towards the end of a very competitive race and placed sixth with a time of 2:35,652.
“I’m quite happy with my performance today; I prefer the longer distances. I was a little bit nervous in the final. I knew that it was going to be a faster and harder race so I tried to take control and lead at a reasonable speed, unfortunately I didn’t execute as planned and my legs got really sore really quick. It didn’t pay off today but I know I have learned from it. I’m looking forward to competing again tomorrow, it will be fun.”
Aydin Djemal (Epsom) and Jack Burrows (Nottingham) both finished sixth in their respective heats and did not qualify for the final.
With team tactics sorted and changeovers practiced the Team GB quartet were back on the ice in the afternoon for the mixed 3000m relay. They qualified fourth fastest for the semi finals which take place tomorrow, Monday 19th February.