Team GB will take 44 young stars of Olympic sport to the Baku 2019 European Olympic Festival (EYOF) later this month after the full squad was announced today.
Baku 2019 will see around 2,500 athletes from 48 European nations come together to compete across 10 Olympic sports from 21st-27th July.
Team GB’s athletes, who will all be aged 14-17 at the event, will compete in six of those sports; cycling (six athletes), gymnastics (six), judo (10), swimming (16), tennis (four) and wrestling (two). Athletics, basketball, handball and volleyball complete the sporting programme in Azerbaijan.
With many athletes already working on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as well as Paris 2024, EYOFs play an important role in the development of young British athletes and help them along the route to achieving their own Olympic dreams.
The Festivals provide crucial multi-sport event experience for young athletes, with over 40 athletes graduating from a summer EYOF with Team GB going on to compete at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 or Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The likes of Becky Adlington, Pete Kennaugh, Sally Conway and Nile Wilson all had their first taste of an Olympic-style event at an EYOF before winning an Olympic medal at senior level.
Baku is the 15th edition of the summer EYOF and Team GB have enjoyed a successful Games at each, with 10 medals won two years ago in Gyor, Hungary and at least 20 medals in each of the previous 13 Festivals.
Leading the Team GB delegation as Chef de Mission at Baku 2019 will be Elaine Skilton, who acted as Deputy Chef de Mission for Team GB at last year’s Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Speaking on the announcement for Baku 2019, Skilton said: “Wearing the Olympic rings for the first time and competing for your country is always a huge honour and I’m sure today is a proud moment for each of the 44 selected athletes and their families. Baku 2019 is set to be a great event and we have a very talented group of British athletes coming together to form Team GB for this Festival.
“European Youth Olympic Festivals are fantastic for the next generation of British Olympic sporting stars, providing an opportunity to compete internationally, experience the unique world of multi-sport events and be part of Team GB.
“The British Olympic Association is already underway with planning for Paris 2024 and no doubt a number of these athletes will already have their eyes set on those Games. Hopefully Baku 2019 can act as a great springboard for them as they develop and move through their sporting career towards the senior ranks of Olympic sport, and I wish every athlete the very best for the Festival ahead.”
Josh Charlton, cycling, said: “It feels incredible to be selected. I got the email about four weeks ago confirming it and I just started shaking. It’s difficult to describe the feeling knowing you’re going to represent your nation in front of the world.
“A podium in Baku would be a dream come true, especially in the time trial event where I’m strongest, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to grow and learn as a person and an athlete.
“It’s going to give me the experience of a multi-sport event and what to expect at an Olympics if I’m lucky enough to make it there one day. Our coach said the next big multi-sport event we could be part of might be the Olympics so that’s a pretty exciting and daunting thought.”
Tatum Keen, judo, said: “I’m really excited to fight in Baku. Judo is a big sport out there and the crowd and atmosphere in the stadium will be amazing. I’ve trained really hard for this and the experience is going to be great.
“I had an injury at the start of this year so it’s more of a relief to be selected after working hard to get fit and back in contention.
“People such as Sally Conway and the other senior athletes are a huge inspiration for me. To see what they’ve done at the Olympics having started with Team GB at events like this is really inspiring and hopefully I can follow in their footsteps.”
Raekwon Baptiste, aged 17, from Sutton Coldfield
Halle Hilton, 15, from Corringham
Sam Mostowfi, 17, from Maidstone
Ondine Achampong, 15, from Kings Langley
Luke Whitehouse, 17, from Halifax
Annie Young, 14, from Wymondham
Zoe Backstedt, aged 14, Pontyclun
Joshua Charlton, 16, from Durham
Millie Couzens, 15, from Bicester
Thomas Lord, 15, from Altringham
Imani Pereira-James, 14, from Glasgow
Finlay Pickering, 16, from Hull
Mae Bostock, aged 15, from Spennymoor
Tatum Keen, 17, from Bath
Isobel Kitchen, 16, from Halifax
Grace Griffith, 17, from Orpington
Daisy Gilroy, 16, from Cupar
Dougie Fleming, 16, from Linlithgow
Artur Patemian, 16, from Glasgow
Harry Zain-Prosser, 16, from Surbiton
Ethan Nairne, 17, from Weston-super-Mare
Ryan Rijksen-Salman, 17, from Stonehouse
Jemimah Berkeley, aged 15, from Robertsbridge
Freya Colbert, 15, from Grantham
Evelyn Davis, 15, from Bromley
Joseph Deighan, 15, from Cheshire
Caitlin Ebbage, 14, from Tonbridge
William Ellington, 16, from Beech
Mark Ford, 16, from Carluke
Sophie Freeman, 15, from Colchester
Pierce Greening, 15, from Cockermouth
Edward Mildred, 16, from Northampton
Katie Shanahan, 15, from Glasgow
Ellie Sibbald-Perkins, 15, from Birmingham
Nicholas Skelton, 16, from Abingdon
Tamryn van Selm, 15, from Orpington
Jacob Whittle, 14, from Derbyshire
Cameron Williams, 15, from Plymouth
Matilda Mutavdzic, aged 15, from Opoeteren, Belgium
Yujiro Onuma, 14, from Cambridge
Andrea Pineda, 15, from London
Matthew Rankin, 14, from Edinburgh
Lucy McGrath, aged 16, from Bolton
Harvey Ridings, 16, from Wigan