On July 8th, thirteen of WA’s best junior track and field athletes will travel to Shanghai, China for the 2016 Friendship Games. While there they will take part in a week of training, competition and cultural activities.
The WA athletes will enjoy six-days of training at the NO.2 Sports School of Shanghai, the same place the Chinese national Athletics team’s trained at before the Beijing Olympics. Alongside them will be a talented group of junior Chinese athletes who will also compete against the WA team at two athletic meets.
Among the group travelling to China will be dual 2016 Australian Junior Champion Luke Graves (UWA), whose performance in the 2015/16 season saw him just miss out on his first Australian selection in the team heading to the IAAF World Junior Championship in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
‘It will be good to see how I compare to guys from a different country, it’s pretty exciting to just go run overseas. I’m aiming to go out and try for a new personal best, but Shanghai will just be a great experience. It will also be nice to experience some warm weather again.’ Luke Graves said.
Also in the team will be Athletics Australia U17 development squad members Caitlin Blackman (Melville) and Lara Ilievski (Melville) who also enjoyed a productive 2015/16 season with both athletes collecting silver at the recent Junior Championships. In total, the athletes in the Friendship Games team collected 12 medals at the Junior Championships and 18 top ten placings.
For most of the athletes heading to Shanghai, the Friendship Games will represent their first international competition and their first chance to experience athletics outside of Australia.
‘This trip represents an important part of the athletes development as they work towards national representation. The Friendship Games is a great vehicle to help bridge the gap from national to international competitions and I feel confident these athletes will learn a lot.’ Mel Tantrum the Athletics WA High Performance Manager, said.
The 2016 team will be the second to visit Shanghai as part of the Friendship Games and will be joined by a 21- athlete squad from Basketball WA.
Athletics WA would like to wish the athletes all the best on the trip.
Athletics WA’s 2016 Friendship Games Squad
John Ackermann (UWA)
Caitlin Blackman (Melville)
Luke Graves (UWA)
Sarah Hynes (UWA)
Lara Ilievski (Melville)
Sarah Knox (UWA)
Bree Liddell (North Beach)
Jack Stanton (UWA)
Imogen Taylor (Melville)
Thomas Throssell (UWA)
Tylah van Diemen (Bunbury)
Cooper Walawski (UWA)
Jade Whyte (Athletics WA)
Albert Cianfrini (Coach - Field)
Suzi Graves (Coach - Track)
David Smith (Manager)