New Zealand's sporting stars of the future have converged on Hamilton for a weekend of action-packed events as the New Zealand Youth Games officially started last night.
Competition began on Thursday, but last night's opening ceremony at the Games Village at Claudelands Arena brought all the athletes together in a ceremonial parade, which was attended by some several Olympians and featured musical entertainment from local Rockquest winners.
Olympic ambassador and gold medallist Nathan Cohen, who spoke at the ceremony, encouraged students to enjoy their sport.
"The final results are the tip of the iceberg," he said.
"It's the hard work that goes into training that gets you across the line and tells you you've done everything possible to achieve the best result possible.
"Be the best you can be. Enjoy your sport and the friendships that you make along the way. Celebrate sport for what it is."
The Youth Games is New Zealand's largest youth sporting event, featuring about 1800 athletes.
The sports on show are volleyball, beach volleyball, boxing, BMX, clay target shooting, squash, fencing. boccia, wrestling, inline hockey, athletics, taekwondo, and wheelchair basketball. The disciplines are hosted at various city locations.
The athletes are all under 19, but one to watch for will be Fairfield Intermediate School's Anika Jackson, who is the youngest competitor, at just 11. She will compete in the under-17 squash competition.
The event ends tomorrow afternoon.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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