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Youth can draw on Olympic inspiration in Australia
Twickenham rower Maxie Scheske has not quite come to terms with her selection for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, overwhelmed by the opportunity to represent Great Britain on the world stage.
But the 19-year-old insists after months of torturous training she is ready to continue the legacy set by Britain’s rowers at the London 2012 Olympics at the Sydney International Regatta Centre later this month.
Scheske, who rows for Tideway Scullers, is part of a 120-strong British team that will compete against 1,700 athletes from 30 different nations across 17 sports at the Festival, which kicks off on January 16.
And, after witnessing Britain top the rowing medal table at London 2012 with nine, Scheske believes there is no better time than now to be in the sport as she gets set to compete in three events in Sydney.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I am going to Australia but I am so excited,” said Scheske.
“I heard about the event for the first time around spring in 2012 and since then I have been working towards it.
“The past few months have been really intense with training so it’s great that my efforts have been rewarded.
“I represented Britain at the Coupe de la Jeunesse, which is a European event, when I was younger and that was really cool and special, but I had always wanted to compete at world level, so it’s pretty exciting to get this opportunity.
“Especially after the London Olympics, it is a great time to be going to an event like this and I want to help continue the success Britain has had.”
Of Britain’s nine rowing medals at London 2012 four were gold with Kat Copeland and Sophie Hosking winning the first in the women’s lightweight double scull.
Scheske can relate to Copeland, who won gold and bronze at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2009, and is determined to follow in her footsteps in more ways than one.
“I have thought about the next Olympics in Rio and it is a long-term goal of mine so I will try my best to reach that,” she added.
“There are many hurdles to cross along the way, but I will keep going.
“I just want to get as many medals as possible in Australia and be the first across that line so we will see how it goes.”
* The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values. olympics.org.uk