Hockey players off to Singapore
THREE local students will step away from their desks and into the international hockey limelight at the 2010 inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore next week.
The trio will compete against the best young international teams from Belgium, Chile, Ghana, Pakistan and Singapore, all hoping for Youth Olympics gold.
Andrew Butturini and Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah) and Jake Farrell (Ballina) are part of the squad of 16 hoping to keep Australia at the top of international men’s hockey.
Hockey at the top level can be a rite of passage, with family competing in the sport at national and international level.
Butturini has that rite of passage; his brother, Matthew, plays for the Kookaburras.
“As my role model, he’s the first person I rang; I knew he would be excited for me,” the 17-year-old said. “For me, this seems like a natural progression.”
Butturini, from Murwillumbah, is one of three in the team representing Tweed Border Hockey, alongside Jake and Dylan.
Australia will face some tough competition from Belgium and Pakistan at the Games.
But they are not discounting the more unknown teams – Chile, Ghana and Singapore.
“We’re going there to win,” coach Paul Gaudoin said. “We have a really high standard of players and it’s an exciting and promising group. That said, we will have our work cut out for us.”
Women’s handball will be Australia’s only female team sport at the Games.
Australia is sending the maximum team size of 100 athletes comprising 70 from individual sports and 30 from team sports.