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Anthony • 15 mins
With former participants including Ian Thorpe, Patty Mills, Cathy Freeman, Nova Peris and Cyril Rioli history suggests that Australia’s future sporting stars will be competing at the 2017 Pacific School Games.
The list of students that have gone on from their Games experience to become sporting stars is a long one that also features swimmers Kyle Chalmers and Emma McKeon along with track star Jana Pittman and former Diamonds captain Laura Geitz.
The biggest multi-sport school competition for Australian and international students officially starts on Sunday in the city of Adelaide with the opening ceremony for the 10th edition of the Games.
More than 4000 students participating in the event to be staged from 3 – 9 December will march in front of volunteers, supporters and officials at the Adelaide Showgrounds in the late afternoon.
Some of those competing already have well known surnames including former AFL player Winston Abraham’s son Gary, who is a talented golfer and four-time Olympic hockey player Michael York’s children Edward and Phoebe.
Another elite athlete who competed at Pacific School Games as a child was former AFL star Anthony Koutoufides.
“I do remember Pacific School Games, because it was at Olympic Park here in Melbourne,” Koutoufides said of his experience in winning gold in the high jump.
“I just remember all the different countries and we had badges and we’d go and swap them with all the other kids, it was one of the greatest experiences for me who was only in grade six.”
Golf will make its first appearance at the Games, which is one of the three sports along with basketball and netball that will feature teams made up of talented indigenous kids representing First Nation.
Undoubtedly, there will be a number of students competing at these Games that will later represent Australia at an Olympic Games or at the elite level of their sport, but not necessarily the one they will compete in next week as was the case with junior track talent turned rugby sevens Olympic champion Ellia Green.
“Really, I just remember it being a super exciting competition to compete in, as it was the closest international sport experience I could get as a kid growing up,” Green said of her Pacific School Games experience.
“Those in it for the first time enjoy the experience because it’s an amazing competition to be a part of and give it your all.”
The Opening Ceremony will be attended by a group of Games ambassadors headed by Olympic duo and former Games participants Jess Trengove and Madi Wilson.
Trengove, the 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist who lives and trains in Adelaide will be on-hand during the Games alongside Olympic gold and silver medal-winning swimmer Wilson.
A partnership with the Australian Olympic Committee will give students direct access to the ambassadors as part of the Games’ Educational Program, where each student must attend an educational excursion during the week of competition.
“The learnings from my School Sport Australia and Pacific School Games experiences formed an important platform and helped pave the way towards achieving my Olympic dream,” Trengove said.
“I really encourage athletes to get the most out of themselves in this sporting competition, but first and foremost to enjoy it.”
AOC president John Coates explained that the education program is to utilise Olympic athletes to act as role models for the Olympic movement, with the Pacific School Games presenting a fantastic opportunity to do this.
“The Australian Olympic Committee is honoured to be involved in the Pacific School Games in 2017 – a competition I’m sure will showcase Australia’s best junior sporting talent,” Coates said.
“In the fields of sport and education I am sure our ambassadors will encourage young athletes to act in the spirit of the Olympic Games, both in sport and in life.”
The Pacific School Games will run from 3-9 December delivering a sporting, educational, cultural, social and life-long experience to more than 4,000 school-aged students who will compete across 11 sports.
Supporters Passes to the Games are available for purchase which include entry to all sports and functions, along with discounted offers at selected eateries throughout the city.
Travelling via public transport will be free with the Supporters Pass that will also provide access to the Opening Ceremony and Games Village.
The 10th Pacific School Games are proudly supported by the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia.