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A golden opportunity for Canada at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games

With golf making its return to the Summer Olympics all eyes may be looking ahead to 2016. However, there’s one stop on the road to Rio that’s worthy of notice first: the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Scheduled for August 16-28 in Nanjing, China, the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is an international multi-sport event conducted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for athletes age 14-18. The 2014 edition will be the second-ever summer youth games; the inaugural event was hosted by Singapore in 2010. For the first time, golf will be among the 28 sports featured at the Youth Games. The top 26 countries on the world rankings will each select a male and female athlete to compete over an individual stroke play event as well as a mixed team competition. With the World Amateur Rankings used to determine which countries will compete, Canada is assured of fielding a team.

The Youth Games, along with the recent Toyota Junior World Cup in Japan and the inaugural World Junior Girls’ Golf Championship to be held in Ontario later this summer, provides an opportunity to benchmark the strength of Canada’s golf development program.

“These international events give us a strong indication where Canada stands on the world stage,” says Thompson. “Our boys have performed well at the Junior World Cup over the past few years and we’re excited that the girls now have their own world championship event. We expect them to perform well.”

The objective of the IOC in holding Youth Olympics is more than just conducting a sporting competition for elite young athletes. Its goal is to create a cultural experience and emphasize the power of sport to nurture positive attributes and develop good young citizens.

More than 100 youth from all walks of life have been selected as Young Ambassadors for the Games. As well as promoting the YOG and the Olympic values in their own countries, the role of the Young Ambassadors will be to help the athletes on their national teams get the most out of their YOG experience. They will encourage them to interact with people from different sports and backgrounds, to soak up new cultures and to take part in a unique program of activities and workshops, featuring sessions on healthy eating, injury prevention, anti-doping, careers in sport and media training. The lessons learned will equip the athletes with the sports skills to perform to the best of their ability on the field of play, and the life skills to be true ambassadors of their sport off the field of play, inspiring young people in their communities to get active and embrace the Olympic values. Although many of Canada’s top junior golfers have had the opportunity to compete internationally through Golf Canada’s national team program, the Youth Olympic Games will be an experience unlike any other.

“This is a significantly different competition in that it is a multi-sport games,” says Thompson. “Our team members will stay in an athletes’ village and have the opportunity to live and interact with competitors from all the other sports. They will participate in a number of cultural and educational events and, since they will be in Nanjing for up to 10 days, will really have the chance to soak in the Games atmosphere and enjoy the experience. We feel it will be a great opportunity for our young top-level golfers. One or more of these athletes could potentially be future Olympians.”

nanjing2014.org

TEAM CANADA SELECTION PROCESS

a. 1 spot per gender per country (1 male and 1 female athlete will be selected for Canada).

b. To be eligible for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, athletes must have been born between January 1st 1996, and December 1st, 1998.

c. Athletes must be members in good standing with Golf Canada.

d. Must be a Canadian Citizen and hold a Canadian passport.

e. Athletes must sign and submit the COC Athlete Agreement and Eligibility Conditions no later than June 10, 2014.

f. Have a valid Canadian passport that does not expire on or before December 31, 2014

SELECTION INFORMATION – BOYS

a. Head-to-head results at national championships and other significant tournaments over the past 12 months ( June 1st 2013-June 1st 2014) in the following order of importance: Canadian national championships, USGA events; CN Future Links Championships, AJGA invitational events; Provincial championships; Other events such as Callaway Jr. Worlds, Jr. Orange Bowl and AJGA Open events.

b. Analysis of the golf rankings as of June 1st, 2014 using points accumulated over the past 12 months ( June 1st, 2013 – June 1st, 2014) in the following order of importance: 1. National Junior Boys Order of Merit; 2.National Men’s Amateur Order of Merit.

SELECTION INFORMATION – GIRLS

a. Head-to-head results at national championships and other signifi cant tournaments over the past 12 months ( June 1st 2013-June 1st 2014) in the following order of importance: Canadian national championships, USGA events; CN Future Links Championships, AJGA invitational events; Provincial championships; Other events such as Callaway Jr. Worlds, Jr. Orange Bowl and AJGA Open events

b. Analysis of the golf rankings as of June 1st, 2014 using points accumulated over the past 12 months ( June 1st, 2013 – June 1st, 2014) in the following order of importance: 1. National Junior Girls Order of Merit; 2. National Women’s Amateur Order of Merit.

For more information on the selection process contact Golf Canada’s Jeff Thompson at jthompson@golfcanada.ca.

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