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Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Sunday, 18 January 2009

GB youth secure Olympic success

Matt Rossiter
Matt Rossiter claimed three golds in rowing for Team GB

Britain's young athletes have picked up where the Olympic seniors left off by winning a huge medal haul at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

Team GB finished the event in Sydney with an outstanding total of 68 medals - 26 gold, 16 silver and 26 bronze.

Matt Rossiter claimed three golds with fellow rowers Lottie Howard-Merrill and Jo Fitzsimons winning two each.

Golds were also won in fencing, rowing, shooting, archery, canoeing, hockey, gymnastics, triathlon and equestrian.

It was only the second time Team GB had been invited to compete in the AYOF and their achievements represented a significant improvement on their fine 2007 haul of 48 medals - 14 gold, 20 silver, 14 bronze.

Rossiter won his three golds in the men's pair, four and eight events, while Howard-Merrill and Fitzsimons won the women's pair and four as the team dominated on the Penrith Regatta course where Sir Steve Redgrave won his fifth Olympic gold in 2000.

Mark Nesbitt was also a double gold medallist in archery for the men's individual and team events.

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The largest haul of medals came in gymnastics where the men were in superb form with golds in, amongst others, the team event and from Ashley Watson in the individual all around and parallel bars.

Team GB also dominated the fencing, claiming gold in the men's and women's team and individual events, with Elisa Albini and Ben White taking the top medal in each.

In addition, Ed Rutherford (men's K1 500m flatwater canoeing), Rhys Davies and Matthew Lister (men's C2 slalom canoeing), James Huckle (men's 10m air rifle shooting), Rory McAlpine (men's 50m prone rifle shooting), Hannah Polak (women's 25m pistol shooting) and Jonathan Brownlee (men's individual triathlon) all took gold.

Eight athletes from Team GB's 2007 squad competed for Great Britain at last year's Beijing Olympics, including diver Tom Daley, and the class of 2009 will be hoping to follow a similar path ahead of London 2012.

"Some of these athletes will make the transition to the senior ranks in their sport quite quickly," said Team GB chef de mission Mark England.

"For others the journey will be more measured, but when you look at these performances the future is extremely bright, which means we're in good shape for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games."



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see also
2012 hopefuls eye Sydney success
14 Jan 09 |  Olympics
2012 hopefuls blog from Sydney
19 Dec 08 |  Olympics
Olympic hopefuls deliver success
30 Jul 07 |  Olympics 2012
Young Olympians boost 2012 hopes
23 Jan 07 |  Olympics 2012
GB rowers top Sydney medal table
21 Jan 07 |  Olympics 2012
China's sprint to sporting gold
19 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Australian youth Olympics opens
17 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific


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