November 7, 2017

Vy Bui playing for Australia at the 2014 Nanjin Youth Olympic Games. (Photo: ITTF World)

For the athletes heading to Bendigo for the ITTF-Oceania Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament, they are about to have a once in a lifetime experience.

This will be their one and only shot at playing at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). The age restrictions ensure that you will only get to step up to the plate once. Take a swing, and if you miss you’ve struck out.

There are no second chances. No pressure…

YOG’s vision is to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and encourage them to adopt and live by the Olympic values. The first YOG were held in Singapore in 2010 and eight years on has become a landmark event for junior athletes around the world in nearly every sport.

Buenos Aires, Argentina will be the host this time around. Seven boys and six girls from Oceania are left in the running for a place on the plane to the games. Athletes from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea will be making their way to Bendigo, Victoria for the event. Australia’s Benjamin Gould and Matilda Alexandersson head the seedings in the Boys’ and Girls’ Singles respectively. But with two days of competition in store, anything can happen.

It may be a once in a lifetime event, but for those that miss out, they shouldn’t mourn too long. They have a lifetime of Olympics to aim for.