Australia have once again placed themselves on the front foot for Olympic preparation by naming a squad of 22 women for the Youth Olympics
Australian Rugby Union today announced a training squad of 22 young women in preparation for next year's Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Five States and Territories are represented in the squad, with nine players from Queensland, seven from New South Wales and two each from Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT. The squad will attend a series of training camps at Narrabeen in preparation for the Games in August 2014, with the first camp getting underway at the end of January next year.
The girls were selected from the 2013 National Youth Girls' Sevens Championships which culminated in the final held on day one of the Gold Coast Sevens at Skilled Park on Saturday 13 October this year.
Several key talent who showcased their budding skills in the tournament have been named in the extended squad, including Final match try-scorers Akeisha Kelly and Jasmin Allende from NSW and Dominique Du Toit from Queensland.
The extended squad also features players who have represented the Qantas Women's Sevens team in previous IRB Women's Sevens World Series tournaments, including Brooke Anderson and Tiana Penitani, who earlier this year became Australia's youngest-ever Rugby World Cup representative at the age of 17, when she starred at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow.
The training camps will provide a great opportunity to hone their skills and join the Pathway to Gold, with the prospect of representing Australia at an Olympics.
Australia's Men's Rugby Sevens will compete in the next Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, while Australian Men's and Women's Rugby Sevens have the chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The Youth Olympics training camps form an important part of Australian Rugby's Pathway to Gold - a long-term high performance program managed by ARU to drive Rugby Sevens' success in the Olympic program.
Full-time Australian Rugby Union High Performance coaches and managers, including senior coaching staff, will coordinate the Women's Rugby Sevens squad camps for the Australian Youth Olympic Team.
The team will be reduced to a final Women's Rugby Sevens squad in early May when further preparation camps and pre-games training will continue in July and August ahead of the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games from 16 - 28 August, 2014.
Rugby Sevens made its Olympic debut at The Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January this year at Sydney's St Ignatius College, where Australia's Women's squad won gold, while the Men took home the silver medal.