This week’s column comes to you from Kaunas, Lithuania, the host city for the 2017 International Children’s Games.
Actually, by the time you read this I will be back on home soil, but for the past week I have been in Kaunas supporting Team Lake Mac, the 12 swimmers and track and field athletes who represented our city at the Games. It’s been a hands-on job, too; the swim coach even had me marshalling our swimmers poolside and keeping track of their split times during races.
The Games were a fantastic event, with 1300 young athletes from 88 cities. The competition was of a very high standard and I am immensely proud of our athletes, many of whom rose to the occasion to post personal best performances. This is one of the great aspects of the International Children’s Games: by giving young athletes exposure to competition on an international stage, it really encourages them to lift to the next level.
We also had the excitement of a gold medal win by Kaitlyn Klein in the 800 metres. Kaitlyn powered home in the final lap to hold off a fast-finishing opponent and win by about 10 metres.
Our kids were wonderful ambassadors for Lake Macquarie and had a great time in the athletes’ village, mixing with other young people from across the world.
The closing ceremony fittingly brought the curtain down on an event celebrating youth, friendship, participation and diversity.