Preston BMX rider Ross Cullen is heading to Youth Olympics

Ross Cullen
Ross Cullen
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Preston BMX ace Ross Cullen has been named in the great Britain squad for the Youth Olympics

The 17-year-old is a member of 42-athlete squad which will head to Buenos Aires, Argentina, next month.

Cullen is a member of Preston Pirates is a two-time world junior champion and has been earmarked as a future senior Olympian.

The Games, which run from the 6th – 18th October, will see Team GB compete in 17 of the 32 sports on the programme across 12 days of competition.

The team consists of athletes aged between 14 and 18 years old, with the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) playing a crucial role in the development of young athletes from the United Kingdom and across the world.

The Youth Olympic Games provides crucial multi-sport experience for aspiring Olympians and Team GB’s class of 2018 will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Tom Daley, Jade Jones and Duncan Scott who all went on to win medals at an Olympic Games having first competed at a YOG.

Buenos Aires 2018 is expected to welcome just under 4,000 of the world’s best young athletes from 206 nations for the third edition of the Games following Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014.

The Games will also make history through its commitment to gender equality by becoming the first Olympic event to host the same number of male and female athletes with 1,999 of each set to compete in Argentina.

On the programme for Buenos Aires 2018 are two of the new sports destined for Tokyo 2020, in sport climbing and karate, as well as a host of other new sports in hockey fives, beach handball, breakdancing, futsal and roller speed skating.

Joining the athletes in Argentina will be 62 Athlete Role Models (ARMs) whose presence as Olympians at the Games will be to support, advise and inspire the young athletes.

Mahdi Choudhury, Team GB’s Chef de Mission for Buenos Aires 2018 said: “Being selected to Team GB for a Youth Olympic Games is a fantastic achievement and our 42 young athletes should be hugely proud to be heading out to Argentina next month.

“Buenos Aires 2018 will offer a fantastic opportunity for our team to experience a multi-sport event for the first time and I’m sure it will act as a great springboard for their own senior Olympic dreams.

“Youth Olympic Games such as Buenos Aires offer the chance for young athletes to experience life in an Olympic Village, mix with competitors from different sports and nationalities, and are given the chance to grow as individuals as well as athletes.

“These events have helped shape the careers of Team GB Olympic stars such as Jade Jones and Tom Daley and we hope the same will be said for this group of young stars.”

Islay Watson, windsurfing, said: “It’s going to be an amazing experience and will be totally different to anything else I’ve done and I’m really looking forward to it. The Youth Olympics only comes round once every four years so to get picked to go is a real honour.

“It’s been a pretty mad year for me – I’ve done so many events but somehow everything has fallen into place, and the Youth Olympics is the icing on the cake. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to round off the year.

“It’s going to be a much bigger event than anything I’ve ever done before. Because I won the Youth World Championships this year I think I will have a bit of a target on my back, but it’s going to totally depend on the conditions. It’s hard to call, it could be anyone’s win.”

Chris Grimley, badminton, said: “I’ve been trying to qualify for a while so to finally do it and be selected is a big relief and great news. It’ll be the biggest event I’ve ever competed at and I’m looking forward to challenging myself against the best players in the world. It’ll be tough but a great experience.

“It’s every athlete’s dream to compete for Team GB at an Olympic event and I’m really proud that I’ll be able to do that in Argentina. I’m looking forward to competing but also hoping to build my confidence to try and one day qualify for the senior Olympics.”