Jess Bailey (17) takes silver in the kayak at the Australian Youth Olympics. Photo supplied.
A young Wanaka kayaker has won a silver medal at the
Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
Jess Bailey (17) was competing in the K1 white-water slalom
event and was part of a New Zealand team of 156 elite junior
athletes at the festival.
The team picked up 69 medals over five days of Olympic-style
competition in Sydney.
Bailey was competing against 13 kayakers from New Zealand,
Australia, China and Japan on the whitewater course built for
the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
She is now in Auckland preparing for two North Island events
in which she will attempt to retain her place in the New
Zealand team due to compete at the world junior championships
in Slovakia in July.
Bailey said she was ''really stoked'' with her silver medal.
Having qualified fifth, she had a fast final run and picked
up no penalties.
She was beaten by Naomi Fox, of Australia, whose father,
Richard Fox, is a six-time world champion.
Chef de mission Chris Arthur said the New Zealand athletes
had displayed maturity beyond their years during the
''Our elite junior athletes have taken everything in their
strides, including Sydney's hottest day on record, and have
performed with all the mana of the Olympians they are
aspiring to be.
''New Zealand can rest assured that we have a real depth of
talent emerging across a number of sports and I hope to see
many of these athletes at the Youth Olympics in Nangjing,
China, next year.''