ROSS-on-Wye’s Morgan Baynham-Williams is hoping she can establish herself as a star for the future with a fine showing this month at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The 18-year-old cox is one of 120 athletes to have been selected for Team GB to compete in Sydney from January 16 to 20.
The former Newent Community School pupil will be coxing the British girls eight Down Under as they look to replicate Team GB’s Olympic success on the waters of Eton Dorney this summer. And for Baynham-Williams, a member of Ross Rowing Club, the chance to test herself against the best in the world at her age is a challenge she is relishing.
“I am really excited. It felt like Christmas came early to be selected. It has been a bit of an aim since this time last year,” she said. “I was a little surprised to be here but I am so glad I am and it will be a great experience for me.
“I had a bit of a downfall in the summer trials - I trialled last year for the GB squad and in the final trials fell a little bit short.”
“I was a bit gutted but I have come back and in 2012 I was successful in the trials to get to the Youth Olympics. “It has given me a big confidence boost and although I will be keeping my feet on the ground I know I have to keep pushing on and progressing.
“It is really exciting to compete against the other countries and we know the Australians are going to be very good on home waters.”
One of the major success stories on the rowing lake at London 2012 was Kat Copeland, a former competitor at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2009.
And Baynham-Williams admitted that witnessing the rowing in person this summer has been a driving force in her bid for success in Australia.
“I managed to get some tickets and saw some of the lightweight fours and women’s eight at London 2012 which was good to see,” she added.
“It does get you thinking about what you want to do. It has driven me on and seeing the likes of Kat Copeland who have been to a Youth Olympics before winning a medal shows you it can be done.”
The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values, olympics.org.uk