The Youth Olympic Games is an international sports, cultural and educational event for all. This was no exception for the New Zealand officials appointed to the tournament from the Oceania Hockey Federation, Colin French, Nick Saunders and Helen Travers.
The elite sporting event aimed to develop younger athletes and the community through the Olympic values – excellence, friendship and respect – was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 7-18. With 32 sports involved, including hockey in the 5’s format, Buenos Aires as hosts fully embraced the opportunity to bring it’s unique energy and latin spirit to this special sporting spectacle.
Helen and Nick spent the most part of their Youth Olympic Games experience on the turf displaying excellent performances which were reflected in the positions they were appointed as competition commenced. Nick made his way to umpiring a semi-final and was named a reserve for the men’s gold medal match, while Helen reached the top position that the games offered – Technical Official for the women’s final.
“The Youth Olympic Games was an amazing experience with the exciting format of Hockey 5’s together with non-stop action and fantastic vocal crowds,” said Hockey New Zealand’s Technical Manager Colin French. “A special acknowledgment to Helen Travers & Nick Saunders who not only had very strong performances on the field, but who were also excellent ambassadors for NZ and contributed so much to the hockey officials team by embracing the Olympic values in all that they did.”
New Zealand has had multiple officials excel on the world stage as of late, including most recently Gavin Hawke, Kelly Hudson, and Amber Church at the 2018 Women’s World Cup. This demonstrates the pathways there are for all our aspiring umpires and officials to aim for.