By Rob Cole
A Magnificent Seven Welsh youngsters have been selected in the Team GB squad to take part in the 2022 European Youth Olympic Festival in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.
Team GB are taking a squad of 40 athletes to compete in the competition between 24-30 July. They will be part of an event that will involve 3,500 athletes and officials from 48 European nations who will compete in 10 Olympic sports.
The athletes are all aged 13-18 at the event and will take part in five sports – badminton, cycling, gymnastics, judo, and swimming. Athletics, basketball, handball, tennis, and volleyball complete the sporting programme.
Ffosyffin cyclist Finlay Tarling made a strong start to the 2022 season winning his first five races, including a win in Belgium.
He has joined elder brother, Joshua, in the Belgian FlandersColor cycling team for this year and became the Welsh U16 cyclocross champion at Pembrey.
He is joined in the cycling team by Sam Fisher, who recently finished fifth in the Scottish Cycling Youth Tour where he won a stage. He started cycling at Maindy Flyers, which is where Geraint Thomas launched his career.
Rising Newport badminton star Harper Leigh has already had experience of playing at the European U15 and U17 championships, while Welsh judo player Holly Deall has already been to one major tournament this year, competing for GB at the European Junior Championships in Athens in March.
NEWS | Holly Devall has been selected to represent Team GB at European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia from 24 to 30 July.
Congratulations Holly on this fantastic achievement!
— #JudoCymru (@Welsh_Judo) July 14, 2022
There are two Welsh gymnasts in the squad, 15-year-olds Ruby Evans and Evie Flage-Donovan.
“I’m super excited to have been selected to represent my country. Although I’m nervous, I’m very grateful to be given this opportunity and to experience it with my training partner, Evie,” said Welsh gymnast Evans.
“I recently broke my finger, so my preparation has been very different to normal – I just want to compete at my best, to experience staying in a village, and to meet new people from different countries that I could possibly compete against in a couple of years’ time as a senior gymnast.
“I want to keep progressing and continue competing for my country as it is a great honour. One day I would love to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games and Team GB at the Olympic Games, so being selected for the EYOF has really inspired me to keep working hard in the gym.”
Mabli wedi’i dewis gan TeamGB am y Gŵyl Olympaidd Ieuenctid Ewrop 2022. 💪🏊
Mabli selected by #TeamGB for the European Youth Olympic Festival 2022 in Slovakia this month.
@YsgolPontyberem @addgorffmaes @SwanseaAquatics https://t.co/HJ03VJ7us8
— CollyMei 🏴🌻🇺🇦 (@CollyMei) July 14, 2022
Swimmer Mabli Collyer makes up the seven strong Welsh contingent. A former triathlete, she now swims out of the Swansea Aquatics club and will compete in the breaststroke.
This will be the 16th edition of the EYOF and at the last summer event in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2019, Team GB claimed second place in the medal table with a total of 25 medals, including 11 golds.
Team GB at Banská Bystrica 2022
Varsha Kumar (15) from Birmingham
Harper Leigh (15) from Newport
Cat Ferguson (16) from North Yorkshire
Sam Fisher (15) from Glamorgan
Seb Grindley (16) from Cheshire
Carys Lloyd (15) from Kent
Finlay Tarling (15) from Dyfed
Imogen Wolff (16) from South Yorkshire
Oakley Banks (17) from Kent
Danny Crouch (16) from Essex
Ruby Evans (15) from Cardiff
Evie Flage-Donovan (15) from Newport
Abi Martin (14) from Devon
Reuben Ward (17) from Lancashire
William Andrews (16) from Sheffield
Luke Austen (18) from Berkshire
Luke Davies (17) from London
Holly Devall (17) from Glamorgan
Lewis Fryer (17) from Hertfordshire
Daniel Givan (18) from East Lothian
Anya Hassan (17) from Tyne and Wear
Charlotte Jenman (17) from Kent
Summer Shaw (18) from Surrey
Niamh Southgate (17) from Norwich
Oscar Bilbao(16) from Hereford
Maisie Brown (14) from Hampshire
Skye Carter (14) from Essex
Conor Cherrington (16) from Dorset
Kianna Coertze (14) from Midlothian
Mabli Collyer (13) from Carmarthenshire
Phoebe Cooper (14) from South Yorkshire
Evan Davidson (15) from Perth
Oscar Dodds (16) from Jersey
Henry Gray (16) from London
Ella Homan (14) from the West Midlands
Jakey Hutchinson (15) from Derby
Isla Jones (15) from South Yorkshire
Blythe Kinsman (15) from Devon
Stefan Krawiec (16) from East Lothian
Luke McGee (16) from Tyne & Wear