Youth give dream a shot

THE 2013 sporting calendar is set to start with a bang as Sydney International Shooting Centre in Cecil Park will be one the venues for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

The festival on January 16-20 sees about 1700 prospective Olympians compete in 17 sporting events.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Graham Annesley announced $50,000 funding for the 2013 festival at the shooting centre last week.

"Athletes will experience a memorable opening ceremony, live in a village environment and even receive medals in the tradition of the Olympic Games," he said.

"This event will also be an important step for many athletes in their quest to be involved in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio."

International athletes from 30 nations will compete in venues built for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games such as the shooting centre.

Representing Australia is Erick Aukafolau, 17, of Canley Heights. The recent graduate from Westfields Sports High School was selected for the under 18 Rugby 7s team.

Smithfield MP Andrew Rohan said the Youth Olympic Festival would promote western Sydney as a sporting and visitor destination.

Seventy-three athletes will compete in the pistol, rifle and shotgun disciplines at the shooting centre.

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