Fife teenagers head for Italy olympiad

Six Glenrothes and Markinch teenagers are under starter's orders for their trip to Italy this summer with the 2011 Fife Olympiad team.
Six Glenrothes and Markinch teenagers are under starter's orders for their trip to Italy this summer with the 2011 Fife Olympiad team.
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Six Glenrothes and Markinch teenagers are under starter’s orders for their trip to Italy this summer with the 2011 Fife Olympiad team.

Callum McCracken, the 16 year-old vice captain of the athletics squad and a pupil at Glenrothes High School, Auchmuty High School pupils Ewan Paton (15) and Niall Curley (15) from Markinch, and Glenwood High School pupils Jack Robb (15), Matthew Arnott (15) and 14 year-old Scott Bernard say they are very much looking forward to the experience.

“Not only does it allow us to compete at a very high level against international competition,” said Callum, “but it also lets us travel to Italy, to meet new people and make new friends. We can’t wait to take part.”

Callum will be taking part in the 400 and 800 metre events, Ewan the 1500 metres, Niall the 400 metres, Jack the sprints and jumping events, Matthew the sprints and jumping, and Scott the 1500 metres and throwing events.

All over Fife just now groups of young participants and their coaches are busily fine-tuning their preparations for the Olympiad which will take place in Alba, Northern Italy, between July 27 and 31.

The programme of sports will include athletics, badminton, basketball, football, judo, karate, swimming, table tennis, volleyball and tennis, with representatives, both male and female, being selected from youngsters who will be over 13 and under 18 on August 1 this year.

“Even though there are a couple of months to go we are already working very hard to ensure that everyone taking part is in peak condition and will be able to acquit themselves well at international level,” added athletics coach Rachel Edgar, also from Glenrothes.

“We have put together a very able and enthusiastic squad and believe that we can come back with medals to add to those which previous teams have accrued over the years.”

Set up in 1978, the Olympiad was originally designed to foster and improve sporting links between Glenrothes and its twin towns in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Austria, Italy and Turkey, but nowadays, however, participants come from all corners of Fife and preparations in general are already well underway for the final 170 youngsters, and the adults who will accompany them (including volunteer coaches, a medical support team and a child protection officer), for the three-yearly event.