Georgina Kennedy and Patrick Rooney head for Samoa
By SCARLETT SMITH
Future English squash stars Patrick Rooney and Georgina Kennedy have been selected to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
The teenage pair will join 1,000 other 14-18 year olds competing at the Games in Samoa between September 5-11. The action takes places in the nation’s capital, Apia, across two sporting complexes that will also play host to archery, athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rugby sevens, swimming, tennis and weightlifting.
Kent’s Georgina Kennedy, 18, said: “I feel very honoured to be selected and I’m excited about the prospect of being part of such a big event.
“I am looking forward to being part of a mixed sporting event. Whilst I have played for England before, I have never played in a multi-sport event where I will be a part of a larger England team that consists of athletes from many different sports.”
The event will give Rooney and Kennedy the chance to get a taste for an international multi-sport event with the aim of following in the footsteps of English squash legends and Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallists Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro.
Kennedy (right) added: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to give me exposure to a major event at a junior level, and if I am lucky enough to ever be selected for the senior Commonwealth Games, I think it will be great preparation for that.
“Because squash isn’t currently an Olympic sport, to play at the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of achievement, and this opportunity will really give me a taste of what it is like to participate at such an event.
“The opening and closing ceremonies, and having the opportunity to stay in an athletes village, is something I have never experienced before, so I am very much looking forward to it!”
Merseyside’s Patrick Rooney, 17, concluded: It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, made even more special because it is in a place like Samoa, where not many people get to visit.
“This will really help me to prepare for senior England events because it is a high standard of competition and I will have to go about the event with a professional attitude.”
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)