Hosted by Dave Culbert
Delving into all things Commonwealth Games between now and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
We recap the week that was, chat to a Games star of the past, present or future and take a look at the week ahead for our Commonwealth Games aspirants.
EPISODE 8: Matthew Cowdrey
A team of Australia’s leading youth athletes have gathered at the Gold Coast’s Sports Super Centre in preparation for the 2017 Bahamas Commonwealth Youth Games.
The 75 athletes will take part in a two-day camp at the facility – a Gold Coast 2018 Training venue – before jetting off on a 28-hour journey to join competition in Nassau, The Bahamas.
The team – comprising athletes from seven sports – will be led by Team General Manager Matt Cowdrey, one of Australia’s most decorated swimmers.
This week, Cowdrey spoke to Commonwealth Games Australia’s Gold Coast Gold podcast, hosted by Dave Culbert, speaking passionately about his leading role with the team.
Speaking about the potential for athletes to become distracted by the unique environment of the Bahamas, Cowdrey was emphatic.
“These guys are here to compete. They certainly understand and acknowledge that,” he said.
“Everyone would be pleasantly surprised at the professionalism that comes with being an athlete at 15, 16, 17 years of age now. They appreciate the opportunity they have been given to represent Australia and they do that to their utmost ability,” Cowdrey said.
While medal success will be an aspiration for all of the Australian team, the veteran of both three Commonwealth Games and Paralympic Games said there was more important things at play than medal tallies.
“As Australian’s and as part of the Commonwealth Games movement we like to finish on top of the medal tally but we don’t set that expectation and nor do we set an expectation on a number of medals,” he explained.
“It truly is more than a cliché to say that everybody is here for the experience and the reward of representing your country.
“You have to really approach these games as a stepping stone to something bigger. When you look back to the Samoa (Youth Games 2015) team, we’ve got a number that are in line to make their international debut at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year.
“It’s understanding this is a step in a pathway to a bigger thing, but to have an experience like that at a multi-sport event, on this sort of scale, that is something that is very rare for athletes of this age. It’s a great opportunity,” Cowdrey explained.
The Australian team will depart on Sunday for for five days of competition in the Bahamas.
Support staff for the team includes Commonwealth Games and Olympic gold medallist Petria Thomas (swimming) and 2000 Olympic gold medallist Kerri Pottharst (Beach Volleyball).