With 2023 marking the Year of Youth across the Commonwealth, and ahead of Commonwealth Day on March 13, the focus is undeniably on the prospective crop of young talent eyeing off a future berth in the Commonwealth Games.
Two such athletes, Grace Whyte, 17 years, (netball) and Charlize Goody, 16 years, (athletics), are on such a pathway for their respective sports, focusing their goals and ambitions on their sporting dreams, while balancing school commitments, family, and other hobbies, and interests.
“I’m a (NSW) Swifts Training Partner, playing for Manly Warringah in the Premier League,” Whyte said.
“Being a part of the Swifts is a privilege; I have grown up watching them and have been inspired by the players and club throughout my whole netball journey, and they have such a strong history and culture, it’s an honour to be part of.”
With her eyes firmly set on the future, Grace’s sporting ambitions are lofty, with a focus on appreciating all that she gets to do on court while cherishing the small moments in her journey that are meaningful and special.
“My most memorable achievement was Nationals last year, when my team won and I was awarded Most Valuable Player of the grand final and Player of the Tournament, earning selection into the Australian U17 Squad.”
“It was an indescribable feeling winning with my friends and seeing the hard work and sacrifice all pay off and be acknowledged.”
“My goals for the future would be to earn a position in a Suncorp Super Netball Team, as well as to play for the Diamonds and to compete at the Commonwealth Games – all while enjoying every moment.”
Charlize also recognises the power of the journey she is on, crediting her club and her coaches with building her up as both an athlete and a person as she looks towards her athletic career.
“I train at Ipswich & District Athletics Club, with Mick Moore (throws) and Mark Sills (sprints),” Goody said, “with my favourite events being discus and javelin.”
“This club means everything to me as it has allowed me to compete and improve at club meets and has also given me many friends along the way.”
Charlize’s sporting ambitions are as driven as Grace’s, with recent successes at international events only spurring her further on.
“My most memorable sporting achievement so far is winning gold at the Mini Pacific Games in Saipan and being proud to sing the national anthem on the podium, with my ambition being to represent Australia in athletics on a Commonwealth Games team or Olympics team.”
With both currently studying Year 12, they also enjoy several hobbies away from their chosen sports, with a focus on family and friends, as well other sports, and community programs.
For Grace, that includes speaking at her local netball associations awards, with a keen interest in helping other developing netballers to reach their goals, while Charlize regularly participates in the local ANZAC Day March and Relay for Life on behalf of her school.
The Commonwealth has declared 2023 as The Year of Youth, with the 12 months devoted to the celebration and empowerment of the 1.5 billion under-30s living in the Commonwealth.
2023 also sees the resumption of the Commonwealth Youth Games, with today, March 7 marking until 150 days until the seventh edition of the Games begin, taking place in Trinidad and Tobago from 4 – 11 August.