GB juniors ready to fly the flag

Team GB have named Talya Curtis, Joel Barnett, Richard Goodman and Jemma Lawrence as junior flagbearers for the opening ceremony at the Maccabiah Games.

The junior athletes have been selected alongside senior players Jo Ankier, David Kyte and Michael Bibring at Ramat Gan on July 13.

Girls basketball player Talya Curtis is seen as a role model for younger players. Competing in her first Maccabiah, Curtis has played an active role in fund-raising for both the boys and girls basketball teams. She warmed up for the event by running MaccabiGB’s 10k fun run.

Beach volleyball player Joel Barnett broke his arm shortly before the trials. Largely responsible for putting together a team, he recruited some friends and contacted the British Volleyball Association.

Track and field starlet Richard Goodman, 16, came into running three yearrs ago. He entered an inter-school cross-country event for JFS and soon broke into the Shaftesbury Harriers team where he has been training with since then. Since being introduced him to competitive running, he has not looked back. He came first for his Borough, Harrow, in the London Mini Marathon and first in the English School Cross Country and will represent Great Britain in the European Youth Olympic Festival in Helsinki, straight after the Maccabiah Games. 2009 will be his first Maccabiah experience.

Karate kid Jemma Lawrence has been training in GOJU RYU karate since she was five. She achieved her black belt status at 14 years of age. She is the only female to represent Great Britain in Karate. It has not been easy for Jemma as a ‘lone’ junior athlete, having no one else to train with, and without a London based manager but she is looking forward to her first Games.

Last updated: 2:33pm, July 6 2009