Former badminton players, Pi Hongyan and Pedro Yang, have been selected as Athlete Role Models (ARMs) for next year’s Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The International Olympic Committee recently announced the pair among the first 25 ARMs for Buenos Aires 2018 which takes place 6-18 October in the South American city. Sporting personalities from the 32 disciplines on the Olympic programme in Buenos Aires 2018 will be chosen as ARMs.
Pi, aged 38, is a retired China-born player who represented France, with her career highlights including a bronze medal in Women’s Singles at the BWF World Championships 2009; a runner-up finish at the All England Open in 2007; and a quarter-final finish in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Guatemala native, Yang, is a four-time Pan American Games Men’s Singles medallist who competed in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The 41-year-old is a former member of the BWF Athletes’ Commission and the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
The ARMs will be on hand for at least five days and will play a key role in supporting and mentoring the 3,998 young athletes that will be participating in the Games. Athletes will get to interact with the ARMs both at the Youth Olympic Village and during a series of educational activities and workshops focusing on skills development, leading healthy lifestyles, environment, social responsibility and Olympism. The ARMs will be behind the scenes during the competitions and will also be available for informal chats in a specially created lounge that will be open to all participants. The athletes and fans can also learn valuable lessons from the ARMs during “Chat with Champions” sessions – a Q&A format to promote discussion with the young athletes. Fans of the YOG will also have the opportunity to put their questions directly to the ARMs during informal chat sessions on the Olympic Channel and wider social media platforms.
The main goal behind the programme is to enable the ARMs to share their experiences and inspire the athletes to be the best they can be both on and off the field of play. Athlete feedback from previous YOG editions has shown that the ARM programme is consistently ranked highly in athletes’ experience. Young athletes are inspired by these ARMs, not only to perform at their best, but also to become positive role models.
In Buenos Aires, the ARMs will also spend time in the four parks, engaging with local youth through various Learn & Share activities and participating in sport initiation sessions for public.
BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer, himself an ARM at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, congratulated both Pi and Yang who were nominated by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
“They have shown great dedication and passion for badminton, both on and off court, and I think their experience and life lessons will be invaluable to our junior athletes who will compete in Buenos Aires,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Acting Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Buenos Aires 2018 and badminton legend, Li Lingwei, said: “The Athlete Role Models programme is a crucial part of the Youth Olympic Games and an opportunity for young athletes to learn valuable lessons from the best in sport. Competing in international sport at the highest level is an exhilarating career, but it also comes with its pressures and challenges, which is why we are happy to have the team of Athlete Role Models to support the next generation.”
List of Athlete Role Models for Buenos Aires 2018 (more to be named)