Four members from the Argentine taekwondo team that’s preparing for Buenos Aires 2018 had an unforgettable moment at the Youth Olympic Village: first they received the commemorative key to the Village, and later they got to check out an apartment. Some were so overcome by emotion they were brought to tears.
Sebastian Crismanich (gold medalist at London 2012): “Seeing the taekwondo athletes in the rooms made me envious in a good way. It’s an honour to share this moment with them in this first-rate place”.
Acclaimed Argentine athletes such as Luis Scola, Paula Pareto, Walter Perez and Sebastian Crismanich were in attendance for the handover ceremony of the Youth Olympic Village to the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee. But these big name Olympic champions let four young athletes take the stage.
Milagros Cali, Jose Luis Acuña, Lautaro Diaz, and Ramiro Ravachino are part of the Argentine taekwondo team that is preparing to compete from October 6-18 in the third summer edition of the Youth Olympic Games. They had a memorable day, especially when they received the key to the Youth Olympic Village.
A little bit later, in the company of various famous athletes whose triumphs they’d watched on television, they fulfilled another dream and got to go inside their future home. They were the first of the 3,998 young athletes who will compete at Buenos Aires 2018 to enter one of the 1,159 finished apartments.
When Milagros Cali, a gold medalist at the South American Youth Games, imagined herself at the Games in October tears came to her eyes: “I feel really happy. I want to stay and sleep in this room until the competition day arrives. I want to put my head on the pillow to make myself realise where I am”.
Her male team members, also testing out the other three beds in the room, felt closer than ever to the possibility of being one of the 100 taekwondo athletes from different countries who will compete at the Oceania Pavilion in the Youth Olympic Park.
“I think that everyone is going to have a great time in the Village. I have a lot of expectations and I want October to arrive. I want to do my best to put Argentina at the top”, said Jose Luis Acuña, who came in second at the world youth championship in Tunisia.
Ramiro Ravachino had seen the Youth Olympic Village before, but when he went inside one of the rooms he was just as surprised as the others: “I’m speechless. I was here when they started to construct the buildings. It wasn’t finished inside, there weren’t any beds or other details. To see the buildings ready makes me want to move in right now”.
“The Games are going to be incredible. The apartments turned out really well. I have a lot of emotions all at once. This makes me want to compete, to give it my best and to try to win”, admitted Lautaro Diaz after going down the stairs to let out some of the day’s adrenaline.
Jeovanni Baeza, who coaches the team together with Flavio Salvador, yelled out from the balcony: “Come on guys! In a little while we have to go practice”.
It’s the last stretch before they can rest on those coveted Buenos Aires 2018 bedspreads.
Photos: Pablo Elias - Buenos Aires 2018