Great day for Riley at Youth Games
ATHLETICS: They don't teach flagbearer classes at Beaudesert High but an emotional Riley Day did just fine in the breeze at the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas today.
The sprint starlet could not help but have flashbacks to the honour bestowed on fellow Queenslander Anna Meares when she carried the Australian flag into the main stadium last year at the opening of the Rio Olympics.
"The flagbearer is the first person you see from any country and it's a special honour I did not expect at all with so many deserving athletes in the team," Day said trackside in the Bahamas.
"I vividly remember Anna Meares in Rio and how excited she said she was. I had a little cry when my name was called (at a team meeting).
"Flag-holding, flag-twirling ... Beaudesert High does not offer that extracurricular activity so I just had to work it out in the wind."
Rewarding Day, 17, with the flagbearer role is a measure of the mark she left last summer with her public poise as well as excellent sprinting in the Nitro Athletics meets when she raced a mixed relay against track king Usain Bolt.
She is also one of the few performers in this 75-strong squad of Australian rookies in seven sports who has a strong chance of earning senior selection as early as the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.
Every new experience thrust her way during this week in the Bahamas is making her more resilient for what is ahead in her career.
There is no doubt the Aussies have their eyes on competing. They lapped up their opening ceremony lap and marched out of the Thomas Robinson National Stadium almost as quickly to maximise rest while other teams danced on stage with local musicians to finish the evening.
Day is up tomorrow with three 100m races in four hours if she glides through to the final as expected.