German teenager heads to Olympics

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 5 August 2008
 German teenager heads to Olympics
Felix Odebrett plays for the Berliner Rugby-Club in Germany

Promoted to the top tier of the European Nations Cup for the first time two decades, German rugby will also have a presence at the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Youth Camp in Beijing over the next 21 days in the form of Felix Odebrett.

The 17-year-old, who plays for the Berliner Rugby-Club and is a member of Germany’s Under 18 team, will attend the camp from 6-26 August at the China Youth Center for International Exchange during the Olympic Games in the city.

Odebrett is expected to be one of some 800 youngsters aged between 16 and 18 attending the camp, which will bring together representatives from all IOC member countries and regions with the theme of harmony, inclusiveness, identification, experience and creativity. The slogan is “Youth creates the future of the world”. 

The camp will allow the youngsters to study the Olympic spirit, experience sport, cultural charm and promote both understanding and friendship. The youngsters will also attend the Games’ Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as some events and also see inside the Olympic Village.

Dating back to the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, the Olympic Youth Camp has been an educational and cultural exchange programme under the Olympic banner. Since the 1960s, every edition of the Olympic Games has sponsored the programme. 

Ultimate aim - rugby back in the Olympics

A talented young player, Odebrett is also a keen and active member of the Berlin Rugby Union Referee Society and an official ambassador for the German Anti-Doping Programme. His selection is seen as both a reward for his commitment to the game and its growth in Germany.

“The selection of a member of a non-programme sport came quite unexpectedly to us, but the German Olympic Committee has taken a wider view and honours the actual development of rugby in Germany and certainly the special efforts Felix has made,” Claus-Peter Bach, President of the German Rugby Union said.

Odebrett came through a thorough selection process, having firstly volunteered to take part in a couple of promotion and education programmes with the German Anti-Doping Programme, then been selected to go to France for a seminar by the German Olympic Committee.

“There is the fascination of being a small part of the whole event, but also to meet many different people from all possible cultures is what provides the biggest attraction for me,” admitted Odebrett. “Being able to watch and interact with sports people from all over the world at the Olympic Games will give me many good memories.

“My ultimate aim would be to see rugby as a sport coming back into the Olympics, but I also hope to see Germany succeed further on an international level and will also work hard to continue my own development as a player – or a referee.”

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