Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
Rhythmic Gymnastics
Thursday 17th January, 2013
Photos: Anthony Johnson

Hot spot … a gymnast at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival where teens are competing with a view to earning a place at Rio 2016. Photo: Anthony Johnson

GUY HAMILTON is so hopeful he will make it to the Olympics, the junior rugby sevens player has given up a contract with the NRL's Gold Coast Titans to focus on the Rio Games.

Hamilton, 17, is one of 12 members of the junior national rugby sevens squad playing the game for the first time in an Olympic setting, at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

On Friday and in stifling 40 degree heat, Hamilton and his team beat Tonga 21-12, before pummelling China 75-0 in the first two of four preliminaries at St Ignatius College in Sydney.

Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
Track Cycling. Click for more photos

Australian Youth Olympic Festival

Australian Youth Olympic Festival. Track Cycling. Photo: Anthony Johnson

The 17-year-old Queenslander had been offered an agreement with the Titans, but said he had pulled out to focus on the chance to play sevens at the 2016 Rio Games ''alongside some of the greats.''

''I wanted to come here and focus on rugby with nothing tying down my shoulders,'' he said. ''I gave myself the best chance to get to Rio … (it would be) huge for me to get a gold medal.''

Selectors and officials already have highlighted potentials for the nation's emerging sevens squad.

Ed Jenkins, the senior men's sevens captain, said the teens would be at the prime age to play at an international level.

''I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them are on the national squad in a few years' time,'' he said.

AAP