The Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos glided to Olympic success yesterday as he won silver in the men’s 400m final, the second medal for his country. In a race which saw Caribbean domination, the 18-year-old YOG champion and world junior champion was beaten to gold by Grenada’s Kirani James.
"I am very pleased with my work today; I have put so much work into it. I can't even quantify it. It was an emotional moment when I crossed the finish line. I knew that my work was done," Luguelin said. “It represents years of work and effort to be here and compete with the best athletes in the world."
For Luguelin, who has always dreamed of being at an Olympic Games, last night marked double success as he saw fellow countryman Felix Sanchez, the man who inspired his running career, win the first gold of the Games for the Dominican Republic. “In 2004 [at the Athens Olympic Games], I was at home watching Felix Sanchez win gold and I asked myself how difficult it would be to be there. So it was a great honour and motivation for my race to listen to the national anthem [after Felix’s win].”
Luguelin wasn’t the only Singapore YOG graduate competing - other YOG athletes in action on the track included Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman, who finished first in his heat and qualified for the men’s 800m semi-finals, and Mozambique’s Silvia Panguana, who obtained a lifetime-best in her heat of the women’s 100m hurdles. Elsewhere, Russia’s Viktoria Komova finished fifth in the women’s uneven bars after an impressive routine, while Russia’s Natalia Podolskaya helped her team into the women’s K4 sprint semi-finals.
Lithuania’s Evaldas Petrauskas boxed out his opponent to win his men middle weight (60kg) quarter-finals and progress to the semi-final. And finally, over at pole vault, our Youth Olympic Games Ambassador, Yelena Isinbaeva, was still showing our young ones how it’s done as she claimed yet another medal, this one bronze. “I’m really happy; it’s like a gold medal to me,” the former Olympic champion, who has been plagued by injury over the last few months, said with a smile on her face. “My plan was to win a gold medal here in London and then retire, but I don’t want to retire from a bronze,” she added cryptically. It looks like we’ll be seeing her in four years then!