#YOGWatch: YOG athletes scale new heights in July
Former Youth Olympic Games athletes continued to light up the world stage in July. Here, Olympic.org takes a look at some of the most eye-catching performers…
Hungary’s Kristof Milak smashed Michael Phelps’ 10-year-old world record in the men’s 200m butterfly, as he won gold at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships, held in Gwangju (Republic of Korea) in July. The 19-year-old – who won three gold medals and a silver at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 – clocked a sensational 1:50.73, knocking 0.78 seconds off the previous best of 1:51.51, set by Phelps in Rome in 2009. Fellow YOG gold medallist Chad le Clos, of South Africa, won bronze in the race.
Hungarian swimmer Boglárka Kapás – a double gold medallist at the YOG Singapore 2010 – claimed her first world title as she won the women’s 200m butterfly at July’s FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju. The 26-year-old – who won 800m freestyle bronze at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 – appeared to be out of contention at the halfway stage, but a stunning finish saw her move through the field to touch home first in a time of 2:06.78 minutes.
Russia’s Anton Chupkov – a two-time YOG gold medallist in 2014 and Olympic bronze medallist in 2016 – broke the men’s 200m breaststroke world record as he defended his world title at the FINA World Aquatics Championships. The 22-year-old clocked 2:06.12 minutes, eclipsing the previous mark set by fellow YOG gold medallist Ippei Watanabe in 2017.
Slovenia’s Toni Vodisek secured his first regatta win on the professional kite racing circuit in July, topping the standings at the opening event of the 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Gizzeria, Italy. The 19-year-old – who won silver at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 – sailed a flawless regatta, with his final score after discards consisting only of first and second places. This consistency was enough to secure a commanding 25-point lead over France’s former world champion Axel Mazella, with Vodisek securing the win with two races to spare.
After securing a clean sweep of the diving medals at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 – winning the women’s 3m springboard and 10m platform titles, as well as the mixed team event – China’s Lin Shan claimed her first world title at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships. The 17-year-old partnered with Yang Jian in the mixed team event, clinching gold with a score of 416.65 points from their six dives. It was the first time that China has won the mixed world title, since the event was introduced at the 2015 World Championships.
YOG Buenos Aires 2018 badminton gold medallist Li Shifeng claimed his first title on the BWF World Tour in July, as he defeated India's 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap in the final of the Canada Open. Despite being un-seeded for the Super 100 tournament, the 19-year-old beat India’s two-time World Tour winner Sourabh Verma in the quarter-finals and Japan’s Orléans Masters champion Koki Watanabe in the semi-finals, before outwitting the experienced sixth-seed Kashyap in the final in three tight games.
China’s Wang Zhiyi – the women’s badminton singles silver medallist at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 – also competed at the Canada Open, losing in the final to An Se-young of the Republic of Korea. The 19-year-old bounced back in impressive fashion, however, as she won her next event on the BWF World Tour – the Super 300-ranked US Open in California. Wang did not drop a game throughout the tournament as she went on to beat Korean third seed Kim Ga-eun in the final, 21-18, 21-19.
Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy became the youngest men’s beach volleyball world champion ever, as he partnered Viacheslav Krasilnikov to gold at the 2019 FIVB World Championships in July, aged 22 years, 9 months, and 11 days. The YOG Nanjing 2014 gold medallist and his 28-year-old playing partner were seeded third in their first world championships together, and secured the title with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-11) win over 12th-seeded duo Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler of Germany.
US sprinter Noah Lyles continued his impressive form this season as he clocked 19.50 seconds when winning the 200m at the Lausanne Diamond League on 5 July to become the fourth-fastest man in history over the distance. Only Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Michael Johnson have gone faster than the 21-year-old, who then secured his place at this year’s IAAF World Championships by winning the 200m at the US trials later in July. Lyles, who claimed 200m gold at the YOG Nanjing 2014, will now head to Doha (Qatar) as one of the favourites to clinch the world title in September.
Brazil’s Ana Patricia and playing partner Rebecca Cavalcanti clinched their first medals at a Beach Volleyball Major Series event, as they won bronze at the Gstaad Major in Switzerland in July. Ana Patricia, who partnered Duda to gold at the YOG Nanjing 2014, had already enjoyed victories at two four-star tour events earlier in the season, as her partnership with Rebecca continues to blossom, but this was the pair’s first podium finish at a Major Series tournament.
Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan – the women’s singles and doubles gold medallist at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 – came close to a sensational upset over tennis legend Serena Williams at July’s Wimbledon Championships. Qualifying for the Championships for the first time, the 18-year-old was a surprise winner over Kristyna Pliskova in the first round but was given little chance of toppling 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams in the second. Juvan came out firing, however, as she won the first three games en route to clinching the first set 6-2. Williams eventually fought back to win 2-6 6-2 6-4.