#YOGWatch: YOG stars shine bright in June
June saw a host of impressive performances by former Youth Olympic Games athletes on the world stage. Here, Olympic.org takes a look at some of the highlights…
Fresh from being crowned low amateur at April’s Masters Tournament, Norway’s Viktor Hovland underlined his status as one of the hottest prospects in men’s golf by setting the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur in the history of the US Open. The 21-year-old’s four-round total of 280 was good enough to finish in a tie for 12th at the renowned Pebble Beach course – nine strokes behind winner Gary Woodland – and also helped the Norwegian eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ amateur scoring record by two strokes, which the 18-time major champion had set at Cherry Hills in 1960. Having starred at two of the year’s major championships, Hovland – who finished fourth in the men’s individual event at the YOG Nanjing 2014 – then made the decision to turn professional, finishing tied-54th on his pro debut on the PGA Tour at the end of June.
Marijn Veen and Marloes Keetels
Rising hockey stars Marijn Veen and Marloes Keetels were both on impressive form as they helped the Netherlands’ women’s hockey team win the inaugural FIH Pro League thanks to a shootout victory over Australia in a thrilling final. Australia took the lead in the 19th minute, before Veen – a silver medallist at the YOG Nanjing 2014 – powered into the circle from the right-hand side and levelled the scores with a fierce strike, beating Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch at her near post. The breath-taking match eventually finished 2-2, with Keetels – who won YOG gold in 2010 – among the scorers as the Dutch emerged as 4-3 winners in the shootout.
Micaela Retegui – who was part of the Argentina team that finished fourth at the YOG Nanjing 2014 – also shone at the tournament, winning the award for Best Goal of the FIH Pro League Grand Final, thanks to her brilliant strike against Germany in the third-place play-off, which saw her squeeze the ball through her own legs to find the bottom left corner of the goal. Former YOG stars Sofía Toccalino, Eugenia Trinchinetti, Julieta Jankunas, Cristina Cosentino, Agustina Albertario and Florencia Habif were also part of the Argentinian squad, which eventually finished fourth after the Germans triumphed in a shootout.
Flynn Ogilvie, Daniel Beale, Jeremy Hayward, Corey Weyer and Tim Howard
Several former YOG athletes were part of the Australian men’s hockey team that beat Belgium 3-2 to clinch the inaugural FIH Pro League title. Singapore 2010 gold medallists Flynn Ogilvie, Daniel Beale and Jeremy Hayward, as well as Nanjing 2014 champions Corey Weyer and Tim Howard, were all involved as the Kookaburras defeated the World Cup holders in the final to become the first-ever Pro League champions. Ogilvie was among the scorers as Australia took a three-goal lead in the first half, finding the net with an unchallenged backhand after drifting into a large area of undefended space to receive the ball. While Belgium fought back with two goals in the second half, it wasn’t enough to overhaul the Aussies, who also moved back to the top of the world rankings.
YOG silver medallist Tan Ya-Ting paired with Lei Chien-Ying and Peng Chia-Mao to win Chinese Taipei its first ever recurve title at the World Archery Championships in June, beating long-time rivals the Republic of Korea, 6-2, in the final of the women’s team event in the Netherlands. Lei, Tan and Peng won the first two sets with scores of 56 points before the top-ranked Koreans battled back in the third set with a 58 to take the score to 4-2. The Korean women then finished with a 54, with Peng landing a 10 to take the match for Chinese Taipei. Korea had won the recurve women’s world title on 13 of the previous 20 occasions it had been contested and was unbeaten in 2019.
YOG gold medallist Lee Woo-seok, of the Republic of Korea, partnered with Kang Chae-young to win the nation’s fifth successive recurve mixed team world title since the event was introduced to the World Archery Championships in 2011. The men’s individual champion from the YOG Nanjing 2014 teamed with the women’s world number one to beat Gabriela Bayardo and Sjef van den Berg of the Netherlands in straight sets, 6-0, in the final. Lee had also topped the men’s individual rankings heading into the Championships, but could finish only 17th as the USA’s Brady Ellison clinched gold. The 21-year-old did, however, win bronze in the recurve men’s team event to go with his mixed team gold medal.
Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres broke the IAAF Diamond League record in the men’s discus at the Meeting International Mohammed VI D'Athletisme in Rabat, Morocco, on 16 June. The 25-year-old, who competed at the YOG Singapore 2010, threw 70.78m in the third round but was initially adjudged to have fouled. The Commonwealth Games champion successfully appealed the decision, however, earning the Diamond League victory as well as setting a new a Jamaican record, a Commonwealth record, and becoming the first man to throw over 70 metres on African soil.
Salwa Eid Naser
Salwa Eid Naser held off the challenge of Niger’s fast-finishing Aminatou Seyni in Rabat on 16 June to win her third IAAF Diamond League title over 400m this season. The YOG silver medallist clocked 50.13 to set a season’s best, which also closed the gap on the world-leading time of 49.05 run by Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo earlier this season. The duo now look set for an epic battle at the IAAF World Championships later this year in Qatar.
The Chinese goalkeeper was a standout performer during the YOG Nanjing 2014, going through the entire women’s football tournament without conceding a goal as China secured gold on home soil. Still aged only 20, Xu’s form for club side Beijing Phoenix earned her a call-up to the senior China squad for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, where she was back-up for first-choice keeper Peng Shimeng.