Baby banishes her blues as hosts scoop four athletics golds
Yelyzaveta Baby (UKR) won gold in the women’s long jump at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games to help banish the ghosts of a poor showing at the Worlds last year.
The 17-year-old failed to reach the long jump final at the 2013 World Junior Championships on home soil in Donetsk but on 23 August in Nanjing she set a new personal best of 6.26 metres – an improvement of 10cm – to claim gold.
“It’s an amazing feeling getting the gold medal tonight, I can’t believe it, I guess I’m asleep, please tell me it’s not just a dream,” Baby said.
“I’ve trained so hard and now the dream has come true because all that hardship paid off in the end.
“I’ve had an amazing experience so far at these Youth Olympics and I hope I’ll go on winning even in the next Olympic Games [in Rio in 2016]. I really hope that next time I’ll be less afraid of ending up dead last.”
On a busy night featuring 11 medal events, China collected four golds.
Ma Zhenxia raised the first cheers in a packed Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium when she won the night’s opening event, the women’s 5,000m race walk.
Ma finished in 22 minutes, 22.08 seconds, a comfortable 57 seconds ahead of silver medallist Valeria Ortuno Martinez (MEX).
“I’m very happy and would like to thank my coach, who motivated me all the way to win this,” Ma said.
China’s Cheng Yulong triumphed in the men’s discus throw, setting a new personal best of 64.14 metres.
After running towards his parents in the stands to celebrate, an emotional Cheng said he wanted his victory to inspire the remaining athletes in China’s team.
Another Chinese athlete Sun Kangping won gold in the women’s discus throw, while her compatriot Liang Xiaojing sprinted to victory in the women’s 100m in 11.65 seconds.
Jamaicans continue winning streak
Jamaica continued its hot streak in the track events as Jaheel Hyde recorded a personal best in the men's 110m hurdles with in an impressive time of 12.96 seconds.
“It's a great feeling to be the best in the world in my age group,” Hyde said. “My family got me here with the sacrifices they made to get me to training and to the events. They would have to get up early to get me to training, but the training keeps me disciplined.”
Danil Lysenko (RUS) won gold in the men’s high jump, clearing 2.2 metres. While Yuji Hiramatsu (JPN) and Shemaiah James (AUS) tied for silver, both achieving new personal bests of 2.14m.
“Today was rather difficult to jump, I made some mistakes but I had time to correct it,” Lysenko said. “Of course I’m absolutely happy but I didn’t put on my best performance.”
Angelica Moser (SUI) topped the standings in the women’s pole vault with a new personal best of 4.36 metres, adding 4cm to her previous record.
“It was amazing. I didn’t expect to win gold and I just wanted to give my best, and now it’s the gold medal and a personal best, and I feel very happy about this. It just makes the moment perfect,” Moser said.
A room full of medals
Martha Bissah (GHA) won the women’s 800m in 2:04.90, improving her personal best by 1.42 seconds.
In the men's 100m final, Sydney Siame (ZAM) won gold in 10.56 seconds. “It's been so long since Zambia won a medal in this [event],” he said. “I'm very happy to win.”
Australia completed two thirds of a “roomie treble”, as Jessica Thornton (AUS) took gold in the women's 400m from Salwa Naser (BRN) in 52.5 seconds, while Sam Geddes (AUS) ran the women’s 100m final in 11.76 seconds to scoop bronze. Both were hopeful that team-mate and room-mate Alex Hulley (AUS) would be able to emulate their achievements in the hammer throw.
“My room-mate Jess won gold and I got bronze tonight, so we'll be having a party in our room,” said Geddes. "I'm going to eat a lot of ice cream to celebrate!”