Two races for gold
The fourth day of athletics competitions at Buenos Aires 2018 was the first when medals were awarded to the athletes. A particular system was used to determine the winners. Instead of elimination rounds or finals, athletes competed in two races and the results of each were then combined.
Grace Stark from the United States was the champion in the women’s 100m women’s hurdles. The young athlete had a solid lead in both stages and was happy to accomplish her personal goal of winning both stages to fully savour the victory.
“It’s incredible. I’ve never run in front of so many people,” said Stark, who was accompanied on the podium by Australia’s Sophie White and Jamaica’s Ackera Nugent. The latter suffered a lower body injury at the end of the race and needed medical assistance.
In the women’s 800m, Australia’s Keely Small had the best combined times and finished in top spot, followed by Athing Mu from the United States and Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha.
“The system is a bit different from what we are accustomed to. I think that it was good for me because I had a strong first round,” Small said.
She also highlighted the significance of the Youth Olympic Games in a young athlete’s career: “They’re a very important step to the senior Olympic Games and they help me toward my goal, which is to be at Tokyo 2020.”
For 400m runners Mexican Luis Antonio Aviles Ferreiro and Zambian Kennedy Luchembe, their places on the podium were decided by combining the points from the first and second stages of their runs, which caused some confusion after the final race was over.
Luchembe was the third fastest in the first stage of the men's 400m and managed to win the second, but it was not enough for him to clinch the gold medal.
“In the end I was able to climb the podium in our first international championship. Lots of discipline, modesty and perseverance is what makes a great athlete,” said Aviles Ferreiro, who achieved a historic feat for his country since Mexico has not won an athletics title at an Olympic event since Los Angeles 1984.
In the women's 400m race, however, the winner was clear. Barbora Malikova, winner at the 2017 World Youth Athletics Championships and one of Czech Republic’s main sporting promises, shared the podium with Germany's Marie Scheppan and Zambia’s Niddy Mingilishi.