Meet this month’s rising Youth Olympic stars
With a host of major events in sports such as aquatics, beach volleyball, BMX and fencing all set to take place in July, olympic.org takes a look at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) athletes who are set to play a starring role.
FINA World Aquatics Championships
A veritable galaxy of YOG stars will be in action at the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, which take place from 14 to 30 July. Among those to look out for are Australia’s Emma McKeon – a multiple YOG medallist in Singapore, who won four Olympic medals in Rio last year, including gold in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay. South Africa’s Chad Le Clos has firmly established himself on the senior circuit since his five-medal haul in Singapore and his London 2012 gold medal win over Michael Phelps, and he will again be expected to challenge for medals in Budapest. In the diving events, Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong – a double YOG silver medallist in Singapore and two-time Rio Olympic medallist – will be looking for a first world title after bronzes in 2009, 2013 and 2015; while China’s Qiu Bo, who won YOG gold in both the 3m and the 10m platform events in Singapore, will be going for a fourth successive 10m platform world title. Bo’s former YOG rivals, Mike Hixon and Tom Daley, are also expected to challenge for the podium, in the 3m springboard and 10m platform events respectively.
UCI BMX World Championships
Just one year after winning a bronze medal at Nanjing 2014, the Netherlands’ Niek Kimmann won the 2015 UCI BMX World Championships. He came close to defending his title in 2016, eventually finishing second to France’s Joris Daudet, and will be eager to regain his crown at this month’s UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, USA. Kimmann is currently ranked second in the world, behind American Corben Sharrah and ahead of Dutch team-mate Twan van Gendt, who also boasts a YOG bronze medal on his résumé. Van Gendt was part of the Netherlands quartet that won mixed team bronze at the inaugural YOG in 2010.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships
Eduarda “Duda” Santos Lisboa has long been tipped as a future star of beach volleyball, with the Brazilian winning YOG gold alongside Ana Patricia Silva Ramos in Nanjing in 2014. She also won three successive FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championship titles, plus an FIVB U21 World Championship gold medal, and is now making headlines at senior level. Since she partnered 2015 world champion and Rio 2016 silver medallist Agatha Bednarczuk at the start of 2017, the duo have enjoyed a string of impressive World Tour performances, including victory in Rio de Janeiro, and will be among the favourites at this month’s World Championships in Vienna, Austria. Also keep an eye out for Russia’s Artem Yarzutkin and Oleg Stoyanovskiy, the Nanjing 2014 men’s gold medallists, another pair who have made an impact on the World Tour this season, finishing third in Kish Island and Moscow and fourth in the Poreč Major.
World Fencing Championships
Several YOG stars will be among the main medal contenders in Leipzig, Germany, during the 2017 World Fencing Championships. Leading the way will be Yana Egorian, the individual sabre and mixed team gold medallist at the YOG Singapore 2010, who last year won two Olympic titles in Rio, with fellow YOG athletes Alex Massialas and Marco Fichera also likely to challenge for honours in the foil and épée events respectively.
US Women’s Open
The oldest major championship in women’s golf heads to Bedminster, New Jersey, for its 72nd edition, with three YOG stars among those set to tee it up with the game’s elite, including Olympic Games Rio 2016 medallists Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Shanshan Feng. Thailand’s Nanjing 2014 bronze medallist Supamas Sangchan will be looking to continue the good form that saw her win last month’s Hong Kong Ladies Open, alongside fellow Nanjing 2014 YOG graduates Aditi Ashok – who won twice on last season’s Ladies European Tour and also played in the Rio 2016 Olympic tournament – and Virginia Elena Carta, who qualified for the US Open by virtue of finishing as runner-up at last year’s prestigious US Women’s Amateur Championship.