Traditionally a force in South America, the home team collect a gold and a bronze medal at Buenos Aires 2018 and dream of stepping up at world level.
A stellar performance at the Puerto Madero docks gave Argentina their first ever rowing medals at the YOG. Maria Sol Ordas clinched gold in the junior women’s single sculls while Felipe Modarelli and Tomas Herrera claimed bronze in the junior men’s pair in front of a rapturous crowd that chanted its support and proudly displayed an enormous national flag at the Puente de la Mujer in the heart of the Argentinian capital.
The local success at the Games was the main goal of a three-and-a-half-year talent identification and preparation programme that also brought promising performances at August’s junior world championships in the Czech Republic, including a silver medal and world best time for Ordas.
“Of course, the junior category is not as difficult as the senior one. However, we have never reached the top spots on the junior level before,” team coach Martin Cambareri said. “The Youth Olympic Games showed us that every goal is reachable if you work really hard.
“We have our idiosyncrasies and our own ways, so it is not a matter of copying anyone. But if we want to be competitive, we need a programme with an international level to take us higher.”
Romania were the only other NOC to get two medals, taking silver in the junior men’s pair and bronze in the junior women’s pair.
In a diverse and competitive tournament, contested over a shorter-than-usual distance (500m) with a time-trial preliminary round that included turning around a buoy, the four events had medals shared by 10 NOCs.
For four days, the atmospheric setting attracted a legion of local fans who had previously had little, if any, exposure to the sport. “There were many people who had never been to a regatta before, and even without knowing the sport, they came here to support us. This is the Argentinian soul. I have never been in a regatta with such support from our people. I guess it will be an experience that we will always remember,” said Ordas of the raucous support.