YOG Stars Light Up Global Stage
We pick out more starring performances from former Youth Oylmpic Games athletes on sport’s buggest stages.
Salwa Eid Naser
After a surprise silver medal in the 400m at last year’s IAAF World Championships, Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser is now proving she belongs at the top table of women’s sprinting. At the IAAF Diamond League event on 7 June in Oslo, Norway, the 20-year-old looked hugely impressive as she clocked 49.98 seconds to win the 400m, ahead of US world champion Phyllis Francis. “I knew the race would be strong with many good athletes,” said the YOG Nanjing 2014 bronze medallist afterwards. “They bring out the best in me.” Her best was yet to come, however, as three days later she ran even faster when winning the next Diamond League race in Stockholm, Sweden, setting a Bahraini national record of 49.84 as she again beat Francis after a home-straight duel.
While Jamaica is renowned for its sprinters, Fedrick Dacres is proving the country can produce world-class field athletes as well. The discus thrower – who competed at the YOG Singapore 2010 – won gold at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year in Australia, and is now starring in the IAAF Diamond League. In Rome on 31 May, he secured his first win on the circuit this season with a throw of 68.51m, and he followed that up with an even more impressive performance in Stockholm on 10 June. The 24-year-old came out on top in an enthralling battle with Andrius Gudzius of Lithuania, as they pushed each other to lifetime bests, with Dacres taking the honours with a huge 69.67m – a meeting record, Jamaican record and the furthest throw in the world this year.
The Russian high jumper, who won gold at the YOG Singapore 2010, is currently enjoying an incredible run of form. The 2015 and 2017 world champion won her third successive Diamond League event in Stockholm on 10 June, clearing 2.00m at the first attempt to seal victory and extend her unbeaten streak to an incredible 42 events.
Since winning two gold medals at the inaugural YOG in Singapore in 2010, China’s Qiu Bo has become one of the most successful divers in history, winning three successive world titles in the 10m platform event between 2011 and 2015, and a host of other accolades. The 25-year-old was atop the podium again at the recent FINA Diving World Cup in Wuhan, China, as he clinched gold in the mixed team event alongside Chen Yiwen.
Czech slalom canoeist Jiří Prskavec – a bronze medallist at the YOG Singapore 2010 and the Olympic Games Rio 2016, as well as a three-time world champion – added to his extensive medal collection at June’s European Canoe Slalom Championships. The 25-year-old won bronze in the K1 event in Prague, before combining with Ondřej Tunka and Vít Přindiš to clinch gold in the K1 team event.
Yana Egorian was part of the Russian sabre team that won gold at the recent European Fencing Championships, which were held in Novi Sad, Serbia, from 16 to 21 June. The 24-year-old Olympic champion – who won two gold medals, at the YOG Singapore 2010 and the Olympic Games Rio 2016 – joined team-mates Sofia Pozdniakova, Svetlana Sheveleva and Sofya Velikaya as they beat the Ukrainian team of Yuliia Bakastova, Olga Kharlan, Alina Komashchuk and Olena Voronina in the final.