On a golden day for athletics at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Australia have claimed three medals, including gold.
Commonwealth Games representative Keely Small won the 800m with two decisive stage wins, Sophie White ran a slick 13.01 for silver overall in the 100m hurdles and Oscar Miers added 8cm to his PB to claim silver in the high jump.
After a comfortable stage 1 win in the 800m three days ago, Keely Small (ACT) ran a brilliant tactical stage 2 race to win in 2:04.76 running away from the field.
"It's an awesome feeling getting gold today," said Small.
"The race didn’t play out as I expected, the first lap was a lot slower but I was happy when I got to sit out the front and got to slow it down – as that’s the way I like to race it."
Small who was also named the Australian Flag Bearer at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, finished with a total time of 4:10.44 from her two races, which was almost three seconds faster than her next competitor.
It was been an enormous 24 hours for her coach Philo Saunders, who had success yesterday when his Paralympic athlete Michael Roeger broke the T46 marathon world record in Melbourne.
Coach Saunders had high praise for the professionalism of his young athlete.
“Keely was awesome and ran two perfect tactical races. She has been so consistent since Commonwealth Games and is racing with real confidence at the moment,” Saunders said.
“We have worked hard at improving fitness and strength which really showed through. Her dedication to be her best is unbelievable.”
Keely’s win was the third gold for Australia at the Youth Olympics Games following Nick Hough (110m hurdles) in Singapore in 2010 and Jess Thornton (400m) in Nanjing in 2014.
Just prior to Small’s win, Australia won their first athletics medal at the Games when Perth’s Sophie White (WA) placed third in her 100m hurdles stage 2 race. She tallied 26.40 from her two runs to defeat bronze medallist Ackera Nugent of jamaica by just 0.01 seconds. American Grace Stark won the gold medal.
In the second leg today, White had clocked a wind assisted lifetime best of 13.01 (+2.6m/s).
“The heat was in terrible conditions and I came out and ran 13.01 and won a silver I can’t really describe it to be honest,” said an overwhelmed White.
Today she ran a very smooth race, crisply negotiating the 10 barriers.
“To have a clean run, that is all you can hope for as an athlete. I’m happy and proud of what I did,” she said.
The last event of the day was the men’s high jump where Brisbane’s Oscar Miers (QLD), son of Olympic sprinter Monique, sprung a surprise. He arrived in Buenos Aires with a PB of 2.14m but in the competition on Friday morning things didn’t go too well.
“Stage 1 wasn’t the best for me getting concussed in the warmup. The conditions were bad and I had to rushed off to the village to get a medical checkup.”
Upon his return he leapt 2.05m for equal fourth place, well behind the leader Chen Long of China with a clearance of 2.13m.
In stage 2, Miers was looking sharp early with first up clearances at 1.98m, 2.03m, 2.07m and 2.11m. He then equalled his PB at 2.14 on the second attempt. Had he reached his limit? Not even close was the response by Miers with first attempt clearance at 2.16m, 2.18m. Locked in a tactical battle with Chen, he passed 2.20m.
“My coach told me to pass 2.20m, I thought he was a bit insane but I trusted him and it worked out very well.”
In deed, when he cleared on his second attempt at an extraordinary 2.22m.
The tactics continued and he passed 2.24m, before missing some good attemps at 2.26m.
He had added eight centimetres to his personal best and his silver matched Brandon Starc who was also second at the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010. However Miers outleapt Starc 2.22m to 2.19m.
After a challenging build up, Keegan Bell (NSW) finished strongly in stage 2 of the 400m to place third. A big talent, Bell is a key athlete for our future in one of our most successful senior events the 4x400m relay.
An improved stage 2 discus by Sally Shokry saw he place 8th with a throw of 46.79m and finish 10th overall. Her PBs in the last two years are just behind Dani Stevens at the same age, so there is a big future for Sally.
There are two more days of competition for the track and field team in Buenos Aries. Tomorrow morning there are two sessions, the cross country and track later.
Tuesday morning – session 1 (times are AEDT)
Luke Young – 1500m 5th 3:55.28 (overall #7) 00:00
Jamie Hiscock - 2000m steeple 5th 6:39.62 (overall #5) 00:30
Jaylah Hancock-Cameron – 1500m 2nd 4:18.44 PB (overall #2) 0:30
Tuesday morning – session 2
Rochelle Vidler - hammer throw 11th 60.76m (overall #11) 04:05
Lizzie Moss - high jump =4th 1.78m (overall #4) 04:20
Joshua Cowley - long jump 1st 7.71w (7.69m PB) (overall #1) 05:10
Anthony Vlatko – 800m 4th 1:51.34 (overall #7) 05:40
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia