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Archive for July, 2014

Specialists explain initiatives to improve water quality at Rio 2016 sailing venue

July 31st, 2014

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Rio 2016

Youth training camp primes judokas for Nanjing 2014

July 31st, 2014

The annual camp focused on the upcoming Nanjing 2014 YOG, helping many athletes to hone their skills and meet the upcoming competition and to give them more info on the fun workshops that will take place off the field of play. The camp was led by Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Sergei Aschwanden (SUI), who shared his vast knowledge and experience with the young athletes.

Accompanying the athletes were 70 coaches, also benefiting from the camp. 

“This is a fantastic place to be. Seeing them in the evenings having a good time, laughing and sharing their experiences is incredible. They are already friends now and it will help the development of judo,” Sergei pointed out. 

There were smiles all round as Olympic champions were also present to pass on advice ahead of Nanjing 2014. What better way to prepare for the Youth Olympic Games than to learn from the best!

Amongst the participants was Olympic Solidarity-backed athlete Francesco Aufieri (MLT), who will be competing in Nanjing.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Chad Le Clos: An ambassador for youth sport

July 31st, 2014

“The Youth Olympic Games have been a huge springboard for me,” said Nanjing 2014 YOG ambassador Chad Le Clos. “They were a huge help for me when it came to preparing for my first Olympic Games in London. Quite apart from the sport, though, the memories and the friends that I made there will stay will me forever and I am very excited to taking part in the YOG experience once more.”

The South African swimmer was 18 when he announced himself on the international scene in stunning fashion at the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, winning a medal in each of the five events he entered, including a gold in the 200m medley. That inaugural YOG boasted Le Clos’ idol Michael Phelps as an ambassador, prompting the then teenager to comment: “I’ve been a fan of his since I was a little boy. He really inspired me when it came to competing in the 2010 YOG.”
 
Two years later Le Clos beat his all-time hero as he sprung one of the sensations of the swimming events at London 2012, timing his finish just right in the 200m butterfly to touch home 0.05 seconds of the American and win gold. Three days later he took silver in the 100m butterfly, this time finishing behind Phelps, who remains the most successful Olympian in history. When the American retired, Le Clos took up his mantle by winning the 100m and 200m butterfly titles at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.

Setting out his objectives for the future, Le Clos said: “I want to get faster every year, keep my confidence high so I can continue dominating my main events, and extend my range to other freestyle and medley races.” Also in his sights is the world 200m butterfly record of 1:51.51, set by Phelps in 2009.

The South African will again be following in Phelps’ footsteps in Nanjing, where he will take his turn to inspire young swimmers. “To be performing that role for a whole generation is a real honour for me,” he said.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Fan Zhendong – table tennis’ rising star

July 30th, 2014

Currently ranked number three in the world, Fan already made the history books when, at just 16 years old, he became the youngest ever ITTF World Tour winner. This record has since been broken but Fan still remains “very proud to have had held it”.

After becoming the 2014 World Team Championships champion already this year and having won the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, Fan had this to add: “After I got the gold at the Asian Youth Games last year in Nanjing, Nanjing has become my lucky land. I hope I can still keep the good luck going and claim the gold at this year’s biggest event, the Youth Olympic Games!”

Will he add Youth Olympic Games gold medallist to this impressive list? Follow the YOG to find out!

Fan will no doubt be one to look out for both during and after the Youth Olympic Games. Whatever happens, his future is set to be a bright one.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more news. The Youth Olympic Games take place from 16-28 August. Watch live on Olympic.tv and Olympic.org.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Basketball – The Nanjing 2014 Sports

July 30th, 2014

A half-court variation of the game, played under FIBA rules using a single basket, 3×3 basketball has had a place on the Youth Olympic Games programme since the inaugural edition in Singapore in 2010, when it made its international debut, where Serbia won the men’s competition and China took gold in the women’s event. Nanjing 2014 will also stage an exciting new basketball event, with both men and women competing in individual skill competitions.

An excitement-packed and fun version of the sport, 3×3 basketball has proved popular with youngsters in playgrounds across the world. 3×3 has its own set of rules, with each team taking turns to attack and defend and having to exchange the ball behind the arc following any dead-ball situation (check ball). When one team scores, the opposing side takes possession of the ball beneath the basket and goes on the attack. Successful shots from behind the arc (6.75m from the basket) are awarded two points, while shots from inside the arc earn one point, as do free throws, with teams given 12 seconds in which to attempt a shot. Each game lasts one 10-minute period, though if a team scores 21 points or more before the end of the regular playing time, they are declared the winner.

The men’s and women’s 3×3 basketball competitions will take place at the Wutaishan Sports Centre on 18-26 August, and will each feature 20 teams, with a total of 80 boys and 80 girls taking part overall. The teams will be drawn into two pools of ten, each of which will involve a round-robin format. The top eight sides in each group will go forward to knockout phase, which begins with the round of 16. The semi-finals, matches for third place and the finals will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 26 August.

The men’s and women’s individual skills events will be held on 21 August. Participants will take part in qualifying rounds held simultaneously on two courts, with the top four players in each event going on to contest the final medal round.

While the girls will be pitting their wits against each other in a shootout contest, the boys will be doing their best to outjump each other in a dunk competition.

Nanjing 2014 is sure to provide another entertaining and exciting insight into this new variation of the game.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Luguelin Santos: A successor to Feliz Sanchez

July 30th, 2014

Among the many Dominicans watching wide-eyed on television as Felix Sanchez stormed to victory in the men’s 400m hurdles final at Athens 2004 was a 10-year-old boy from Bayaguana by the name of Luguelin Santos.  

“I asked myself there and then how hard it would be for me to get there, where he was,” says Santos, recalling the childhood dream he began nurturing that very day.  

He was already a keen athlete by that time, but Sanchez’s exploits inspired him to train even harder, and when he turned 14 he showed his immense potential by running the 400m in 53 seconds. In 2009, he embarked on his international junior career, and went on to run 46.19 the following year, breaking the national record in his age group and posting the fastest time in the world that year among his peers.  

Selected to represent his country at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, Santos took 400m gold in a time of 47.11, his first major international title. He followed up two days later by forming part of the Americas team that won the medley relay.  

©TAKAMITSU MIFUNE

Pride and inspiration 

Santos continued his rise by running 44.71 in the final at the 2011 Pan American Games to set a new world junior record. Aged 18, he then took the world junior title in Barcelona, less than a month before London 2012, where he finished second to world champion Kirani James of Grenada in a time of 44.46.  

That 400m final at London’s Olympic Stadium was immediately preceded by the medal ceremony for the men’s 400m hurdles, which saw the great Sanchez climb on to the top of the podium for his second Olympic title. Recalling that special moment for Dominican athletics, Santos said: “It was a great honour and an enormous motivation for me to hear the national anthem right before my race.” 

©JASON EVANS 

“I am very pleased with all the effort I’ve put in. I’ve really worked for it,” he said after his London 2012 silver, contemplating his status as one of the world’s top athletes. “I can’t even put it into words. I felt so emotional when I crossed the finish line and I felt that all my hard work had paid off. It’s taken years and years of sweat and toil to get here and compete against the best.”  

In following his idol’s footsteps, and making the journey from Singapore to London, Santos has himself set an inspirational example for the next generation of Dominican athletes.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

International Sailing Regatta, first Rio 2016 test event, brings 23 Olympic medallists to city

July 30th, 2014

Judoka Lucie Decosse is ready to share her knowledge

July 29th, 2014

France’s Lucie Decosse is regarded as one of the greatest judokas of all time, and not without good reason. A three-time world champion and four-time European champion, she won silver at Beijing 2008 and gold at London 2012, and was world number one in the 63kg class until 2008, and then in the 70kg through to her retirement in 2013.

Decosse will be travelling to the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games as an Athlete Role Model (ARM), ready to pass on her advice and experience to the young athletes who will come from all over the world to compete at the event. “It’s a real honour for me,” she says. “I took part in the 1998 World Youth Games in Moscow, which were a kind of forerunner of the YOG. It’s just amazing to be mentoring young athletes at the end of my sporting career.

“It’s like I’ve come full circle. I’ll be looking on it as a new experience for me though, as an accomplished sportswoman who’s reached the end of her career and is ready to share everything she knows.”

The learning curve

“You have to look on sport as a question of performance but also as a school of life,” she adds. “You need to give the very best of yourself, while learning from the values of sport in shaping your personality. In trying to get that across to young athletes in my new role, I’ll be drawing on my experience.”

Decosse is just one of a number of ARMs who will be on hand at the 2014 YOG. Hailing from all over the world and from a wide range of disciplines, her fellow role models will include athletes young and old, some of whom are still competing.

“I’d like to share my views with them as well and see how they’ve gone about their careers in their countries,” she continued. “I feel very honoured to have been chosen by the International Judo Federation. There are a lot of judokas around and I’m very happy they thought of me.”

She says that one of the key messages she will be passing on to competitors at the YOG is the need for perseverance. “I took part in three Olympic Games before I finally won gold. I worked hard, without knowing if I was going to succeed. So my message to them will be this: “You have to keep on working, stick with it through to the end, and keep on believing.

“Sport helps you develop as a person because you set objectives and try to reach them,” she added. “That’s something that also applies in everyday life and it’s an advantage to be able to start so young.

“You mustn’t forget that sport is also a source of pleasure and you have to remember you’re part of a team too. Judo is an individual sport, but I competed with team-mates, coaches and friends around me throughout my career. You can’t succeed on your own.”

 

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

The Nanjing 2014 sports: Canoe and kayak

July 29th, 2014

A total of 64 athletes, 34 of them male and 30 female, will be taking part in the eight canoe-kayak events (men’s and women’s K1 and C1 flatwater and slalom) to be held at the Nanjing Rowing and Canoeing School.  

Though flatwater events usually see kayakers and canoeists race in lanes down a straight course over distances of 200m, 500m and 1,000m, the canoe-kayak competitions at the Youth Olympic Games involve athletes competing against each other in head-to-head races on a figure-of-eight course measuring 420 metres.  

©IOC

Starting at the same time at opposite ends of the course, the two athletes paddle in opposite directions, executing a left turn and a right turn, and complete the course when they cross the line from which their opponent started. The four flatwater competitions begin with a qualifying round, with the eight best athletes going through to the quarter-finals, which are followed by the semi-finals and the final medal round.  

Women’s flatwater canoeing is not included on the Olympic Games programme, which only features women’s kayak sprint competitions only. Another difference is that all of the flatwater events at the YOG are individual races.  

Slalom with a twist 

©IOC/Rayney Chew

The slalom events at Nanjing 2014 also mark a departure from the norm, with no specially built artificial courses or hanging gates.  Competitors will start at the same time, dropping from a ramp before slaloming their way down identical parallel courses – measuring around 60 metres – in opposite directions. After negotiating four buoys on one side, they must then paddle their way up the adjacent course, navigating their way past the four other buoys as they go.  

The first athlete to reach the finish line, which is the line they started from, is declared the winner and goes forward to the next round, with the competition continuing until the last remaining pair fight it out for the gold medal. Four separate slalom competitions will be held: boys’ C1 and K1, and girls’ C1 and K1.  

As in the flatwater competitions, there will also be a girls’ canoe slalom competition at Nanjing 2014. This represents yet another difference from the Olympic Games, where the only women’s slalom event is contested by kayakers.

©IOC/Rayney Chew 

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Cycling – The Nanjing 2014 Sports

July 29th, 2014

The cycling programme at Nanjing 2014 includes all the traditional Olympic disciplines with the exception of track cycling: BMX, Mountain Bike Cross Country Olympic (XCO), Mountain Bike Cross Country Eliminator (XCE), Road Race and Road Time Trial. The difference is that all of the competitions at the YOG are team-based and not individual, with only three gold medals on offer, in the junior men, junior women and junior mixed team relay events.

The junior men’s and junior women’s events follow the same innovative format, with 32 two-rider teams starting each one. Both competitors in each team must ride in two of the following events, with only one team member competing per event: BMX, XCO, XCE and the time trial. Both riders are then required to compete in the road race. Points will be allocated at the end of each race as follows: 100 for first place, 80 for second, 65 for third and so on down to one point for 16th. Points awarded in the BMX race count double, with 200 going to the winner. The team that accumulates the highest points total wins the competition.


Mixed team relay

The two-rider team competitions take place over the first six days of the Games. Following a rest day on Day 7, the cycling action resumes on 24 August with the mixed team relay, featuring 32 teams of four riders (two women and two men). Where possible, each team will comprise four athletes from the same National Olympic Committee (NOC). If this is not possible, lots will be drawn to determine which teams will be made up from two different NOCs.

The format of this exciting competition is as follows: a men’s XCO race, followed by a women’s XCO race and then a men’s road race and a women’s road race, with one rider from each team competing in each event.

The competition takes place without interruption, with riders in each team “passing the baton” to each other by making physical contact in a specially designated handover zone. Should the contact be made outside this zone, the team in question will be disqualified. The team crossing the line first at the end of the fourth and final leg – the women’s road race – will be declared the winners.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games