Archive for October, 2014

Marcus D’Almeida dreaming of Rio 2016 glory as Sambódromo hosts archery for first time

October 31st, 2014

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Rio 2016

Rio 2016 announces plans to reduce carbon footprint of Olympic and Paralympic Games

October 30th, 2014

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Rio 2016

YOG gold medallist Yuka Sato wins first national title and sets sights on Tokyo 2020

October 29th, 2014

With the crowd supporting her in their thousands, Sato quickly set the pace as the first of the 54 athletes out of the water. Into the bike section, Sato joined a group of seven early on which went on to create a 30-second gap away from the chase group, which included two-time Olympian and 2014 Asian Games Champion Ai Ueda. While Ueda clocked the fastest lap in the final 10k run and tried to close the gap, 22-year-old Sato was strong enough to edge out the runner-up.

Sato said, “I am extremely happy to win this national title today. It was my eighth attempt since I first participated in this race when I was 15, and I finally made it! I promise to stay focused on my training and come back to the top of this podium next year. And, of course, I want to achieve my dream to compete in the Olympic Games, here on my home turf, Tokyo 2020!”

Sato became the first-ever Youth Olympic Games champion at the inaugural event in Singapore in 2010 when she was 18 years old. While the Japanese women’s field was too tough to clinch an Olympic place for London 2012, Sato has been regularly competing in the ITU’s top-tier World Triathlon Series, with her eyes on Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. 

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Culture and Education Programme offers food for thought in Nanjing

October 29th, 2014

“A touch of talent, a hint of love and a little bit of passion all sprinkled with good humour, that’s the recipe for great food. It’s as simple as that,” explained Carl Shi, the chef leading young athletes in the Healthy Eating Zone in the Nanjing Youth Olympic Village, which formed part of the Culture and Education Programme at the YOG.

Guided by the YOG’s Young Ambassadors, the athletes were able to learn how a healthy and balanced diet is key to staying healthy as well as a having a long and successful athletic career.

“They’re really busy,” continued Shi. “They train, train and train some more. They never have time. But it doesn’t take long to cook something healthy and that’s what we’re trying to encourage.”

“We focus on the importance of having a balanced diet,” explained Jenna Ballam, a sports nutritionist involved in the activity.

“Having a varied diet, making sure to include enough protein and carbohydrates, eating lots of vegetables but also about eating before a competition, what you need to recover properly and how to stay well hydrated,” she added.

The Healthy Eating Zone served up plenty of food for thought, and judging by the crowds that packed around the stand every day, and the enthusiasm shown by the youngsters donning chefs hats and aprons, the message clearly hit home.


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Giant beds for giant athletes… Rio 2016 tests furniture for Olympic and Paralympic Village

October 29th, 2014

Powerhouses put on a show of strength in Nanjing

October 28th, 2014

Easy does it for Meng Cheng

China’s Meng Cheng got the ball rolling in the men’s weightlifting competition on 17 August by easing to victory in the 56kg event.

After lifting 128kg at the third attempt in the snatch, Meng successfully hoisted 155kg in the clean and jerk to finish comfortably ahead of Vietnam’s Tuan Nguyen Tran Anh and Uzbekistan’s Adkhamjon Ergashev, who tied on 243kg. The Vietnamese lifter was awarded the silver medal on account of weighing a little under half a kilo less than Ergashev.

The consummate showman, Meng preceded each of his lifts by walking slowly to the stage, carefully chalking his hands and glancing up at the audience. His pre-lift routine continued with a trademark grunt as he placed his left and then his right hand meticulously on the barbell, which, more often than not, he then powered effortlessly over his head.

“I’m very proud I won gold for China and I am grateful to the spectators,” said the gold medallist.  “I was nervous and I gained a lot of confidence. I am looking forward to taking part in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. This was not my best performance. I have done better in training.”

“This is a great victory for me,’’ said Ergashev after collecting the bronze. “I’m very proud to get the bronze medal for my country. Meng is very strong and I can honestly say he was stronger than me.’’

Pak Jongiu clinches it in the clean-and-jerk

The 62kg competition on 18 August produced more than its fair share of drama, with Korea DPR’s Pak Jongju and Italy’s Mirko Zanni each lifting 120kg to share the lead after the snatch. It was Pak who took gold, however, putting 143kg into the air in the clean and jerk, with Zanni eventually having to settle for bronze after Thailand’s Sakda Meeboon lifted 144kg on his third and final attempt to clinch the silver by a single kilo.

Zanni was nevertheless elated with his place on the podium: “I feel incredibly excited. My two months of sheer hard work have paid off.” 

300 the golden number for Andreev 

In the 69kg category on 19 August, Bulgaria’s Bozidhar Dimitrov Andreev trailed Russia’s Viacheslav Iarkin by a single kilo after the snatch, but powered ahead in the clean and jerk, successfully hoisting 167kg with his final lift for a gold-medal winning total of 300kg, with Iarkin finishing second, 6kg adrift.

Letting out a loud whistle before each of his lifts, Colombia’s Andres Caicedo Piedrahita took the bronze with a total of 290kg, while Mikhail Makeyev of Kazakhstan and Cameron McTaggart of New Zealand, who finished fourth and tenth respectively, delighted the crowd by celebrating their final lifts with acrobatic backflips.

Mkrtchyan strikes gold for Armenia

On 21 August, Hakob Mkrtchyan won gold for Armenia in the 77kg event, lifting 142kg in the snatch and 177kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 319kg.

After hoisting 141kg in the snatch, India’s Venkat Rahul Ragala failed at 179kg with his final attempt in the clean and jerk and finished three kilos behind Mkrtchyan in second place.

Describing the competition as “very tough”, Ragala said of his failed last lift: “I ran out of oxygen”.

Egypt’s Ahmed Elsayed looked to have secured third with a final lift of 176kg, which would have given him a total of 311kg, only for the judges to disallow it and give him a revised total of 306kg. That allowed Kazakhstan’s Zhaslan Kaliyev to claim the bronze with a combined total of 310kg, much to the delight of his fans.

Khuvgaev cruises to gold

Russia’s Khetag Khuvgaev clinched gold in the 85kg event on 22 August, and claimed afterwards that victory had been a formality.

“It was easy,” he said after topping the podium. “I wasn’t worried. I knew I was going to win.”

Khuvgaev’s confidence was well founded. He began by lifting 150kg in the snatch – some 10kg more than anyone else in the first round – and eventually racked up a combined total of 355kg, fully 34kg more than his closest rival.

Uzbekistan’s Farkhodbek Sobirov clinched the silver medal by clean-and-jerking 174kg, with Egypt’s Mohamed Shosha taking the bronze after hoisting 178kg with his final lift to edge out Iran’s Reza Beiralvand by a single kilo.

Marvellous Martirosyan makes it look easy

On the final evening of the weightlifting competition at Nanjing 2014, on 23 August, Armenia’s Simon Martirosyan won gold in the +85kg division, setting a pace that proved too hot for the rest of the field.

Martirosyan’s starting weight in the snatch was 170kg, while silver medallist Tamas Kajdoci of Serbia opted to come in at 145kg.

After clean-and-jerking 205kg with his second attempt in the second round, the Armenian then left the crowd gasping by coolly lifting 221kg, nearly double his body weight, to secure the YOG title with a total of 391kg, 55kg more than Kajdoci.

France’s Anthony Coullet lifted 327kg to beat Iran’s Saeid Reza Zadeh Pir Alvan to the bronze.

Their tussle went down to the final lift, with Coullet clean-and-jerking 186kg while Alvan failed to raise 191kg, finishing four kilos adrift of the Frenchman.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever won anything in an international competition,” said Coullet, before casting an admiring glance at the gold medallist: “He strong, so strong, so so strong.”

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Volunteers keep us calm at crucial moments, says Olympic volleyball champion Giba

October 27th, 2014

Nanjing 2014: Champions of the future right on target in the men’s shooting

October 27th, 2014

Sharpshooting Korostylov bags gold

Ukraine’s Pavlo Korostylov was a picture of concentration as he won the men’s 10m air pistol final. Shrugging off the many distractions around him, which included music, cheering from the stands and the presence of IOC President Thomas Bach, he maintained his focus to shoot his way to gold with a score of 203.4.

Finishing more than three points behind him in second was Republic of Korea’s Kim Cheongyong, with France’s Edouard Dortomb coming in 24.8 points adrift of the winner.

“Today I shot just like I do in training, like I did at the European Championships,” Korostylov said. “I try not to think about anything. I keep an empty head.”

By the time he had taken his tenth shot, the ever-consistent Korostylov had begun to pull away from the field. Never shooting below 9.5, the Ukrainian scored more than ten with all but seven of his shots.

Urged to take up the sport in 2008 by his mother, who is herself a shooter, the 16-year-old showed with his cool performance in Nanjing that he has the resolve to fulfil his goal of qualifying for Rio 2016.

Silver-medallist Kim was delighted with his efforts and the lively, new competition environment: “The music was no problem at all, it was fun and games. I don’t care about the ranking.”

Equally pleased with his efforts was the 14-year-old Dortomb. “It’s extraordinary,” he said. “I concentrated on my shooting, and just did what I could.”

At the end of the competition the athletes were each congratulated by Bach, International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) President Olegario Vazquez Rana and ISSF Secretary General Franz Schreiber.

Yang cheers China with golden display

Expectations were high ahead of the men’s 10m air rifle final, with the eyes of the host nation focused on local hero Yang Haoran.

Though he has only been competing on the ISSF all-ages circuit for the last two years, Yang has already claimed a world championship gold medal, three World Cup gold medals and a silver.

The 18-year-old was in near-perfect form in front of his home crowd at the Fangshan Shooting Hall, snaring an eagerly anticipated gold with a score of 209.3, well clear of Armenia’s Hrachik Babayan in second and Istvan Peni of Hungary in third.

“People have been paying more attention to me,” said Yang in reference to the extra pressure of competing at home, before revealing how he maintains his focus: “I stay calm, pay attention to other things and take a deep breath.”

Concentrating on the job in hand despite the rapturous applause that greeted his every shot, Yang shot consistently in the high tens, scoring a perfect 10.9 with his fifth shot and finishing strongly with a 10.7 and 10.5 final to seal the gold.

Victory was all but his by the fourth series of shots, when he took a comfortable 2.9 point lead over his nearest rival.

In the battle for silver, Uzbekistan’s Vadim Skorovarov, the 2014 Asian junior champion, held all the aces before shooting three nines in his last four shots to slip out of the medal places. Babayan took full advantage of his opponent’s woes, firing in the low tens in the 16th and 18th series to secure the runners-up slot.

“Yang is a first-rank shooter, but I must always try for first place,” said Babayan, who added that he will be training every day in a bid to surpass Yang and also qualify for Rio 2016.

Bronze-medallist Peni also had words of praise for the winner, calling him “the best shooter in the world”.

“It was really hard [to shoot against Yang],” added the Hungarian. “I hoped that I could beat him but today he was the best, absolutely. I’m looking forward to the World Championships [in Granada, Spain] next month. I hope I will beat him there.”

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Learning and sharing in Nanjing

October 26th, 2014

Located in the heart of the Youth Olympic Village, the Athlete Role Models were on hand to share their experiences and help guide the young athletes.

Equestrian show jumper Samantha Lam from Hong Kong, China explained: “I’m here so that the young athletes can come and talk to me, ask any question they want about our experience, and to offer tips to help them in their careers. I think it’s really helpful for them.”

A huge range of topics were covered, ranging from injury prevention and career management to the risks of doping and illegal betting.

According to Philippe Furrer, head of the IOC Culture and Education Programme in Nanjing, “there are a huge number of critical subjects for young people starting out in their careers.”

Three-time modern pentathlon world champion Amélie Cazé of France described the Learn and Share Zone as “a great experience for the young athletes”.

“They can learn so many things thanks to the IOC,” she explained. “I would have loved this when I was 15! There’s the idea of Olympism, the atmosphere… This can only be positive for their future.”

Expanding on this theme, Furrer says that the ambassadorial role is very much something that will continue beyond the YOG. “They themselves will become model athletes. They’re aged 16, 17 or 18 and when they go back to their clubs, communities and schools after Nanjing they’ll become our ambassadors,” he explains.

“We want them to take away this knowledge, these skills, this passion and inspiration. The Learn and Share Zone should have an important impact on their lives,” he concludes.


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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Three gold medals and still hungry… Brazil’s 5-a-side footballers set sights on glory in Rio

October 24th, 2014