Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games preview

Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games preview

By Merryn Sherwood on 14/08/14 at 10:15 am

The second Youth Olympic Games kick off this Saturday August 16, in Nanjing China and triathlon will make its second appearance on the program.

YOG History
The inaugural Youth Olympic Games were contested in Singapore in 2010 and triathlon was the very first medal event. There, Japan’s Yuka Sato claimed the first gold, ahead of Australia’s Ellie Salthouse who claimed silver while the USA’s Kelly Whitley took the bronze. In the men’s triathlon competition, New Zealand’s Aaron Barclay took gold from the USA’s Kevin McDowell and Austria’s Alois Knabl (AUT). In the dynamic mixed relay format, which at the Youth Olympic Games is completed with continent-based teams rather than NOCs, it was Europe who took the first gold medal. Next week in Nanjing, it will be a new generation of triathletes who hit the Youth Olympic stage. Here is a snapshot of what to expect at the 2014 Games.

The Triathlon Competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games
The venue for the triathlon competition is Xuanwu Lake. The lake is in downtown Nanjing and was also known as Sang Lake or Hou Lake in ancient China. It is over 1500 years old and is the largest imperial lake garden in China, often praised as the “shining pearl of Jinling (another name for Nanjing)”.

The men’s and women’s competitions will be contested over a 750m swim in open water, a 20km bike, and a 5km run. In the 4x Mixed Relay event, each competitor will complete a 250m swim in open water, a 6.6km bike and a 1.8km run.

Women’s Competition
Each field has 32 participants, representing 32 different National Olympic Committees. In the women’s competition, South Africa’s Jayme-Sue Vermaas will wear the No.1 in Nanjing, she is the current African junior women’s cross triathlon champion and finished second in the junior women’s African championships this year.

Australian women have a history of success at all Olympic levels, having claimed a medal in the women’s competition at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and London 2012 Olympic Games. In Nanjing, Australia will be represented by Brittany Dutton, whose training partners include Glasgow Commonwealth Games representatives Emma Jackson and Dan Wilson.

In a field that will be tightly contested, the USA’s Stephanie Jenks is also one to watch. With a background in middle-distance track running, Jenks secured her spot in Nanjing with a 17:11 five-kilometre run split.

Ukraine’s Sofiya Pryyma is experienced on the European junior women’s circuit, having raced there since 2011.  Denmark’s Alberte Kjær Pedersen won a YOG qualifying event in Weert earlier this year, with Spain’s Carmen Gomez Cortes finishing just behind her and Great Britain’s Sian Rainsley, Russia’s Elizaveta Zhizhina, Germany’s Kristin Ranwig, France’s Emilie Morier, the Netherlands’ Kirsten Nuyes and Hungary’s Flóra Bicsák all having finished in the top 10 of that race. Both Gomez and Bicsák also recorded top-10 finishes in the junior women’s race at the 2014 European Championships.

There are also athletes from El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Bermuda, the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Singapore and many more. China’s Jingshuang Feng will be carrying the home nations hopes in Nanjing, while Japan’s Minami Kubono will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of inaugural Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Yuka Sato.

Click here to view the Youth Women’s start list

Men’s Competition
New Zealand are the reigning Youth Olympic champions in the men’s competition and Kiwi Daniel Hoy will be wearing the No.1. In an open-age sprint field, Hoy claimed a bronze medal in an Asian Cup sprint race Osaka earlier this year.

While many of the athletes haven’t raced each other in a major competition until Nanjing, one event where many of the European competitors clashed was in Weert, in a YOG qualifier. Great Britain’s Ben Dijkstrae came out on top in that field, with Russia’s Dmitry Efimov picking up the silver medal there and Germany’s Peer Sönksen collecting bronze. But Spain’s Alberto Gonzalez Garcia, Denmark’s Emil Deleuran Hansen, Austria’s Philip Horwarth, Hungary’s Bence Lehmann and Belgium’s Romain Loop also finished in the top 10 at that event.

The USA will be represented by Seth Rider, who won the PATCO YOG qualifier in Monterrey earlier in 2014. Canada’s Charles Paquet claimed the silver in that event and will line up in Nanjing. Jack Van Stekelenburg will be aiming to make the most of a late call-up to the Australian team, due to an injury to a teammate last month.

The men’s field is also incredibly diverse, with athletes representing Bermuda, Chile, Columbia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kazahkstan, Korea, South Africa, Venzuela and Zimbabwe.

Click here to view the Youth Men’s start list

Triathlon Competition at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games
Women’s Competition: Sunday August 17, 9:00am. Click here for time in your area.
Men’s Competition: Monday August 18, 9:00am. Click here for time in your area.
Mixed Relay Competition: Thursday August 21, 9:00am. Click here for time in your area.

Mixed Relay Competition
With each NOC having just one female and male athlete competing in the Youth Olympic Games event, the Mixed Relay takes on an exciting multicultural format. Teams are formed by continent (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania and World). There may be several teams per continent, i.e. Europe 1, Europe 2, etc. Each team is composed of two women and two men. Each athlete competes all three segments (swim, bike, run) before the relay is passed on to the next team member.

Composition of teams is based on the results of the individual competitions. Team 1 will be composed of the first ranked woman, first ranked man, second ranked woman and second ranked man for that continent. The remaining athletes will go into a world team. Start order within each team will be announced at the briefing to take place two days before the relay competition.

In Singapore, men’s competition individual bronze medallist Alois Knabl (AUT) edged out the gold medallist Aaron Barclay (NZL) in a thrilling finish in the final leg, claiming the gold medal for Team Europe 1 which included Eszter Dudas (HUN), Miguel Valente Fernandes (POR) and Fanny Beisaron (ISR).

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