By Masa Takaya on 15/08/10 at 11:36 pm
The women’s individual triathlon race was decided by the land disciplines at East Coast Park on Sunday, with the medals going to the field’s strong cyclists and runners. Thirty-two young athletes from around the world stepped up to the starting line, in front of a robust crowd, to decide the first medal winners of the Youth Olympic Games.
Gold medallist Yuka Sato (JPN) displayed the most consistency throughout the race, never dropping below the top six. This is not surprising, given that the 18-year-old has already competed in five rounds in the elite level of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships this year. She is also the only one in the field to have come in the top 10 at the Gold Coast 2009 World Junior Championships (Amateurs).
Neither silver nor bronze medallists Ellie Salthouse (AUS) and Kelly Whitley (USA) were looking poised for a top three finish when they came out of the water in 23rd and 25th place, respectively. But Salthouse knew she had a good chance of medal, when she reached her favourite leg, the 5K run.
“I knew if I got to the front of the pack I was a stronger and faster runner than the rest of these girls,” Salthouse said. “Once I was in a good position in that pack I knew that it was possible (to finish in the top three). So in the last 2.5K I really went for it.”
Both she and Whitley surged past Sweden’s Annie Thoren, who came second in the swim leg and was holding onto first place after the cycle section.
“Swimming is my favourite discipline. I’m not a natural-born runner and it has taken me seven to eight years to get to this level,” Thoren said. “My coach says it will take me another seven to eight years to be the fittest I can be.”
Thoren finished the event in 15th place, almost four minutes off the pace.
Alessia Orla (ITA) looked like another strong contender after transitioning from the swim in second place, but as soon as she jumped on her bike she dropped to the middle of the field, eventually finishing in 19th place, 5min 24sec after the Japanese gold medallist.
(Published by Youth Olympics News Service evk/lh)
Find more details about this event - 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games