x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Ruta Meilutyte secures second gold in the pool at Youth Olympic Games

In the women’s discus, the UAE’s Fatma Al Hosani threw a personal best of 37.20 metres in qualifying, but her 13th place finish was not enough to make Saturday’s final.

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte was a star at the 2012 Olympics and has not slowed down at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. Johannes Eisele / AFP
Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte was a star at the 2012 Olympics and has not slowed down at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. Johannes Eisele / AFP

NANJING, China // London Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte finished more than two seconds ahead of her nearest rival in the women’s 100 metres breaststroke final on Wednesday to claim her second gold medal of the Youth Olympic Games.

Meilutyte will now head to Berlin for the European Championships, where she will compete in the 50m breaststroke.

The Lithuanian, who won in one minute, 5.39 seconds, was not the only Olympic champion at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on Wednesday.

Read more: Youth Olympics put focus on mental health disorders

South African Chad le Clos, who won gold in the 200m butterfly in London, watched the action in his role as Youth Olympic Games ambassador and had some words of advice for the young swimmers.

“I was told as a kid that I wasn’t a good butterfly swimmer and that I was never going to make it as a pro,” he said on the Games official website. “I never listened to those people.”

Le Clos won a gold, three silver and a bronze medal at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore in 2010.

“If it wasn’t for competing in the 2010 Singapore YOG, I wouldn’t have achieved my success at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the World Championship in 2011 and at London 2012 – no doubt about it,” he said.

The 13-day multi-sport event, which debuted in Singapore four years ago, kicked-off on something of a sour note at the weekend when Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria withdrew because of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Organisers are pleased with the interest being shown by locals, and crowds having been pouring into the venues to see the 14 to 18-year-old athletes compete.

The closing ceremony is on August 28.

In the women’s discus, the UAE’s Fatma Al Hosani threw a personal best of 37.20 metres in qualifying, but her 13th place finish was not enough to make Saturday’s final.

Read more: UAE looking at the Youth Olympics through a wide-angle lens

At the Xuanwu Lake Rowing-Canoeing venue, Krystsina Staraselets of Belarus was delighted to take the gold medal in the women’s junior singles sculls but dismissed comparisons with compatriot and double Olympic champion Ekaterina Karsten.

“She has been a hero of mine all my life,” she said. “She was winning championships before I was born but I don’t want to compare myself to her so early in my career.”

There were no surprises in the table tennis competition, where Fan Zhendong and Liu Gaoyang took the men’s and women’s singles titles for China.

The Australian women’s rugby sevens team finished the Games unbeaten after thumping Canada 38-10 in Wednesday’s final, while France avenged a group loss to Argentina to win the men’s final 45-22.

“After the semi-final against Fiji we knew we had a huge final ahead of us. We had to give ourselves, our body, our lives – everything,” said France’s Arthur Retiere.

“It was sort of a revenge because we lost the first game, but we knew we could do it and, now we have done it, it is time for fun.”

Rugby sevens makes its debut at the regular Olympics at the 2016 Rio Games.

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