x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

South Korea has gold finish at Youth Games they want to replicate at Rio Olympics

Long the dominant force on the US LPGA Tour, South Korea’s women look to have set their sights on Olympic golfing glory after Lee So-young won the Youth Games gold medal on Thursday at Nanjing, China.

With gold at the Youth Olympics, Lee So-young wants to add to her medal collection at the Asian Games and Rio Olympics. Lintao Zhang / Getty Images
With gold at the Youth Olympics, Lee So-young wants to add to her medal collection at the Asian Games and Rio Olympics. Lintao Zhang / Getty Images

NANJING, China // Long the dominant force on the US LPGA Tour, South Korea’s women look to have set their sights on Olympic golfing glory after Lee So-young won the Youth Games gold medal on Thursday.

In one of 16 gold medals up for grabs on the fifth day of competition, Lee fired a final round of 65 at the Zhongshan International Golf Club to take the title.

Lee will get a chance to win more gold next month at the Asian Games in Incheon, west of South Korea’s capital Seoul.

“When I was young I dreamt of playing in the Asian Games, not the Olympics,” she said. “Next month I play in the Asian Games, so dreams do come true.”

Golf is returning to the Olympic schedule in 2016 for the first time since 1904. Also returning to the Olympic programme in four years is rugby, and International Rugby Board president Bernard Lapasset was delighted with the sevens competition in Nanjing.

“It is a huge moment for rugby,” Lapasset said on the Games’ official website.

“Thomas Bach was very impressed by the quality of the tournament. He said it was very fast and strong, and he said it will be a key sport for the Olympics.”

While rugby and golf hope to get a bounce from Olympic exposure, the sport of trampolining has been a fan favourite in Nanjing and China’s Zhu Xueying brought the crowd to its feet by winning gold in the women’s event.

Zhu brought her routine to an end with a terrific full-twisting double layout somersault that earned the highest difficulty and execution scores of the final.

“I’ve been training this routine for quite a long time and I got familiar with it,” she said.

“Even if I chose a safer one, I might not be able to perform it well.”

In the spirit of fostering friendships and creating harmony, one of the shooting events at the Youth Olympic Games features mixed international teams where athletes from different countries pair up to shoot for gold.

Those efforts to promote peace and understanding may have backfired after Ukrainian shooter Polina Konarieva overslept and did not arrive in time for the quarter-finals, leaving Moldovan team mate Ion Aric distraught.

“Yes, there was a lot of emotion. I did not know how to feel,” Aric said. “Why she was late, I don’t know why. She is not responsible for her action.

“I’m a little angry.”

Joy was the only emotion for Sara Ahmed, who claimed gold, Egypt’s first of the Games, in the women’s 63-kilogram weightlifting competition with a total lift of 228kg.

“Two years of hard work paid off,” she said. “This is the first Youth Olympic gold medal for Egypt, it is unbelievable.”

Francisco Serafin Calvelo Martinez will proudly show off his silver medal from the equestrian team event when he returns to Uruguay, though his mother will probably just be glad to have him home safe and sound.

The Uruguayan was a motocross rider eight years ago but was told to quit by his mother.

“His mother never liked motorcycles. She was worried that he might get hurt,” said Calvelo Martinez’s father, former 250cc racer Raul Calvelo Alpuy.

“But he has hurt himself more riding horses than in motocross.”

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