NANJING China (Reuters) - Big things are expected of world record holder and Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and the Lithuanian did not disappoint on Monday, cruising to gold in the women’s 50 meters breaststroke final.
The 17-year-old, who won 100m breaststroke gold at the London Games two years ago and holds the 50m world record, cruised home in a time of 30.14 seconds ahead of German Julia Willers (31.78) and Hungary’s Anna Sztankovics (31.84)
Also on Day 2 of competition in China, Ukraine’s Pavlo Korostylov blocked out the crowd noise and music, not to mention the pressure of performing in front of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, to win gold in the men’s 10m air pistol.
Among the 19 gold medals up for grabs on Monday, Britain’s Ben Dijkstra won the men’s triathlon title but had to wait more than an hour for his win to be confirmed.
Dijkstra and New Zealand’s Daniel Hoy crossed the line together after almost an hour of swimming, cycling and running and when a photo finish gave the Briton the win, New Zealand filed a protest, which proved unsuccessful.
”It was quite tense but I‘m glad it went this way in the end,” Dijkstra said. ”It was such a good race, and Danny’s such a good athlete. I‘m really pleased with the result and that I’ve got this gold medal now.”
Some 3,800 athletes are taking part in the second edition of the Youth Games, which debuted in Singapore four years ago. The Games, which close on Aug. 28, are open to athletes aged 14-18.
One of the highest profile athletes in Nanjing is Lithuania’s Meilutyte, who was in a different class to her 50m breaststroke rivals on Monday.
Meilutyte, who set a world record of 29.48 in the event at the world championships in Barcelona last year, is also entered in the 100m breaststroke in Nanjing, as well as the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
In rugby sevens, Argentina’s men and Australia’s women remain the only unbeaten teams after Monday’s games. Fiji, one of the favorites for the men’s title, lost twice on Monday, to France and Argentina.
China’s women beat Tunisia 34-0 and the United States 29-7 on Monday, while Australia thrashed the Americans 38-0 and routed Spain 41-0.
Rattanaphon Pakkaratha won the women’s 53 kg weightlifting title to earn Thailand’s first gold of the Games, which kicked-off on Sunday without Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria after they withdrew because of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
The IOC had banned three west African athletes from competing in combat sports and pool events in China as a precaution after the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in the region.
IOC President Bach said on Saturday that following the move, taken after discussion with the World Health Organisation, the governments of Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone had opted against allowing their athletes to compete in the 13-day multi-sport event.
Writing by Peter Rutherford in Seoul, editing by Pritha Sarkar