Japan claims first gold of inaugural Youth Games
Singapore: Japan`s Yuka Sato wrote her name in the history books on Sunday by becoming the first gold medal winner of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games when she won the triathlon.
The 18-year-old triumphed in Singapore with a commanding display ahead of Australia`s Ellie Salthouse and Kelly Whitley of the United States.
Sato was one of the favourites as the only triathlete in the field to clock a top-10 finish at last year`s World Junior Championships.
She lived up to expectations in the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike ride and 5-kilometre run discipline, eventually winning in 1 hour 49.69 seconds.
"I made it," said an ecstatic Sato, one of Japan`s most promising young athletes.
"I knew this would be the first contest in the Youth Olympic Games, which really got me motivated to go for gold. I really wanted to drive Team Japan."
While Sato was celebrating, South Korea`s Kim Hee-Sun was under observation in hospital after a nasty crash in the cycling leg.
Kim collided with Puerto Rico`s Cristina Luizzet Betancourt de Leon on a sharp bend and after being carried from the track on a stretcher was taken to hospital, where her condition was described as stable.
Betancourt de Leon was unable to complete the race after sustaining injuries to her forehead, right hand and leg.
The Youth Olympics, which run from August 14 to 26, are being held for the first time and feature 3,600 athletes aged 14 to 18 competing in the 26 Olympic sports.
The event is designed as a stepping stone for youngsters striving to compete at an Olympics proper, with some of the competitors expected to feature at London in 2012.