Published Saturday 23 August 2014

New Zealand won its first gold at the Youth Olympic Games today, with Dylan Schmidt taking the title in the men’s trampoline gymnastics. This brings New Zealand's medal tally to five - one gold, one silver and three bronze.  

TRAMPOLINE

Dylan Schmidt earned New Zealand’s first gold on the medal table with a victory in the men’s trampoline.

Schmidt defeated Chinese favourite and longtime rival Changxin Liu. “I feel awesome,” said Schmidt after the competition. “I’ve wanted to do it for a long time, he’s the guy I wanted to beat.”

A mistake in Schmidt’s second routine and final qualifier almost proved costly, with one of his legs collapsing in takeoff. But the 17-year-old from Auckland fought back in the last five skills of the routine to move through to the final in 4th position.

It was the 3rd and final routine on the trampoline that saw Schmidt soar above his competitors, with a difficulty of 15.400, an execution of 24.600 and a 17.340 time of flight, resulting in an overall score of 57.340.

The winning score was ahead of Chinas’ Liu, who scored 56.935 and bronze medal winning Pedro Ribeiro Ferreira from Portugal, who scored 56.040.“It was pretty solid,” said Schmidt about his gold medal winning routine. “I know I can do better, but I’m happy under the circumstances how I went.”

The title at the Youth Olympic Games is a confidence booster for Schmidt, with both coach and athlete pointing out the difficult challenges from the past year. Heriot said that Schmidt “needed to be able to get up here today and prove himself to himself.”

“He did that,” Heriot said. “He’s back on track.”

The win for Schmidt comes at just the right time, before the New Zealand national championships and the World Championships in November.

“I’ve had my rough times in the last year,” said Schmidt. “To come out here in the biggest competition I’ve had in a long time and win, it’s crazy. It feels good.” 

BEACH VOLLEYBALL 

The men’s beach volleyball team of Kahurangi Robinson, 17, Rotorua, and Nathaniel Moore, 18, Tauranga, had their first loss on the court today in a tough match-up against Germany. Coach Darrell Boyd said the team “couldn’t follow the game plan” and played an “error ridden” game against the potential-finalists.

The kiwis fell 21-13 in the first set and 21-11 in the second. Even with the result, the team will move through to the single elimination games, which begin on Sunday. 

SAILING

The sailing was delayed again today due to no wind out on the water, which means windsurfers Finn Croft, 16, Auckland and Coral Headey, 15, Tauranga, as well as sailor Alistair Gifford, 15, Blenheim, will compete in the medal race tomorrow, beginning at 3pm (NZ).

BASKETBALL 

New Zealand played Spain today in the men’s 3x3 Basketball, winning 21-14 in a momentum filled game.

Coach Anthony Corban said the team “had a lot of energy for the defence” and was shooting 50 percent from the two-point line, always keeping a three or four point lead.

“The group is starting to evolve, training everyday and starting to mentally understand how to play 3x3 and support each other,” said Corban.

This is the 5th win for the kiwi team and will be moving through to the elimination rounds, but first have three tough games beginning tomorrow. They have a four-hour break between games, facing Brazil at 9.20pm (NZ) and Russia at 1.40am (NZ Sunday).