Published Monday 25 August 2014

The New Zealand team saw gold again on day eight of competition at the Youth Olympic Games. Emily Fraser rode three clear rounds to boost the medal count to six.

SHOW JUMPING

Emily Fraser rode horse Exilio to victory in the Show Jumping today, capping off two clear rounds with a 39.75 second round in the jump off.

Fraser defeated silver medallist Martina Campi from Argentina and bronze medallist Jake Hunter from Australia to take the victory after two rounds of jumping and then the final jump-off to determine the top three placings.

The 18-year-old from Feilding described her first round of the day as “the best ride of my life” but was joined by three other riders who had double clears.

The four horses and riders needed to jump again to determine the top three, knowing that one would come away without a medal.

Fraser was up first of the four riders in the jump-off and had the decision to ride for time or a no-fault round.

“I had a strategy to go clear and post an alright time, but as long as I left the rails up,” said Fraser. She succeeded in this goal and even posted the eventual fastest time.

Trainer Sally Clark said that Fraser had a tough draw, being the first double clear in the opening two rounds and then being the first in the jump-off.

“Going first like that is quite tough, but then in this situation it worked in her favour,” said Clark. “She put the others under pressure.”

Fraser said the nerve-racking jump off was a case of “riding for my life.” She exited the arena and watched each of the other three riders jump the course, with two knocking over a rail and the other posting a clear round but with a slower time.

“I just hugged my horse, I was so excited and I burst into tears,” said Fraser, describing the moment when she knew the gold was hers.

Fraser’s father Donald Fraser, who was watching from the stands with the entourage of family and friends, described the moment as “incredible” and said he was “immensely proud” of his daughter.

“To come out first under that pressure, jump clear, to put a good time down and to put the challenge on everybody else is unbelievable,” he said.

A teary-eyed Emily Fraser came away from her victory lap and into the arms of her coach.

“I am over the moon excited, I’m the happiest person alive,” she said.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

The New Zealand beach volleyballers have finished competition at the Youth Olympic Games, falling 2-0 against Thailand in the elimination rounds.

The weather cooperated for the first time in days, dropping below 30 and providing some rain to toughen the sand. But the players Nathaniel Moore, 18, Tauranga, and Kahurangi Robinson, 17, Rotorua, struggled against their Thai counterparts, losing the first set 21-11.

“They played poorly in the first set,” said Coach Darrell Boyd, but continued to speak about the team’s strengthening game.

“They had more accuracy in their passing and they began to break down the opposition a little bit more,” said Boyd. “But we never quite got the lead in the match to give us the impetus to move forward.”

The team will continue to play together, even with the distance between the players. Moore said that Robinson, from Rotorua, was often up at the Mount for training, so they will continue training heading in to the New Zealand tour, which begins in September.

The team finished 17th in the competition and will use this experience to hone their passing skills and technical elements, according to Moore.

SAILING

Each of the sailors ended their competition today, one that was filled with delays and cancellations due to lack of wind.

While the wind came to the course in abundance today, it brought with it tricky conditions for the sailors to navigate.

Coach Bruce Kendall described the conditions as “the most difficult I’ve seen this year, anywhere in the world.”

The windsurfers, Coral Headey, 15, Tauranga, and Finn Croft, 16, Auckland, had difficult races to navigate.

Headey finished 15th in her final race, resulting in a 16th placing for the overall competition.

“I’d like to be higher, I know I can be higher,” said Headey. “I’m really happy with what’s been happening and I can see there’s a lot of potential to really get up there.”

Croft came in 8th in the final race, resulting in a 6th overall final placing, an improvement on the 56th placing for Croft at his last international competition at the Bic Techno under-17 World Championships in Soprot, Poland last year.

“To finish 6th at this event is a massive improvement from last year,” said Kendall. “He really shocked a lot of the international sailors.”

Croft, however, was disappointed to miss out on a podium finish. “I feel good but I was so close from doing much better, so I’m a bit disappointed,” said Croft.

The Byte CII racer, Alistair Gifford, 15, Blenheim, came in 19th and finished 10th in an evenly matched fleet.

“The fleet that he was sailing in was really tough,” said Bruce Kendall, pointing out that Asri Azman of Malaysia, who won the event, was 19th in his first race.

“The mixes of the results showed how equal the fleet was,” said Kendall.

Gifford spoke of his frustration with the race, pointing out his mistake in not being able to tear it off seaweed quick enough from the centre board.

“It’s just annoying, because at one point in the race I was doing really well,” said Gifford. “But that mistake put me back and then I just got swallowed up in the fleet.”

BASKETBALL

The 3x3 men’s basketball team ended the round games today with a close 18-16 loss to Russia.

“I’m happy with the effort,” said Coach Anthony Corban. “Just our execution that last minute of the game in offense and decision making wasn’t good, it gave Russia an opportunity and they pounced on it.”

The game was for the 2nd and 3rd position in the table, while tomorrow will be single elimination.

“It’s just those little things we’ve got to learn because tomorrow there’s no chance, said Corban. “But we’re several notches up from yesterday, we’re progressing.”

The team will play move to the final 16 tomorrow.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

The women’s hockey team won 4-3 against South Africa, firing up to score two goals in the first third and proceeding to score one for each of the final two thirds.

“They made the most of South Africa receiving two yellow cards,” said Coach Verity Sharland. “They used the advantage of having the extra player and ensuring they had quality shots on goal.”

But the South African team fought back in the final third, scoring all three goals in the last 12 minutes of the game and leading to a close finish between the two teams.

“We’re still searching for a consistent three periods,” Sharland continued.

The team will be playing Uruguay for 5th and 6th on Tuesday at 9.30pm (NZ).

GOLF

The golf mixed doubles team of Julianne Alvarez, 18, Lower Hutt, and Nick Coxon, 18, Hamilton, are four under par after round one today.

The team is sitting on a score of 68 after the 18 holes, along with four other countries and will resume play tomorrow at 12.30pm (NZ)