Triathlete Dylan McCullough from Auckland has claimed New Zealand’s first medal of the Youth Olympic Games, winning gold against a stacked field in Buenos Aires.
“It was a very special feeling crossing the line,” McCullough said. “I didn't look back the whole run.”
The 18-year-old broke away to a 13 second lead in the run, after a tight-fought bike ride with Italy’s Alessio Crociani.
“At the changeover I could just hear everyone screaming 50 seconds! [The pack] are closing in,” he said.
“I thought it was pretty touch and go heading into the run so yeah… to look back on the finishing straight and know I couldn’t see them - it was very cool.”
There’s little time to celebrate, McCullough will line up alongside New Zealand teammate Brea Roderick for the Oceania team in the mixed relay, later in the Games.
McCullough’s gold adds to New Zealand’s strong history in triathlon at the Youth Olympic Games.
Aaron Barclay won at Singapore 2010, and Daniel Hoy placed second four years later at Nanjing 2014. New Zealand athletes also combined with the Australian pair in the Mixed Relay Team Event to win silver in 2010 and bronze in 2014.
In the pool 14-year-old Erika Fairweather set a New Zealand age group record, swimming 57.16s in the 100m freestyle to place 20th.
The 3x3 basketballers also made a strong start to their campaign, winning their first game against Andorra 21-16, before beating Venezuela 21-15 in their second match of the day.
“The first game was a bit shaky, a bit of first game nerves I think but we managed to pull it out of the bag and get it done,” said Joe Ahie.
“The second game we picked up the physicality way more and fixed those silly turnovers and played a lot better than in the first game,” said Max de Geest.
The 3x3 team now has a three-day rest before taking on Brazil and the Ukraine.
Judoka athlete Rihari Iki won one fight and lost two to finish 7th in the individual judo competition.
The 17-year-old had been training well but came up against a powerful Romanian in a tricky first bout.
“That first fight was tough, I got caught early on which I wasn’t happy about but I came back in the next fight and caught the guy put him down which was good.”
Iki will compete again in the team competition on October 10th.