Published Sunday 24 August 2014

It was a mixed day for New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games today, the highlight being show jumper Emily Fraser's clear round in the first day of the equestrian competition. 

SHOW JUMPING

It was a stellar day for Emily Fraser, 18, Feilding, in the show jumping today, with a clear round on Exilio putting her in a strong position going in to day two of competition.

The course was described by Fraser and coach Maurice Beatson as straight forward, but with jump eight almost proving costly for the horse and rider.

“I came in and two strides in, I couldn’t see the spot," said Fraser. "There’s a perfect spot for your horse to take off on and I was very close to hitting the jump.”

But Exilio was able to pull up and take the jump without knocking down one of the barriers, which would have resulted in a four-point penalty.

“She rode very well except for one fence," said Beatson. "She did a very good job and we’re pretty happy to be on zero."

Fraser is tied for first with nine other riders, so will need to have another clear round tomorrow in order to move through to the jump off.

“I’m a bit excited and overwhelmed with my round,” said Fraser after the event. 

She will return for round two at 7.30pm tomorrow.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

The women’s hockey team had a disappointing end to their medal campaign today with a 7-1 loss to Japan.

“We improved as a team on our performance,” said Tayla White, 17, Auckland. “Our structure was better than previous games.”

But the team faced tough opposition from the Japanese side, with Frances Davies, 17, Tauranga, describing the team as being “really quick on the turnovers” meaning the kiwi team was forced to back into the defensive positions throughout the game.

Coach Verity Sharland said the girls were “much better defensively” against the Japanese team.

“They were much better in front of the cage,” she said. “Japan were definitely the better team today, but our girls played to the end.”

KAYAK

Kayaker Kensa Randle, 15, Alexandra, had a difficult start in her events today, falling out of her kayak in the sprint K1.

Coach Nikki Whitehead said Randle was “looking really good” coming out of the start, but got her paddle and rudder caught in the line between the buoys and flipped the boat.

“She has turned it around and is taking some positives out of the circumstances,” said Whitehead, describing Randle’s reaction to the race.

Randle will continue on to race in the Slalom on Tuesday.

BASKETBALL

The men’s 3x3 basketball team fell to Brazil today in their first game, just missing the win in a score of 9-8.

Izayah Mauriohooho-Leafa, 17, said the team “weren’t playing the set and weren’t looking at the time” resulting in a loss for the team. The players had four hours to recover before going on court again.

The second game against Romania was a lot stronger for the team, taking the win 19-15. Raymond Penny, 18, Auckland, turning his game around scoring zero points in the first game and 11 points in the second.

Coach Anthony Corban said the team “shot the ball a lot better in the second game” and will be playing Russia tomorrow at 11.20pm (NZ)

MEN’S HOCKEY

The men’s hockey was prevented from moving through to the medal rounds today, falling 3-0 to South Africa in the quarter-finals.

It was a game of penalties and frustration for the players. The game started out strong for the New Zealand athletes, conceding one goal in the first third but playing a strong offensive game.

Assistant Coach Lincoln Churchill said the players “couldn’t finish.”

“We struggled to do things well,” he said. “Everything that could go wrong did.”

The team will play again on Monday for the 5th and 6th placing game.