Houlie makes his­tory in Buenos Aires

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VILLIERS ockert.dev­il­liers@inl.co.za

THE SOUTH African team has rea­son to be sat­is­fied with its per­for­mance in the first week at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, hav­ing won three medals.

The two gold and a sil­ver are al­ready an im­prove­ment on their per­for­mance from the 2014 Nan­jing Games, where they could only man­age one podium place.

They got their cam­paign off to an em­phatic start with Am­ber Sch­le­busch win­ning the coun­try’s first gold medal in the triathlon.

Yes­ter­day flag bearer Michael Houlie be­come the first swim­mer of colour to win an in­di­vid­ual medal in the pool at a ma­jor multi-sport event af­ter bag­ging the 50m breast­stroke gold medal.

Sch­le­busch turned in a gutsy per­for­mance com­ing from be­hind in the swim-cy­cle-run event to claim the vic­tory.

The 17-year-old from Durban pro­duced the fastest run­ning leg, cross­ing the line in a time of 58 min­utes 47 sec­onds which ul­ti­mately won her the ti­tle.

“I’m in this sort of dis­be­lief right now; it feels amaz­ing and I re­ally can’t be­lieve it,” Sch­le­busch said.

“Now I can say, ‘I’m the Youth Olympic cham­pion. It’s a pretty good ti­tle to have, so I’m re­ally stoked.

“It was a bad swim but then I caught up on the run. I’m re­ally happy to end up feel­ing so strong.”

Houlie brushed off the dis­ap­point­ment from Tues­day, where he missed out on a medal in the 100m breast­stroke fi­nal. af­ter tak­ing the race out too fast, only to fin­ish in fifth place.

More adept over the sprint dis­tance, Houlie smashed into the wall in his pet 50m breast­stroke event in a time of 27.51 sec­onds for the ti­tle.

He de­nied China’s Ji­a­jun Sun the 50-100m breast­stroke dou­ble, touch­ing ahead of him.

Sun posted a time of 27.85 for sec­ond with Canada’s Alexan­der Mi­lanovich tak­ing bronze in 27.87.

Duné Coet­zee be­came the first South African fe­male to medal in the pool at the Youth Games win­ning sil­ver in the 200m but­ter­fly. She Coet­zee posted a new South African age-group record, clock­ing 2:11.71.

“It has been one of my life­long dreams to be­come a Youth Olympic cham­pion so def­i­nitely dreamt about this mo­ment,” Coet­zee said.

“I ac­tu­ally only re­mem­ber the mo­ments af­ter the race and when I re­ceived my medal and see­ing my par­ents.

“Ev­ery­thing was amaz­ing and I can’t ac­tu­ally ex­plain the feel­ing.”

EPA-EFE

MICHAEL James Houlie of South Africa com­petes in the men’s 50m breast­stroke event at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires

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