YOG stars prove their mettle with world titles

We pick out more eye-catching performances from former Youth Olympic Games athletes on sport’s biggest stages…

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BWF World Championships

With the 2018 BWF World Championships being held in Nanjing – host of the Youth Olympic Games 2014 – there were several former YOG stars who were competing on familiar ground. Among those to replicate their YOG success in the Chinese city was Shi Yuqi, who secured his first World Championship medal with silver in the men’s singles, after being crowned YOG champion in Nanjing just four years earlier.

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Shi’s Chinese compatriot He Bingjiao and Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi were also YOG medallists in 2014, winning gold and silver respectively, and they each added another Nanjing medal to their collection at the World Championships with bronzes in the women’s singles.

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It was a YOG graduate from Singapore 2010 who took top honours in China, however, with Spain’s Carolina Marín clinching her third world title to add to the Olympic gold she won in Rio. The 25-year-old has certainly come a long way since being eliminated at the quarter-final stage at the 2010 YOG.

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ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships

The 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships were held in Montemor-o-Velho, Portugal, from 22 to 26 August, with several YOG graduates taking part.

Brazil’s Isaquias Queiroz, who competed at the YOG Singapore 2010 and went on to win two silver medals and a bronze at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, added to his blossoming résumé with two world titles in Portugal. The 24-year-old clinched gold in the C1 500m before teaming up with Erlon Silva to win the C2 500m, and also added a bronze in the C1 1,000m.

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Among the other YOG stars to shine on the waters of Montemor-o-Velho were Nanjing 2014 gold medallist Kamila Bobr, of Belarus, who won gold in the C2 200m, and Sándor Tótka, the YOG Singapore 2010 gold medallist in the K1 head-to-head sprint, who clinched bronze in Portugal as part of the Hungarian K4 500m team.

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FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals

The 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour reached its conclusion in August, with the global circuit’s finals being held in Hamburg, Germany. And there were two YOG graduates who stole the show.

First, Norway’s Anders Mol – who competed at the YOG Nanjing 2014 – teamed up with compatriot Christian Sørum to win the men’s event with a 21–19, 21–17 victory over Polish duo Michał Bryl and Grzegorz Fijałek.

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And then Nanjing 2014 gold medallist Duda partnered with Rio 2016 silver medallist Ágatha Bednarczuk to clinch the women’s title. The Brazilian pair secured top spot by beating Czech partners Barbora Hermannová and Markéta Sluková 21–15, 21–19 in the final.

For Mol and Sørum, it was a fourth successive tournament victory, following wins on the World Tour in Gstaad and Vienna, coupled with a European title in the Netherlands, cementing their place as one of the most exciting young pairings on the global circuit.

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For Duda and Ágatha, meanwhile, their World Tour Finals victory avenged their defeat at the same stage in 2017, when they had to settle for second place after losing to Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.