Swimmer Roxanne Yu and triathlete Vicky Deldio gave their best for the Philippines at the first day of action of the 2nd Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Buoyed by the animated support from the Philippine delegation at the stands, Roxanne Ashley Yu achieved her fastest swim against the world’s best backstrokers Sunday but failed to make it to the medal round of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
The 16-year-old Yu clocked one minute 05.16 seconds to place fourth in the second heat of the women’s 100-meter backstroke, improving on her previous best of 1:05.20, at the Olympic Sports Center Natatorium here.
“When my name was called, I could hear our delegation cheering and that felt so nice,” said Yu.
“It was my best time and I’m happy with that. Being in the YOG with the best young swimmers in the world is a different feeling.”
Triathlete Vicky Evania Deldio shared Yu’s sentiment although she found the opposition tougher to deal with. She finished 32nd in the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5K-run test of endurance at the Xuanwu Lake triathlon venue.
Exploiting the cool weather, Australia’s Brittany Dutton captured the gold medal in 59 minutes and 56 seconds. Stephanie Jenks took the silver (1:00:33) and Emilie Morier of France claimed the bronze (1:00:55).
Deldio, a University of the Philippines freshman, clocked 1:14:07 after posting split times of 13:08 in the swim, 37:11 in the bike and 22:26 in the run.
Only two SEA triathletes
One of the only two triathletes from Southeast Asia here, Deldio, who hails from Subic in Zambales, wound up eight minutes behind Singapore’s Denise Chia.
The 16-year-old Deldio trained in China, South Korea and Portugal and made it to the global competition for the best athletes 18 years and younger after placing fifth in a qualifying event in Kazakhstan in June.
Yu finished 26th in the 33-swimmer heats.
Only the top 16 made it to the medal round with Clara Smiddy of the United States posting the best time in the heats with 1:01.73. Brazil’s Natalia de Luccas was second fastest (1:02.05) and Danielle Hanus of Canada third (1:02.19).
Yu, an athletic scholar at British International School in Phuket, Thailand, will return for the women’s 200m backstroke on Tuesday.
“I’ll be back on Tuesday and again I will try to do my best,” she said.
Artistic gymnast Ava Loreign Verdeflor will see action on Monday while trackster Zion Rose Nelson will race in the heats of the 400 meters on Wednesday.
The Games welcomed over 3,600 athletes from 202 countries during the spectacular opening ceremony Saturday night.
About 60,000 spectators were treated to fireworks and dances at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Stadium. The dazzling performances were highlighted by the “dream tower,” a 40-meter human structure built on the sturdy shoulders of 120 wushu acrobats.
Filipino officials present during the opening rites were International Olympic Committee representative Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, POC chair Tom Carrasco and secretary general Steve Hontiveros.
After the parade of delegations, where each country was represented by a flag-bearing athlete, IOC president Thomas Bach and Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee head Li Xueyong delivered speeches before Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the Games open.
Olympic champion diver Chen Ruolin set the YOG cauldron ablaze for the competition that will end on Aug. 28.