ZIMBABWE’S Brianagh Lindsay Clark on Tuesday wrote her own piece of history when she became the first athlete from this country to win a medal at the on-going 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Equestrian rider Clark, mounting El Roblecito Malaika, helped Team Africa to win a bronze medal in the International Team Jumping Event on Tuesday.
The five-member Team Africa of Clark, Egypt’s Ahmed Nasser Elnaggar, Anna Howard of Zambia, South Africa’s Hannah Garton and Margaux Koenig of Mauritius settled for a bronze medal in the International Team Jumping Event behind North America and Europe.
Clark spent 52 hours on planes and in airports to compete in equestrian at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
Her horse, however, arrived after a much shorter journey: the marvellously monikered mare, El Roblecito Malaika, is stabled local to the competition venue, Club Hipico Argentino. Every rider-and-horse partnership in the Youth Olympic Games events had just three training sessions to get to know each other before competition began on Monday.
“I have spent as much time as I can with the horse,” Clark said. “I spend a lot of time not jumping her, just on the flat (ground), adapting and learning about how she likes to move.”
The 17-year-old is among 30 riders at the Youth Olympic Games who are competing on “borrowed” mounts – quality jumping horses provided by generous supporters of the sport in Argentina.
The teenagers were allotted mounts by a draw after arriving at the Games, then had to quickly get to grips – literally – with their new partners.
The event featured six continental teams of five riders and, after the first round on Monday, Tuesday’s second round and a jump-off between Europe and North America decided the medals.
North America emerged victorious following a perfect round by the final rider, Mattie Hatcher (USA), on Santa Rosa Valery.
Clark’s team, Africa, settled for the bronze medal.
Equestrian continues tomorrow, when the individual jumping event begins with Clark representing Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe junior women’s field hockey 5s side waved goodbye to their chances of fighting for a medal at this year’s Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires after going down 7-0 to China in their third Pool B preliminary round match on Tuesday.
This was the Zimbabweans’ third straight defeat in Pool B after having been hammered 10-0 by Australia on Sunday before they were edged 2-1 by Poland the following day. Tuesday’s thrashing by China saw them anchoring Pool B with two more matches to go against Mexico and Namibia.
In Tuesday’s match against China, Zimbabwe found themselves 6-0 down at half-time after their Asian opponents struck the board six times without reply through field goals by Meirong Zou (1st and 4th minute), captain Ning Ma (2nd and 9th minute), Yangyan Gu (6th minute) and Wengyian Cai (10th minute), according to reports from Buenos Aires.
Gu scored another field goal for the Chinese in the 18th minute to complete their 7-0 drubbing of the Zimbabweans who leaked 19 goals by the time they were scheduled to play Mexico in their fourth Pool B match late yesterday.
Zimbabwe will play their final Pool B match today against fellow African side Namibia.
In the junior women’s field hockey 5s, Zimbabwe are being represented by Munashe Dangare, captain Simone Herbst, Taya Trivella, Lilian Pope, Gugulethu Sithole, Alexei Terblanche, Mercedes Beekes, Natalia Terblanche and Adrienne Berkhout.
They are under the guidance of coach Tendayi Maredza while Florence Mhasho is the team manager.
In judo, Zimbabwe’s Christie Pristorius (15) lost her women’s -78kg elimination round of 16 match against Ester Svobodova of the Czech Repoublic but she went on to beat Shakida Narmukhamedova of Kyrgyzstan in the repechage first round of eight before losing to Ecuador’s Edith Ortiz in the next round to bow out of the competion on Tuesday.
Another Zimbabwean athlete, swimmer Liam Davis (18) was scheduled to take part in the heats of the men’s 200m breaststroke event yesterday while female middle-distance runner Privilege Chikara (16) is expected to take part in the opening heats of women’s 1 500m event tomorrow.
In rowing, Zimbabwe’s Lorryn Bass (17) was yesterday scheduled to race in the junior women’s single sculls Round 6 Final against Grace Ndagire of Uganda, Taipei’s Ani Hsu and Joy Khouri of Lebanon.
Another Zimbabwean rower David Maonga (16) was also scheduled to compete in the junior men’s single sculls Round 6 Final against Jaheed Thomas of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Martin Tamoaieta of Kiribati.
And the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee have congratulated the Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, for being appointed by the International Olympic Committee as the chairperson of the 2022 Senegal Youth Olympic Games Co-ordination Committee.
“Congratulations to Honourable Dr Kirsty Coventry on her appointment by the IOC as the Chairperson of the Senegal Youth Olympic Games Coordination Committee 2022. We wish her all the best in her new appointment,” ZOC said in a brief statement.
Coventry is currently in Buenos Aires where she is the chef de mission of Team Zimbabwe at the on-going 2018 Youth Olympic Games and was on Monday appointed by the IOC to oversee Senegal’s preparations for the next edition of these Games in four years time.
This is the first time that an African country has been chosen to host an Olympic event (youth or regular).