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Hulley gets silver on second night of finals

24 August 2014

ATHLETICS: Sydneysider, Alex Hulley has secured Australia’s fifth medal in athletics on the second night of finals at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

The 17-year-old took out the silver medal in the women’s hammer throw, coming agonizingly close to clinching gold in a hotly contested A final.

“I’m stoked with the outcome, I don’t care that it wasn’t my best throw, it’s still amazing,” she said.

“The competition was great, there were some great throwers out there, it happens that today they didn’t perform as well as they wanted to, but I’m happy.”

As rain began to sprinkle, the girls stepped up for their first attempt. Hulley’s first throw of 63.23m had her sitting comfortably in the second spot but trailing China’s Xinying Xu, who hauled the hammer 67.70m.

In the second round, Hulley bettered herself with a throw of 66.81m, while Xu powered her throw into the net. Hulley found her groove on the third, launching it 68.35m which put her in the lead. Unfortunately for Hulley, her fourth and final throw hit the net, giving Xu one last chance to take gold.

In an amazing finish, Xu threw an identical length of 68.35 and was given the gold on a call back.

Hulley was the highest ranked competitor coming into the final and was extremely unfortunate not to convert that to gold.

On her qualifier...“That really boosted my confidence, I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself and expect a win or a medal so I still had to try hard and I knew the other girls were tough competition, they were so close to me,” she said.

Her only strategy...“Go out hard for every throw.”

On a night where field events were the main attraction for the Aussies at the YOG, Ned Weatherly also lined up in the A final of the men’s hammer throw.

Weatherly admitted that he felt a lot better heading into his qualifier 48 hours prior, but that didn’t stop him putting every ounce of energy into his throws. The Victorian’s best throw of 74.10m was not enough to challenge Ukrainian, Hib Piskunov, whose best haul of 82.65m secured the gold medal, with Weatherly finishing in fifth.

Never to be disheartened, Weatherly was still extremely happy has he exited the arena.

“It wasn’t the best performance, it wasn’t my PB, but I’m still over the moon! I’m ecstatic to be here tonight. It’s my first ever final at an international competition, I still can’t believe it myself. To finish fifth place here is absolutely fantastic,” the 16-year-old said.

“I was probably not as hyped up as in qualifications, first I was a little bit shaky which played with my head a little bit, next throw I got out fine but at the end of the day it was all really good.”

Grace Robinson contested the A final of the women’s shot put. She fought hard on a slightly damp field but after a fiercely contested final, the West Australian finished in seventh spot.

“Even though it wasn’t a good throw, I’m pretty happy to be at the Youth Olympics. It’s such a great opportunity,” the 15-year-old said.

Jordan Csabi was Australia’s last competitor of the night, he contested the men’s B final in the 200m sprint. The Queenslander was quick out of the blocks but dropped back in the pack early on. As the sprinters rounded the final bend and stared down the barrel of the final hundred, Csabi pumped his legs to challenge the front runners and ended up finishing in second place behind Aliffer Dos Santos of Brazil.

Though Csabi may not have achieved his goal of an A final, the teen still recognized that the YOG has had far more to offer.

“It’s been a great experience, of course the Youth Olympics is about so much more than just the running itself, there’s the education and all the people you meet,” he said.

Two more Aussies will go for gold in the morning session of day 6 of athletics. Tay-Leiha Clark (triple jump) and Emily Augustine (1500m) will line up in A finals, while Declan Carruthers will be flying high in the B final of the men’s pole vault.

Sam Rawlings

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