Amber Schlebusch claimed South Africa’s first gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in a spectacular race.
Amber Schlebusch, a 17 year old from Durban, South Africa pulled off a stunning comeback to win the women’s Triathlon Gold at the youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires 2018 on Sunday. Denmark’s Sifters Bendix Madsen, who led going into the run, took the silver and Anja Weber of Switzerland, the bronze.
Schlebusch lay seventh, fully 27 seconds behind the leaders, after the swimming section and then found herself eighth and nearly a minute adrift after the bike segment.
“I was a swimmer before triathlon and it’s funny that the swim now is my worst segment,” said the South African afterwards. “Not just today – swimming is usually my worst. I definitely need to pick it up.
“During the bike section I was in the pack at the back but nobody was really working so it was quite hard to close into the first two. I hadn’t ever seen these athletes before. So I didn’t really know how they could do the run. I could see them in front, though, even if they were quite far ahead.”
Schlebusch trailed in third after the first of two laps of the final segment but ran each circuit 30 seconds faster than her Danish rival and almost 60 seconds faster than the Swiss.
“It was a bad swim but then I caught up on the run,’ she said. ‘I’m really, really happy to end up feeling really strong.”
Schlebusch eventually caught Weber and then Madsen and was near tears as she crossed the finish line 11 seconds ahead of the latter.
“Now I can say I’m a Youth Olympic champion. It’s a pretty good title to have so I’m really stoked,’ she said. ‘I’m in disbelief right now.”
Riana Robertson, the Team SA triathlon coach, couldn’t hide her joy following Schlebusch’s win.
“I think we are all ecstatic, it was emotional when Amber was catching the race leaders, I think anyone who was with me saw the joy that we all had while chanting for her.
We had planned for a top three and Amber surprised us by putting her head down racing and getting that gold medal,” Robertson said.