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The start of something extraordinary

Fa’amausili on podium in backstroke sprint

New Zealand flagbearer Gabrielle Fa’amausili followed her fellow 14 year old teammate Bobbi Gichard on to the podium at the Youth Olympic Games in China today.

Fa’amausili, from the Roskill club in Auckland, won the bronze medal in the 50m backstroke in 28.69s, only 3/100ths of a second behind Great Britain’s silver medallist Jessica Fullalove, while Maaike de Waard (NED) won the gold.

This adds to the bronze medal won by Gichard in the 100m backstroke, also behind Fullalove with de Waard back in fifth.

While among the two youngest in the competition, both Fa’mausili and Gichard have earned real respect for their achievements and potential against swimmers up to 18 years of age.

It proved another strong performance from Fa’amausili who will be in action again tomorrow as part of the four-strong Kiwi team with Gichard, Michael Mincham and Jacob Garrod in the mixed medley relay.

In other swims today Gichard was 29th in the heats of the 200m butterfly in 1:06.16; Fa’amausili was seventh fastest in heats of the 50m freestyle in 26.12s, but scratched from the semifinals to focus on the 50m backstroke final.

Also Garrod was 28th fastest in heats of the 50m breaststroke in 30.04s and Mincham was 13th fastest in the 800, freestyle in 8:15.47.

Finals result:

Women’s 50m backstroke: Maaike de Waard (NED) 28.36, 1; Jessica Fullalove (GBR) 28.66, 2; Gabrielle Fa’amausili (NZL) 28.69, 3. Also: Bobbi Gichard (NZL) 29.02, 6.