Ivan Hope Price becomes Youth Olympic Champion
Buenos Aires 2018

Ivan Hope Price becomes Youth Olympic Champion

17 October 2018 / 23:47
Ivan Hope Price is Team GB’s first gold medallist at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games after victory with a first round stoppage in his men’s flyweight final.

Hope Price, who came into the Games as the number one seed, made light work of Thailand's Sarawut Sukthet, catching his opponent with early combinations as the Leeds fighter started on the front foot.

After just 109 seconds, which included a standing eight count, the referee brought an end to the contest with Sukhet unable to match Hope Price's speed and footwork. 

The 18-year-old is not only the first gold medallist for Team GB at the Games but also the first British boxer to win a Youth Olympic title, a piece of history not lost on Hope Price.

“It’s a dream come true. The Olympics is the best thing you can win in boxing,” said Hope Price.

“This medal means everything. Not just for me but for my dad and family too. The whole family has put a lot of time into me over the years so to repay them with a Youth Olympic gold medal, and to be the first Brit to win one here and the first boxer ever, it's great. It’s a bit of history.

“My dad’s here and is over the moon. My little brother is in Russia and has just won junior European bronze so it’s been a big week for the family. 

“I’ve felt like I’ve been growing into the competition with each day and each fight. Today I felt good and was finding my groove in the first round and before I knew it, it was over. What a result.

“I was a little bit nervous pre-fight. I won silver at the World Championships so there were a bit of nerves and I wanted to come here and win the gold medal. I’ve done that now and I’m over the moon.”

At the cycling, a virtuoso breakaway from Harry Birchill and a commanding supporting ride from teammate Sean Flynn saw the Team GB duo secure a dramatic bronze medal in the combined cycling event.

Going into the day, the pair sat in fifth place behind Hungary and Denmark, 21 points adrift of the bronze medal spot. The team event has seen riders compete as pairs across five days of racing.

A frenetic ride in today’s criterium saw Birchill pick up points intermittently but it was an opportunistic breakaway on the penultimate lap which gave the 17-year-old the race win.

That result propelled the Brits into third place on 253 points, behind Luxembourg (276) in second and Kazakhstan the runaway gold medallists in first (418).

“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Flynn. “We knew we had a chance going into it but that it would be difficult to pull it off but Harry just put in the most amazing ride.”

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said a clearly jubilant Birchill. “When I crossed the line I couldn’t believe what I had just done. I think I timed it right, went really hard for 30 seconds and built up a gap and then see what would happen.

“Sean played a vital role, chasing down all the attacks and did so much hard work for the team and to stand on the podium together, I’ve never experienced anything like that before.”

In the women’s race a valiant display from Harriet Harnden and Anna McGorum saw them just miss out on the medals with a fourth place finish with 204 points.

Despite picking up points throughout the race (25), they weren’t able to match the tally of the previous two days and missed out on bronze to Hungary with 255 points. Gold and silver was shared between Denmark (376) and Austria (355) respectively.

“It was absolute bedlam from the start, everyone just went out quick and you just had to go for it,” said Harnden. “It was difficult as certain teams weren’t as bothered to chase down breaks which made it harder for us.”

Despite the race having sprints every four laps, it didn’t play out like this in reality. “It was more like a sprint every lap,” said McGorum. “People were constantly making breaks and then you tried to catch up, which made the field rubber-band all the time. 

“We gave it everything and we performed as best we could,” added McGorum. “Some of the other girls were a little stronger and perhaps more used to road racing.”

After silver success in the 3m platform for Anthony Harding he went again in the mixed team competition, pairing up with Finnish diver Ronja Rundgren, but it wasn’t to be for the pair as they scored 299.10 placing them 12th.

Maria Papworth fared better with her partner, Canada’s Bryden Hattie as they scored a solid 340.50 to put them in fifth place, with individual 3m springboard gold medallist Daniel Restrepo Garcia winning gold again with partner Shan Lin (391.35).

After 11 days of competitive action at Buenos Aires 2018, it was finally the turn of karate to get their competition underway but it wasn’t the outcome they would have hoped for.

Charlotte Hope entered the competition as 2018 Junior European champion but came unstuck against Iranian Mobina Heydari in her opening bout, losing 2-0.

Unfortunately, despite this early setback Hope was unable to turn the tide following up with two more defeats against Russia (0-4) and France (0-4).

“Obviously I’m gutted I lost out but it’s no shame losing to any of them,” said Hope. “It was a high standard, all eight girls here are the best eight in the world.

“With karate, the margins are so small – if you’re not 100% on the day, it’s just not going to happen.”
 
Lauren Salisbury will compete on the last day of competition tomorrow, in the women’s +59kg division.

Image credit: Team GB/Lumix UK