Youth Olympics podium in sight for Ponoka’s Fofanah

Ponoka’s Isatu Fofanah will be going for gold at the Youth Olympics in Singapore.

SINGAPORE — Ponoka’s Isatu Fofanah will be going for gold at the Youth Olympics in Singapore.

Fofanah qualified for the final in the women’s 200 metres while Brittany Lewis of Sarnia, Ont., advanced in the 400-metre hurdles on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Canadian swimmers added to their medal haul at the Youth Olympics.

Canada captured a bronze in the women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay, boosting the swim team’s total at the Games to six medals (two gold, four bronze).

In men’s taekwondo, Vancouver’s Stefan Bozalo captured a bronze medal to lift Canada’s overall tally to 11 (three gold, eight bronze). China leads the medal standings with 23 medals, including 14 gold. Russia is second with 24 overall and 11 golds. South Korea, Azerbaijan and Italy each have five golds.

China took the gold in the 4×100-metre relay in three minutes 48.84 seconds, Germany was second in 3:49.02 and the Canadians followed in 3:49.12.

The Canadian swimmers were Lindsay Delmar of Calgary, Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge and Lauren Earp of Toronto.

“I’ve never been involved in such an exciting race,” Delmar said in a release. “We were just going crazy watching Lauren swim that final length. We never thought we’d be in the final, let alone win a medal.”

It was a third podium trip this week for Nicol, who also collected a gold in the 50 breaststroke and silver in the 100 breaststroke.

It was a second medal for Van Beilen and Earp, who won gold in the 100 breaststroke and bronze in the 100 freestyle respectively.

Delmar set the tone in the lead-off position and had Canada already in third after her opening swim.

“I just wanted to get the team in a solid position for the rest of the race,” she said.

Delmar will be in contention for a second medal Friday after posting the second-fastest time overall in Thursday’s 100 butterfly semifinal.

“This is my best event and I wanted to get off to good start and grab a good lane for the final,” Delmar said.

Bozalo earned bronze in the 73-kilogram division after losing to Germany’s Ibrahim Ahmadsei in the semifinal bout.

“I’m proud I can bring a medal to Canada, I’m just disappointed that it can’t be a higher rank,” he said. “It’s a weird feeling. I’m happy and disappointed. I feel all the good and all the bad.”

Canada’s girls three-on-three basketball team continued to roll, defeating Russia 18-15 to finish the group stage at 4-0. Canada will play Germany in its first playoff game on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Europe held off Oceania and Americas to win the team triathlon gold, the first time a global multi-sport competition has used the mixed format.

Teams made up of two boys and two girls from the same continent completed a mini-triathlon of a 250-metre swim, seven-kilometre bike ride and 1.7-kilometre run before tagging a teammate to start the next leg.

The Europe 1 team of Alois Knabl of Austria, Hungary’s Eszter Dudas, Miguel Valente Fernandes of Portugal and Israel’s Fanny Beisaron finished the relay in one hour 19 minutes 51 seconds, just four seconds ahead of Oceania.

Team Americas 1 fell to third despite a 14-second lead at the beginning of the final run after Argentina’s Laurato Diaz was given a 15-second penalty for unfastening his helmet before racking his bike, which allowed runners from the Europe and Ocenania teams to pass him.

“We thought we had it,” said American Kevin McDowell, who was joined by Kelly Whitley of the U.S. and Mexico’s Adriana Barraza on Team Americas 1. “It was a little disappointing, but we walked away with a medal.”

Team triathlon is one of several formats the International Olympic Committee is debuting at the Youth Games along with half-court, three-on-three basketball and mixed swimming relays.

IOC President Jacques Rogge, who watched the team triathlon competition, said organizers haven’t decided yet whether the new format will be used at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The inaugural Youth Olympic Games, which features 3,600 athletes aged 14 to 18 from 204 National Olympic Committees competing in 26 sports, runs through Aug. 26.