France-Spain pairing wins mixed team gold at 2018 Youth Olympic Games

France’s Kyla Touraine-Helias and Spain’s Jose Manuel Solera won mixed team gold at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in a competition that saw Namibia, Thailand and the hosts collect their first-ever Olympic archery medals.

“It’s very difficult to describe what it means to win a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games. It’s almost indescribable,” said Solera.

“Definitely satisfied. It’s the best [result] for the mixed team.”

The mixed team competition at the Youth Olympics is unique in that it combines athletes from different nationalities, paired according to their ranking round results. The top-seeded girl is matched with the bottom-seeded boy, and so on.

Kyla and Jose Manuel faced a mixed team from Argentina and Thailand in the gold medal match.

The two pairs split the first set, both scoring 36 points. In the second, Thailand’s Aitthiwat Soithong failed to get his second arrow off as time ran out, swinging momentum firmly in the opposite direction.

Aitthiwat and Argentinian archer Agustina Giannasio struggled in the third set and Jose and Kyla stormed to a 5-1 victory.

“When I first arrived here I wasn’t sure about getting any medal, so I’m very proud. I literally shot bad in qualification, but when I saw that I was paired with him, I thought maybe we could do something good,” said gold medallist Touraine-Helias.

The silver medal marks an historic first medal in Olympic archery competition for both Thailand and Argentina, neither having climbed the podium at either the Summer or Youth Games in the past.

“To be honest, it’s incredible. I have no idea what’s going on, honestly. It’s something that I woke up, came here, did what I could and I finished with a silver medal on my neck somehow. I just came and shoot, that’s all I know,” said Giannasio.

Namibia, too, collected its first Olympic archery medal finish. Quinn Reddig, partnered with the USA’s Trenton Cowles, beat New Zealand’s Rebecca Jones and experienced 17-year-old Tang Chih-Chun of Chinese Taipei to mixed team bronze.

With the mixed team medals awarded, the remaining three days of archery competition in Buenos Aires focus on the individual events.

The third edition of the Youth Olympic Games takes place on 12-17 October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.