Youth Olympics: Hawkes Bay teen takes bronze

Bobbi Gichard of New Zealand poses for a photo after taking the bronze medal of the women's 100m backstroke final of the Youth Olympics. Photo / Getty Images
Bobbi Gichard of New Zealand poses for a photo after taking the bronze medal of the women's 100m backstroke final of the Youth Olympics. Photo / Getty Images

Hawkes Bay teen Bobbi Gichard says a Chinese blessing helped her win bronze and New Zealand's first medal in swimming at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

The 14-year-old won bronze behind two older and more experienced swimmer on Monday in the women's 100m backstroke.

Clara Smiddy, 18, from USA won gold and clocked 1:01.22, followed by Great Britain's Jessica Fullalove, 18, who was 0.01 seconds behind the American.

Gichard touched the wall a mere 0.03 seconds behind the gold medallist.

The teen was leading at the 50m turn before she was overtaken by Smiddy and Fullalove.

"I was getting quite nervous," Gichard said.

"I was thinking, 'I really want this, I need to step up and try my hardest'."

Gichard, who posted a personal best time, thinks she may have received a little help from a Chinese blessing by a stranger.

"A Chinese competitor swapped badges with me, I don't know his name," she said.

"His one was a symbol that meant your team will be blessed, and I think that really helped.

"Whatever his name was, thank you for that."

The swimmer is competing in another four events - the 50m and 200m backstroke, as well as the 50m and 100m butterfly.

She thinks winning a bronze Youth Olympic medal in her first of several events in Nanjing will give her an edge.

"I think it will really boost me up before my next race," she said.

Gichard's bronze is New Zealand's second medal of the day after triathlete Daniel Hoy won silver and narrowly missed out on gold in a photo finish.

- AP

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