Kiwi triathlete Dylan McCullough claims Youth Olympic Games gold

Kiwi triathlete Dylan McCullough savoured his victory for a short moment, raising the ribbon high and proud after realising he'd demolished the rest of the field, before catching his breath.

The 17-year-old had just claimed gold at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and he couldn't quite believe it.

"It was a very special feeling crossing the line today," McCullough said. "I didn't look back the whole run.

Auckland-based McCullough had broken away to a 13 second lead, after a tight-fought bike ride with Italy’s Alessio Crociani.

"I could just hear everyone screaming '50 seconds! [The pack] are closing in'," he said.

"I thought it was pretty touch and go heading into the run so yeah… to look back on the finishing straight and know I couldn’t see them - it was very cool."

McCullough admits he felt the nerves coming into an event as big as the Youth Olympic Games, but his mentor Rick Wells was right alongside him the whole way.

"It's a highlight of my life to watch that, just great to see, real heart in your mouth kind of stuff," Wells said.

"It was emotional, I didn't think I'd get emotional but I did… there was a tear in my eye."

And there was also a sense of relief and excitement for his family.

"I think there was a bit of expectation on him coming into this," his brother Matt said. "We're just so stoked for him."

Last year, after almost a decade of racing, McCullough left St Kentigern College to pursue a full-time career in the sport.

He has already said he hopes to compete alongside the top triathletes in the world - this victory is just the beginning.

McCullough's gold adds to New Zealand’s strong history in triathlon at the Youth Olympic Games.

Aaron Barclay won at Singapore 2010, and Daniel Hoy placing second four years later at Nanjing 2014.

He'll also join New Zealand triathlete Brea Roderick, who finished ninth in her race yesterday, for the Oceania team in the mixed relay at the end of the week.

Kristina Eddy is in Argentina courtesy of the New Zealand Olympic Committee