Golden night for South Africa at world champs
South Africa won three medals -- including two golds -- on Wednesday at swimming's world championships while US teenage star Missy Franklin picked up her third gold in Barcelona.
- Published: 1/08/2013 at 12:49 AM
- Newspaper section: news
South Africa's Chad Le Clos competes in the final of the men's 200-metre butterfly swimming event in the FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on July 31, 2013. Le Clos of South Africa won the men's 200m butterfly final at swimming's world championships on Wednesday -- exactly a year after his triumph in London.
After Chad le Clos won the men's 200m butterfly final -- exactly a year to the day since taking the Olympic title -- South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh took gold in the men's 50m breaststroke with training partner Giulio Zorzi winning bronze.
Van der Burgh said the challenge facing Swimming South Africa is to now build on their Barcelona and 2012 Olympic success.
"It has been a special night for SA swimming," beamed 25-year-old Van der Burgh, who set the world record in winning the 100m breaststroke Olympic title in London.
"Since the London Olympics, we have brought on a new generation of South African swimmers.
"More medals also means more pressure and expectation, but pressure is a privilege.
"It is now up to organisers in South Africa to get more sponsorship and make swimming bigger."
Having been beaten into silver in the 100m final, Van der Burgh gained 50m revenge on Australia's Christian Sprenger, who this time had to settle for second in the sprint event.
China's long-distance giant Sun Yang shed tears of joy after winning his second gold as he dominated the men's 800 metres freestyle final.
Having emphatically won Sunday's 400m freestyle final, the 21-year-old Sun was never troubled in Wednesday's final as he clocked 7mins 41.36 to finish more than two seconds ahead of the field.
With his victory confirmed, Sun stayed in the pool to celebrate along with the vocal Chinese supporters in the crowd and he let the tears flow during the medal ceremony.
Sun can finish the Barcelona championships with three golds with the 1500m freestyle to come on Saturday, but has had a difficult year since splitting with his coach Zhu Zhigen and moving to Hong Kong after winning two golds at London 2012.
"To compete with the USA and Australia is very hard for Chinese swimmers and I am very proud of myself," said Sun.
"Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves and for me it is to cry.
"I am very happy with my performance and to get another gold medal."
With Michael Phelps now retired, Missy Franklin is rapidly becoming the USA's swim star as the 18-year-old quadruple Olympic champion powered to her third title with a commanding display in the women's 200m freestyle final.
Franklin withdrew from Wednesday evening's 50m backstroke semi-finals to concentrate on the freestyle final in the same session and the move paid off as she added to her wins in the 4x100m freestyle relay and 100m backstroke.
The US teen still has the medley and 4x200m relays, plus the 200m backstroke and 100m freestyle heats, which start on Thursday morning.
"I'm just taking it one session at a time," said Franklin, who races next in Thursday morning's 100m freestyle heats.
"I have the 100m free heats next and that is definitely going to be one of my toughest events, for sure."
There promises to be a battle royal in the men's 100m freestyle with Olympic champion Nathan Adrian the fastest into Thursday's final, having clocked 47.95secs with Australia's defending world champion James Magnussen fourth fastest.
Adrian of the USA threw down a marker by blasting out his time from lane seven, with compatriot James Feigen second fastest.
"The Americans will hopefully be on the podium tomorrow," insisted Adrian.
"The point of having an eight person final is that anyone can win."
China's 17-year-old Fu Yuanhui was the fastest into Thursday's 50m backstroke final, just ahead of Japan's Aya Terakawa, with world-record holder Zhao Jing fourth.
Defending champion and world-record holder Ryan Lochte of the USA was the fastest qualifier into Thursday's 200m individual medley final, just ahead of Japanese teenager Kosuke Hagino.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency