Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surprise wins, record broken in swimming spectaculars



Surprise wins, record broken in swimming spectaculars

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Gold medallists (from left) Australia’s Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris, Emma Mckeon and Cate Campbell pose on the podium after the final of the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Sunday. AFP

Surprise wins, record broken in swimming spectaculars

Japan's Yui Ohashi dethroned Hungarian 400m medley queen Katinka Hosszu Sunday as Tunisia won a rare swimming gold medal and Australia’s all-conquering women’s 4x100m relay team smashed their own world record.

Veteran Hosszu won three golds and a silver at Rio in 2016, shattering the 400m medley world mark to cement her place as one of the world’s top swimmers.

But she qualified only seventh fastest for the final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre and, racing in lane one, was no match for an electric Ohashi who stunned the field to clinch the title.

The 25-year-old, who was only sixth fastest in the world this year coming into the event, turned in a sizzling breaststroke leg to take charge, touching in 4mins 32.08 secs.

US pair Emma Weyant (4:32.76) and Hali Flickinger (4:34.90) took silver and bronze with Hosszu, in her fifth Olympics, fading to fifth.

“I swam believing in myself. I really did not think of winning the gold,” said a disbelieving Ohashi. “A lot of people supported me so that I could exert all my strength. I really appreciate it. I had an enjoyable race. It is still like a dream.”

Nicknamed the “Iron Lady”, Hosszu can still get herself on the Olympic podium again, having a gruelling Tokyo schedule that also includes the 200m medley, 200m backstroke and 200m butterfly.

Tunisian teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui also pulled off a major upset to win the men’s 400m freestyle.

In the absence of defending champion Mack Horton, who failed to qualify, and China’s Sun Yang, the 2012 London champion who is serving a doping ban, the 18-year-old capitalised.

He raced a storming final 50m to touch in 3:43.36 and overhaul Australian Jack McLoughlin (3:43.52) and US swimmer Kieran Smith (3:43.94).

It was a major breakthrough for the young gun, who has little pedigree on the world stage.

“I just can’t believe that, it’s amazing. I felt better in the water this morning than yesterday and that’s it. I’m the Olympic champion now,” he said.

“I just put my head in the water and that’s it. I just can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true.”

It was Tunisia’s first ever Olympic medal in the event and just their third gold in swimming after Ous Mellouli made podiums in 2008 and 2012.

Dominant

Gold medal glory for the Australian relay squad was never in doubt after they qualified for the final nearly two seconds clear of The Netherlands.

Since taking nearly a full second off a super-suited world record in 2014, they have been dominant, winning the two previous Olympic golds, the 2019 world championships while setting two more world records in 2016 and 2018.

And they added to their glorious haul Sunday.

Emma McKeon swum the fifth fastest relay split in history over leg three to pull them clear after Bronte Campbell and Meg Harris gave them a decent start.

Sprint veteran Cate Campbell then brought the team home in 3:29.69 secs to better their own mark set three years ago.

Meanwhile, Rio Olympic runner-up Chase Kalisz went one better to claim gold in the men’s 400m individual medley for the United States.

He led by a body-length after 300m and came home strongly in 4mins 09.42secs ahead of second-placed compatriot Jay Litherland (4:10.28) and Australia’s Brendon Smith (4:10.38)

“It means the world. This is the last thing I really wanted to accomplish in my swimming career,” said Kalisz, who made the most of defending champion Kosuke Hagino opting not to swim the event on home soil.

“It was a dream of mine since as long as I can remember.”

Adam Peaty’s drive to become the first British swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title was ramped up a notch when he hit the wall in 57.63 to lead the men into the 100m breaststroke final on Monday.

Dutchman Arno Kamminga was second quickest in 58.19.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Hun Sen’s rare visit to Cuba: What’s going on?

    Back on August 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would deliver a speech at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN headquarters in the US’ New York City, visit Cuba and attend the state funeral of the slain Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo