Hosszu launches short course worlds with bang

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MON­TREAL: Katinka Hosszu, seek­ing to add an ex­cla­ma­tion point to her sparkling Olympic year, cap­tured gold and sil­ver Tues­day as the Short Course Swim­ming World Cham­pi­onships be­gan in Wind­sor, Canada.

Hun­gary’s “Iron Lady” of swim­ming, a tre­ble gold medal­ist at the Rio Games in Au­gust, pow­ered to a dom­i­nant vic­tory in the 400m in­di­vid­ual med­ley.

Her time of 4min 21.67sec was more than two sec­onds off her own world record, but it was com­fort­ably in front of run­nerup Ella Eastin’s 4:27.74.

Eas­ton seized sil­ver af­ter Viet­nam’s Anh Vien Nguyen ap­peared to touch sec­ond but was dis­qual­i­fied. Amer­i­can Madisyn Cox was third in 4:27.78. The tri­umph came shortly af­ter Ital­ian vet­eran Fed­er­ica Pel­le­grini de­nied Hosszu in the 200m freestyle. Pel­le­grini, 28, was clos­ing at the fi­nal turn and churned past Hosszu on the fi­nal lap to take the first short course world ti­tle of her ca­reer in 1:51.73.

Hosszu set­tled for sil­ver in 1:52.28, with 16-year-old Cana­dian Tay­lor Ruck third in a na­tional record of 1:52.50. Hosszu, one of the few Rio stars com­pet­ing in Wind­sor, pulled triple duty on Tues­day, also book­ing her place in the 100m back­stroke fi­nal.

While Hosszu’s win was an ex­ten­sion of a stel­lar year that saw her win 200m and 400m med­ley and 100m back­stroke gold in Rio, South Korean Park Tae-Hwan’s 400m freestyle tri­umph was a turn­around in a largely for­get­table 2016.

Park, a 2008 Olympic gold medal­ist who fiz­zled in Rio af­ter serv­ing a drugs ban, pounced to over­take Rus­sian Alek­sandr Kras­nykh in the fi­nal 100m, win­ning in 3:34.59sec.

Kras­nykh took sil­ver in 3:35.30 while 2014 short course world cham­pion Peter Bernek of Hun­gary was third in 3:37.65.

Park will be hop­ing his first short course world crown is a launch­ing point for a new phase of his ca­reer as swim­mers be­gin look­ing to­ward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Af­ter serv­ing an 18-month steroid ban, Park bat­tled South Korean team of­fi­cials for the chance to com­pete in Rio.

But once there he failed to ad­vance from the heats in the 100m, 200m and 400m free and scratched from the 1500m free. Park showed signs of a resur­gence with four ti­tles at the Asian cham­pi­onships in Novem­ber-but also re­vealed last month that his train­ing for Rio was ham­pered by wor­ries over threats by for­mer vice sports min­is­ter Kim Chong that his de­ter­mi­na­tion to com­pete in the 2016 Games could see him cut off from ac­cess to cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship.

LE CLOS WINS 200M FLY

Chad le Clos also shook off Rio dis­ap­point­ment with a vic­tory in the 200m but­ter­fly. The South African was de­nied an Olympic ti­tle re­peat in the 200m fly by US great Michael Phelps. But a storm­ing fin­ish saw him re­peat as short course world cham­pion in 1:48.76 — the third-fastest per­for­mance ever in a 25m pool.

Amer­i­can Tom Shields, swim­ming in lane eight, led at the 150m mark but fin­ished sec­ond in 1:49.50. Ja­pan’s Daiya Seto was third in 1:49.97.

China’s Rio bronze medal­ist Wang Shun won the men’s 200m med­ley in 1:51.74, ahead of Ger­many’s Philip Heintz (1:52.07) and Ja­pan’s Seto (1:52.89).

Vladimir Moro­zov’s storm­ing third leg pow­ered Rus­sia to a vic­tory over de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons France in the men’s 4x100m freestyle re­lay. Moro­zov took the Rus­sians from third to first, and Pop­kov held on for the vic­tory in 3:05.90 went into the wa­ter for the third leg on Rus­sia’s 400 free re­lay in third place, but he blasted a 45.42 split, by far the fastest in the field, and Alek­sandr Pop­kov held on to give the Rus­sians the gold. Nikita Lobint­sev, Mikhail Veko­vishchev, Moro­zov and Pop­kov com­bined to post a time of 3:05.90, with France sec­ond in 3:07.35. The United States and Aus­tralia shared bronze in 3:07.76.

The United States’ quar­tet of Amanda Weir, Kelsi Wor­rell, Madi­son Kennedy and Mal­lory Comer­ford won the women’s 4x100m free in 3:28.82 ahead of an Ital­ian squad an­chored by Pel­le­grini (3:30.28) and the Nether­lands (3:31.10).

— AFP

WIND­SOR: Katinka Hosszu of Hun­gary re­acts to her vic­tory in the 400m In­di­vid­ual Med­ley fi­nal on day one of the 13th FINA World Swim­ming Cham­pi­onships (25m) at the WFCU Cen­tre on Tues­day in Wind­sor On­tario, Canada.

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