Ledecky on course for his­toric 12th worlds gold

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Gold-medal ma­chine Katie Ledecky cruised into the women’s 1500m freestyle fi­nal from yes­ter­day’s heats at the world aquatic cham­pi­onships to stay on course for an his­toric 12th worlds gold.

Ledecky was the fastest qual­i­fier at 15 min­utes, 47.54 sec­onds-nearly 18 sec­onds ahead of the field-to main­tain her iron grip on the event. “I feel good. I just wanted to have a good con­trolled easy swim and get a good lane for the fi­nal,” said Ledecky.

The un­stop­pable 20-year-old al­ready picked up two golds on Sun­day night, win­ning the 400m ti­tle for the third cham­pi­onships in a row, then help­ing the United States win the 4x100m re­lay. That left her level with Missy Franklin on a record 11 gold medals at world cham­pi­onships.

Ledecky is on course to win her third ti­tle-of a pos­si­ble six here-in to­day’s 1500m fi­nal which would make her the first woman to win 12 world cham­pi­onship golds. Fresh from his 400m freestyle gold medal on Sun­day, Sun Yang was the fastest through the men’s 200m freestyle heats into Mon­day’s semis, but ad­mit­ted feel­ing jaded.

RE­LAXED

“I was a lit­tle tired, I didn’t do my best in the heat, but I didn’t have to,” said the 25-year-old Chi­nese su­per­star. De­spite his fa­tigue, Sun clocked one min­utes, 45.78 sec­onds with Bri­tain’s James Guy, the de­fend­ing world cham­pion, just 0.44secs back.

Guy is de­ter­mined to make amends for a dis­ap­point­ing sixth in the 400m fi­nal. “It’s parked and we’ve done,” he in­sisted. “The 200m race felt so much bet­ter this morn­ing, there was so much more con­trol, I just feel more re­laxed.”

Mack Horton, who Sun de­feated in the 400m fi­nal, fin­ished 11th and 1.19secs adrift. “Ob­vi­ously that was tough af­ter yes­ter­day, but with an evening and a bit more rest there should be a bit more,” said Horton.

“It was al­ways go­ing to be tough back­ing up and try­ing to get into that semi, but I should be ok.” Katinka Hosszu, the Olympic cham­pion, was the sec­ond fastest into the evening’s 100m back­stroke semi-fi­nals, just 0.18 sec­onds be­hind Canada’s Kylie Masse.

Hosszu re­fused to speak to re­porters af­ter her heat. Hun­gar­ian me­dia re­ports claim she has pulled out of the semis to fo­cus on the 200m in­di­vid­ual med­ley fi­nal-her strong­est event-which comes later on Mon­day night.

Aus­tralia’s Emily See­bohm, who won the world ti­tle two years ago in Kazan, was third fastest at 0.33secs be­hind Masse. In the men’s 100m back­stroke heats, both the Olympic cham­pion, Ryan Mur­phy of the US, and Aus­tralia’s Mitch Larkin, the de­fend­ing world cham­pion made it through to the evening’s semis.

BAD BLOOD

The strength of the women’s 100m breast­stroke field shone through in the heats with Olympic cham­pion Lilly King of the USA the fastest in 1:05.20 mins. But both the de­fend­ing world cham­pion Yuliya Efi­mova of Rus­sia, the Olympic sil­ver medal­list in Rio, and 2012 Olympic cham­pion Ruta Meilu­tyte were within a sec­ond of King.

Olympic bronze medal­list Katie Meili of the US and Tay­lor McKe­own, the 200m Com­mon­wealth cham­pion, were also in the top five. There is bad blood be­tween King and Efi­mova, who served a 16-month dop­ing ban un­til Fe­bru­ary 2015, then won the world five months later in Kazan.

Efi­mova won Olympic sil­ver in Rio only af­ter win­ning an ap­peal to be able to race, wav­ing her fin­ger sig­nalling ‘No1’ af­ter win­ning her semi­fi­nal. “You wave your fin­ger ‘No1’ and you’ve been caught drug cheating ... I’m not a fan,” re­torted King in Rio last year.

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