Ledecky wins historic 12th world gold
Sun powers to 200m freestyle world gold
BUDAPEST: Katie Ledecky of the United States made history yesterday by becoming the first woman to win 12 world swimming championship gold medals with victory in the 1500m freestyle. Ledecky, 20, clocked 15 minutes, 31.82 seconds with Spain’s Mireia Belmonte taking silver at a huge 19.07secs back, while Italy’s Simona Quadarella earned bronze at 22.04.
Ledecky now has 12 gold medals from world championships making her the most decorated female as she passed Missy Franklin of the USA, who has 11 worlds gold medals. This was Ledecky’s third gold of these championshipsfrom a possible six she could finish with-and she led from the start.
Earlier, Chinese superstar Sun Yang won the men’s 200m freestyle gold at the world aquatics championships on Tuesday to add to his Olympic title in the same event. Sun touched the wall first in one minute 44.39 seconds with Townley Haas of the United States taking silver, at 0.65sec back, while Russia’s Aleksandr Krasnykh earned bronze at 0.84.
“I paid attention to detail and followed the instructions of my coach,” said Sun, who punched the water in triumph after his victory. This was Sun’s second gold of these championships after his victory in the 400m freestyle final on Sunday.
He will bid for the treble in today’s 800m freestyle final-the event he has dominated for the last three world championships since 2011 in Shanghai. Sun timed his 200m race to perfection. He was fourth at the halfway point, but had caught leader and defending champion James Guy of Great Britain, who finished fifth, by the final turn and powered home to victory.
His win means the 25-year-old Sun is now the 200m freestyle champion at both the worlds and Olympics, after his victory at the Rio de Janeiro Games last year. The freestyle expert now has nine gold medals to his name spanning four world championships. He holds a world title in each of the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events. Haas said he pushed through the pain barrier to grab silver.
“Last 50 metres hurt,” said the 20-year-old, a gold medallist in the 4x100m relay in Budapest. “I couldn’t see Sun Yang, but I could see James Guy’s arms so in my head I thought ‘I’ve got to stay ahead of him’, then I put my head down and kept kicking.” Guy, the 2015 world champion, was disappointed, especially after Britain’s double golds on Monday when Adam Peaty won the 100m breaststroke and Ben Proud took the 50m butterfly title. “It was very disappointing, yesterday I did it exactly the same way, I felt like I had more left to give on the last leg, especially towards the finish,” said Guy.
“With my roommate (Peaty) winning gold and Ben Proud winning gold, I want to get there too, but everything happens for a reason and I have a four-year plan,” he added, with an eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (See Page 13).
BUDAPEST: US Katie Ledecky celebrates on the podium after the women’s 1500m freestyle final during the swimming competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, yesterday. (Inset) (R-L) Russia’s Aleksandr Krasnykh, China’s Sun Yang and US Townley Haas celebrate on the podium after the men’s 200m freestyle final during the swimming competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, yesterday.