De­cent pro­posal! Ital­ian wins swim gold & wed­ding prom­ise

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Italy’s Si­mone Ruffini won the world cham­pi­onship men’s marathon 25-kilo­me­ter open wa­ter gold medal on Satur­day and cel­e­brated by propos­ing to his girl­friend on the podium.

Ruffini edged out Alex Meyer, of the United States, and com­pa­triot Mat­teo Furlan for the ti­tle af­ter first over­com­ing a stom­ach com­plaint.

But even that chal­lenge was noth­ing com­pared to the nerves needed to un­furl a hastily writ­ten pro­posal con­vinc­ing Ital­ian team­mate Aurora Pon­sele to marry him just as he re­ceived his medal.

Pon­sele sig­naled back with two fin­gers shaped in a heart to the de­light of watch­ing fans.

“I’m happy for the gold medal and even hap­pier that the an­swer to my mar­riage pro­posal to Aurora (Pon­sele) was a sign of love from her,” said the cham­pion.

“This was the best mo­ment of my life. Of course I am look­ing for­ward to the Olympic Games, but to­day I un­der­stand the mean­ing of my life.”

Ruffini took gold in four hours 53 min­utes 10.7 sec­onds at Kazan’s Kazanka venue with Meyer win­ning sil­ver at just 4.4 sec­onds back.

Hav­ing fin­ished fourth in the event two years ago in Barcelona, the 27-year-old Amer­i­can fi­nally made it onto the podium.

Furlan claimed third af­ter fin­ish­ing one minute 27.3 sec­onds back and won his sec­ond bronze at these world cham­pi­onships af­ter a podium place in the 5 kilo­me­ters ear­lier this week.

In the women’s event, Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha took gold over the 25-kilo­me­ter dis­tance with a win­ning time of 5:13.47.3 hours with Hungary’s Anna Olasz sec­ond at 26.3 sec­onds back.

Ger­many’s An­gela Mau­rer, who won a sil­ver in the event at the 2013 cham­pi­onships, had to set­tle for bronze this time as she fin­ished 1 minute 20.3 sec­onds back.

China won their eighth suc­ces­sive gold medal in 3-me­ter div­ing at the world cham­pi­onships when Shi Ting­mao clinched vic­tory.

Shi won with 383.55 points to edge out com­pa­triot, and four-time gold medal­ist, He Zi on 377.45.

Italy’s Ta­nia Cag­notto fin­ished third with 356.15 points.

Rus­sia clinched the world cham­pi­onship syn­chro­nized swimming com­bined ti­tle for a third time.

The Rus­sian team scored 98.3000 points to de­feat China (96.2000) and Ja­pan (93.8000).

AP

Italy’s gold medal win­ner Si­mone Ruffini shows a plac­ard that says, “Aurora, you want to marry me?” dur­ing the cer­e­mony for the men’s 25-kilo­me­ter open wa­ter swim com­pe­ti­tion at the Swimming World Cham­pi­onships in Kazan, Rus­sia, Satur­day, Aug. 1.

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