posted on 09/10/2011: 394 views
It was triple celebration for South African Chad le Clos at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex as the 19-year-old from Durban collected three gold medals on the first day of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup.
Le Clos first powered his way to victory in the 400m individual medley - holding back at first but then catching second-placed Dinko Jukic of Austria towards the latter part of the race to finish in 4:04.58.
His second gold of the night came in the 200m butterfly, where he again got the better of Jukic, this time reaching the wall in a time 1:52.55. And Jukic had to settle for silver one more time - in the 100m individual medley, as Le Clos again got the edge in a time of 53.48, just three hundredths of a second ahead of the Austrian.
"Dinko is a great swimmer so I knew it would be a tough race," said Le Clos after his 400 IM victory. "I just tried to stay with him. Luckily he didn't get too far ahead on the breaststroke and I had enough to come back at the end. I knew what I wanted to do and was glad it all came together," he added.
Other top performers of the night were Jason Dunford of Kenya and Marco Koch of Germany who claimed two golds each - Dunford in the 100m freestyle and the 50m butterfly and Koch in the 50m and 200m breaststroke, as well as a bronze in the 400m individual medley.
"That's very good. I'm very happy and impressed with my form because I'm in hard training at the moment and have been working really hard so to swim half a second off my best is very encouraging for me," said Dunford afterwards.
The UAE's rising star Mubarak Al Besher had a good night. Having broken his own national record in the morning heats, the police officer returned to his record-breaking ways, just missing out on the medals but setting a new national mark of 28.58 seconds in the 50m breaststroke. It was a busy night for Al Besher who also swam in the finals of the 200m breaststroke and 100m individual medley. "I feel very good about my race. It's a personal record. I'm very happy to break this record and am looking to do even better in the GCC Games," he said after the 50m breaststroke.
The evening's women's events were dominated by China and Japan, who shared a total of five gold medals between them. Shijia Wang of China was first up in the 200m freestyle, winning in a time of 1:56.76 before her compatriot Xiaoyu Liu topped the podium in the 100m breaststroke in 1:04.79. It was then the turn of another compatriot, Junyao Wang (100m butterfly gold in 58.05) before Japan's Miyuki Takemura took top honours in the 50m backstroke in a time of 27.12.
The only women to break the Asian domination were world record-holder Marleen Veldhuis (gold for the Netherlands in the 50m freestyle) and Ukrainian Daryna Zevina who won the 200m backstroke in 2:02.94.
"That was nice. It was a good race. I felt good off the blocks although coming back was a bit tougher, but that's just the training and I'm happy with my time," said Veldhuis after finishing in 24.14. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
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