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Missy Franklin of the US won the women’s 200m backstroke title at the World Swimming Championships at the Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona
Missy Franklin of the US won the women’s 200m backstroke title at the World Swimming Championships at the Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona on Saturday. REUTERS

Missy stays on golden path

Eighteen-year-old American sensation Missy Franklin claimed her fifth world championship gold in Barcelona with victory in the 200m backstroke on Saturday.

Franklin was just outside her world record time from the Olympics last year, but did set a championship record as she was followed home by Australian Belinda Hocking and Canada’s Hilary Caldwell.

“It never gets easy. The competition here is the best in the world so you know every race will be a tough race,” she said.

“Every race is equally as difficult, but equally as rewarding at the same time.”

Not to be outdone by her teammate, 16-year-old Katie Ledecky secured her second world record and fourth gold of the meet in the 800m freestyle.

Ledecky had smashed the 1500m world record by six seconds earlier in the week, but she sneaked past Rebecca Adlington’s record in the 800m by just two 10ths of a second as, just like in the 1500m, Denmark’s Lotte Friis and New Zealander Lauren Boyle picked up silver and bronze respectively.

“I am thrilled, I exceeded my expectations for the year,” said a delighted Ledecky who also took gold in the 400m freestyle and 4x200m relay.

“The goal I set at the beginning of the year was three medals and one world record and now I have four golds and two world records so I couldn’t be happier.”

There was to be no 16th world title for Ryan Lochte on his 29th birthday as he could only finish sixth in the men’s 100m butterfly with Chad Le Clos claiming his second gold of the championships.

“It is unbelievable. To win two gold medals at a world championships is like a dream come true,” said the South African who had also taken the 200m butterfly on Thursday.

And there was also a second title of the meet for Brazil’s Cesar Cielo as he claimed gold in star-studded 50m freestyle final that contained five Olympic champions.

“I was not expected to win so this is the best feeling I’ve had after a race,” a joyful Cielo remarked after joining Alexander Popov in becoming the only non-Americans to win six individual world championship gold medals.

In a remarkable day in the women’s 50m breaststroke, the world record fell for a second time in a matter of hours as the world and Olympic champion over 100m Ruta Meilutyte passed the time set by Yuliya Efimova on Saturday morning to claim her second world record of the meet in 29.48 seconds.

Cambodia’s interests in the Barcelona pool saw Hem Thon Vitiny set a time of 39.53 seconds in her women’s 50m breaststroke heat, 8.03secs outside of the qualifying time, to come 70th out of 74 finishers at the world swimming championships in Barcelona on Saturday. Barely half an hour earlier, the Cambodian, who turns 20 on September 7, competed in the 50m freestyle heats, taking 74th place out of 83 by touching home in 31.05secs.

On Friday, Vitiny’s uncle Hem Thon Ponleu took a respectable 85th out of 105 in the men’s 50m freestyle heats by swimming 27.34secs. Neither Cambodian could improve on their personal bests set at last year’s Summer Olympics in London.

Meanwhile, Jeanette Ottesen Gray claimed Denmark’s first gold of the championships in the women’s 50m butterfly as she edged out Olympic silver medallist Lu Ying with Holland’s Ranomi Kromowidjojo claiming her second bronze in as many days. AFP & DAN RILEY



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