PMB’s Townsend leads SA onslaught for gold at Fina World Cup

2012-10-05 00:00

OLYMPIANS struck gold on four occasions as city star Darian Townsend, Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos churned up the water on the final day of the Fina Arena Swimming World Cup that took place at the Hamdan bin Mahommed bin Rashid Sports Complex in Dubai on Wednesday evening.

It was Townsend who started the South African onslaught of gold in the men’s 200 m freestyle, where he took the race to his opposition in the first

50 metres.

The Pietermaritzburg star opened the gap significantly to keep charging Aussie Robert Hurley at bay to win one of his best races ever in a fast 1:42,71.

Hurley chased hard to take the silver in 1:43,37 with team-mate Tommaso Dorsogna the fastest home on the final 50 metres to take third in 1:44,65.

Townsend kept the gold flowing with a second victory later in the 200 m individual medley. Hungarian Laszlo Cseh led the first three legs of the event from a chasing Townsend. They turned together for the final 50 metres freestyle, where Townsend opened a comfortable gap to win in an excellent 1:53,25.

Daiya Seto (Japan) took the silver in 1:53,90, with Kenneth To (Australia) next on 1:54,86.

“I am thrilled with these two wins,” said Townsend. “I really enjoy short course racing and it can only get better from here.”

It was then the turn of Van der Burgh in the men’s 100 m breaststroke where he lined up in the outside lane one.

His intentions were clear as he did in London and he stayed ahead to win in 58,33 seconds with Glenn Snyders (New Zealand) close in 58,42, while Marco Koch (Germany) just edged out South African Neil Versfeld by 0,01 seconds to take the bronze in 58,90.

The crowd responded once again to superstar Le Clos walking out onto the pooldeck to race the men’s 100 m butterfly.

The Olympic champion rose to the occasion again with the amazing final turn and sprint to the finish where he was clearly excited about breaking that magical 50 seconds barrier — clocking 49,82 seconds.

Evgeny Korotyshkin (Russia) was unable to hold the pace and finished second in 50,67, with Thomas Shields (USA) third in 50,97 seconds.

A bronze medal went to Kathryn Meaklim in the women’s 400 m IM where she raced hard to clock an encouraging 4:38,92. Meaklim also finished fifth in the 100m IM in 1:02,90.

Other finalists were Roland Schoeman who took fourth in the men’s 50 m freestyle in 21,65 seconds, while locally trained Tara Nicholas finished fourth in the women’s 50 m breaststroke in 32,36 seconds and sixth in the 200m breaststroke in 2:34,99. Gerhard Zandberg finished fifth in the men’s 50 m backstroke in 24,48 seconds.

The swmmers move on to Doha, Qatar for the second leg of the Fina Arena World Cup series tomorrow and Sunday.

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