Sunday, July 29, 2012

World Record Gold For Cameron

Cameron van der Burgh © Action Images

Van der Burgh bags gold medal


29 July 2012, 21:18

Cameron van der Burgh smashed the world record to become the first South African men's swimming Olympic champion in winning the 100m breaststroke gold medal on Sunday.

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Van der Burgh burnt off a crack field, including two-time defending Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, to shatter the world record in 58.46sec.

Van der Burgh improved the previous record of 58.58 set by Australian Brenton Rickard on July 27, 2009 at the world championships in Rome.

Australian Christian Sprenger took silver and American Brendan Hansen claimed bronze.

The South African couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he sprawled out on the lane rope taking in what was the swim of his career.

"It's a feeling I can't describe right now, it has been a lot of work in the making. Everything has paid off tonight," he said.

"If there is such a thing as the perfect race, I think I swam it at the right time tonight.

"I don't really care about the world record, once you have become an Olympic champion that can never be taken away from you.

"I can tell my kids when they are watching one day that I did that."

Van der Burgh paid tribute to Norwegian world champion swimmer Alexander Dale Oen, who died of heart failure last April while at a training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, ahead of the London Olympics.

"I just have to pay tribute to Alexander Oen tonight, I know he has been with me this year, I think he helped me finish the race in such a strong manner," van der Burgh said.

"Alexander pushed me in training, it made me realise I had to go faster to win the gold medal, that is what we trained for and that is what we have achieved."

Kitajima finished fifth, failing in his bid to become the first male swimmer to win the same event at three successive Games.

"I wanted to defend the title, but it was really tough and I enjoyed trying to do it," Kitajima said.

"It was a really tough race and I needed the world record to win, I didn't have the ability to be honest. I will do my best in the 200m."

Veteran American Hansen, 30, a world champion in the event five years ago, was thrilled to snare the bronze medal.

"That was as fast as I can go, I was pleased with the outcome. I couldn't go any faster," the Texan said.

© Sapa

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