Home / Sports / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
S. Korea Enjoy Walk in Park as Manaudou Strolls to Victory
Adjust font size:

South Korean sensation Park Tae-hwan shocked defending champion Grant Hackett to win the men's 400m freestyle world title yesterday as French superstar Laure Manaudou stormed to the women's crown.

The fresh-faced Seoul schoolboy pulled off the biggest victory of his short career with a late spurt of speed to clinch gold in 3:44.30 with Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli second (3:45.12) and Hackett fading to third (3:45.43).

The stunning upset handed South Korea its first ever world swimming title and gave Park a massive boost ahead of the Beijing Olympics next year.

The 17-year-old burst onto the scene at the Asian Games in December where he won the 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle gold and an underdone Hackett admitted he was going to be a big threat to his 1500m title here.

"For me, it was top three which is still a good result," said Hackett, who had a chequered preparation to the world championships, switching coaches and preparing to get married.

"I am not surprised with Park. He has worked very hard and is obviously a force to be reckoned with."

Park said said it had done his confidence the world of good.

"I am the first Korean world champion in (swimming) history," he said.

"Mentally I feel really tired, but after winning the gold I feel very confident.

"It was good luck that I could make this pace in the pool. Hackett was in first since the start, I was trying to follow him but it did not really work. I was able to overcome him just in the last 50m."

Manaudou swam the second fastest women's 400m freestyle ever, narrowly missing her world record of 4:02.13 which she set last year.

She was two-body lengths ahead at 200 meters and her split of 1:58.69 was under world record time.

But she couldn't maintain the pace, touching in 4:02.61 with Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak claiming silver and Ai Shibata of Japan the bronze.

"I wanted to exceed my own expectations so I prepared for this competition intensely, so that (the lead) came from that preparation," said Manaudou, who is competing in eight events here.

"I swam hard and knew that it would come down to a good set-up at the beginning that needed to continue right to the last lap."

As expected, the Americans won the men's 4x100m relay title in the second fastest time ever (3:12.72) ahead of Italy and France, giving Micheal Phelps the first of the eight gold he is aiming for here.

"In the past we have started out a meet strongly and I'm glad we have been able to do that again here," Phelps said after his 48.42sec opening leg.

Australia pipped the United States in the women's 4x100m relay with a storming final lap from Jodie Henry handing them victory in a new championship record time of 3:35.68, just outside the world record.

The Americans were second and the Netherlands third.

(China Daily via AFP March 26, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Twin Diving Medals for China at Swimming Worlds
- Twins Makes Breakthrough for Synchronized Swimming
- China Leads in Two More Diving Events
- Police Confirms Illicit Drugs Found in Athletes' Hotel
- Chinese Divers, Russian Swimmers Triumphant
- Dedieu Breaks Russian Gold Streak
- Guo Springs to Fourth World Title
- Shanghai to Host 2011 Swimming Worlds
Most Viewed >>