Olympic Park: Access for pre-Games Elite Athlete Training
Throughout 2011 and early 2012, construction on the London 2012 Olympic Park will come to an end and venues will be handed over to LOCOG in order to prepare for the Games. During this pre-Games phase, LOCOG will be responsible for completing the fit-out, operating and maintaining the venues. Also during this period LOCOG will, where possible, support the use of these venues for elite athlete training.
Sun Yang (CHN) improves 1500m free World Record
Exactly 10 years and two days later, the oldest World Record in the charts, established by Grant Hackett (AUS) in the men’s 1500m free (14:34.56) at the 2001 edition of the FINA World Championships in Fukuoka (JPN), was improved by China’s Sun Yang in the last day of the swimming finals in Shanghai. Yang touched home in 14:34.14, bettering Hackett’s mark by 0.42 and getting the second World Record of this competition, after Lochte’s effort in the 200m individual medley. It was the fourth medal in front of his fans for Yang (19 years old), after the gold in the 800m free, the silver in the 400m free and the bronze in the 4x200m free relay. The Chinese star was already the second best performer in history in this event, after clocking 14:35.43 in November 2010. At 17, in Rome 2009, he had been the bronze medallist, behind Ryan Cochrane (CAN, again silver in 14:44.46) and Oussama Mellouli (TUN, the current Olympic champion). In China, the Tunisian finished only 15th of the heats, which opened a new possibility for Gergo Kis (HUN), third at the Oriental Sports Centre in 14:45.66.
“I’m very happy to have won the gold and broken the World record. I didn’t think I could break the record; I just wanted to keep my pace. In a long-distance swimming event like this one, anything can happen in the middle of the process so my aim was to keep the good energy and a stable mindset to the end. This is a result of all the hard training and preparation I went through in Australia with Denis Cotterell [Grant Hackett’s coach],” commented Sun Yang on his race.
Italy returns to world stage with extra-time victory
Italy has returned to the top tier of men’s world water polo, wresting the FINA World Championship crown from the Balkans in a spectacular gold-medal final at the Natatorium on Saturday.
The climax to the 14-day water polo programme saw Italy take world champion Serbia to extra time after the game was locked at 6-6. A 2-1 first period had Italy in the box seat and the second period yielded no goals for the 8-7 victory.
The game had everything, although water polo purists may say it was too much. It had a huge crowd players and coaches red-carded, coach antics poolside and a fantastic celebration afterwards that had the spectators cheering and dancing in the aisles.
Following the presentation of the medals, the entire Italian team, dressed in tracksuits and shoes, jumped into the water with their medals to celebrate.
It lifted Italy above Serbia after finishing runner-up to the Serbs at the recent FINA World League Super Final in Florence with the same score.
USA success: six medals for Phelps; Franklin with five
In a teenagers’ final, Melissa (“Missy”) Franklin (USA) got her fourth medal in these championships, the gold, in the women’s 200m backstroke (2:05.10). In Shanghai, she had previously assured the title in the 4x200m free relay, obtained the silver in the 4x100m free relay and earned bronze in the 50m backstroke. The 16-year-old swimmer is definitively the most notable “rookie” of the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, and various experts in the pool deck consider her arrival at the top of the world hierarchy a phenomenon similar to the first gold of a “certain” Michael Phelps in 2001 in Fukuoka, also at 16… Franklin was born on May 10, 1995 in Pasadena (California), but lives in Aurora (Colorado). Swimming for the Colorado Stars and coached by Todd Schmitz, she started swimming because of her mother’s fear of the water!
Greece fends off China for women’s water polo gold
Antigoni ROUMPESI and Alexandra ASIMAKI guided Greece to its first FINA World Championship in women’s water polo at the Natatorium on Friday.
The dynamic duo scored three goals each as Greece led from the front and survived a late Chinese comeback amidst a huge barrage of fouls that almost derailed its chance for glory.
For both teams it was a first medal at this level. Before tonight, Greece had Olympic silver and FINA World League gold and two bronzes while China had just the FINA World Cup bronze from last year. Both are now hot contenders for next year’s London Olympic Games.
Greece made the move in the second quarter with a 2-0 effort and levelled the third at four. The margin went to three (9-6) early in the fourth period but despite many chances could not expand the gap. China scored twice and had a chance in the final half minute but blew the pass.
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