Olympics: Japan's Yui Ohashi clinches 400m medley title
Japan’s Yui Ohashi dethroned Hungarian 400m medley queen Katinka Hosszu on Sunday (July 25) while Australia’s all-conquering women’s 4x100m relay team smashed their own world record in the first day of swimming events at Tokyo 2020.
Veteran Hosszu won three golds and a silver at Rio in 2016, shattering the 400m medley world mark to cement her place as one of the world’s top swimmers.
But she qualified only seventh fastest for the final at the Tokyo Aquatic Center and, racing in lane one, was no match for an electric Ohashi who stunned the field to clinch the title.
The 25-year-old, who was only sixth fastest in the world this year coming into the event, turned in a sizzling breaststroke leg to take charge, touching in 4min 32.08sec.
US pair Emma Weyant (4:32.76) and Hali Flickinger (4:34.90) took silver and bronze with Hosszu, in her fifth Olympics, fading to fifth.
“I swam believing in myself. I really did not think of winning the gold,” said a disbelieving Ohashi.
“A lot of people supported me so that I could exert all my strength. I really appreciate it. I had an enjoyable race. It is still like a dream.”
Nicknamed the “Iron Lady”, Hosszu can still get herself on the Olympic podium again, having a gruelling Tokyo schedule that also includes the 200m medley, 200m backstroke and 200m butterfly.
Gold medal glory for the Australian relay squad was never in doubt after they qualified for the final nearly two seconds clear of the Netherlands.
Since taking nearly a full second off a super-suited world record in 2014, they have been dominant, winning the two previous Olympic golds, the 2019 world championships while setting two more world records in 2016 and 2018.
And they added to their glorious haul on Sunday.
Emma McKeon swum the fifth fastest relay split in history over leg three to pull them clear after Bronte Campbell and Meg Harris gave them a decent start.
Sprint veteran Cate Campbell then brought the team home in 3:29.69 to better their own mark set three years ago. – AFP