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Bronze for Cameron

Cameron van der Burgh secured South Africa’s first medal of the Fina World Swimming Championships when he won bronze in the men’s 100m breaststroke in Shanghai today. He also picked up the bronze in the previous world championships, in Rome two years ago.

The gold medal was an emotional victory for the Norwegian Alex Dale Oen, who became the first man to break 59sec in a textile suit in lifting the crown ahead of Fabio Scozzoli, of Italy, with Van der Burgh third.

It was a high-class field and Van der Burgh will feel satisfied that he was one of only three swimmers to dip under the one minute mark, touching the wall in 59.49. Behind him included swimmers of the calibre of Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, of Japan, and Australia’s reigning world champion Brenton Rickard.

However, it was a scintillating display by Dale Oen, days after at least 93 people had been killed in a bomb blast in Oslo and a subsequent gun rampage off a Norwegian island by a lone gunman.

His victory in 58.71 represented a huge leap in standards. The time fell just 0.13sec shy of Rickard’s world mark set in a polyurethane suit back in Rome 2009.

Van der Burgh is the reigning world 50m champion and record holder and will have an opportunity to retain his title in that event.

ÔÇ£It was a great race and I am happy with my timeÔÇØ said the 22-year-old┬áVan der Burgh soon after his incredible achievement.

ÔÇ£I am looking forward to the 50m breaststroke tomorrow, that is my main race. It will be easier for me than the 100m and I am excited to see how that one goesÔÇØ

In the remaining morning heats, Jean Basson ended 25th in the 200m freestyle with a time of 1:48.95, Suzaan van Biljon also came home in 25th position in the 100m breaststroke (1:09.64) while Charl Crous (55.14) and Gerhard Zandberg (55.21) finished 30th and 31st respectively in the 100m backstroke event.

Karin Prinsloo finished 16th in the 100m backstroke semi-finals with a time of 1:01.54.

Day three of the FINA World Championships swimming session will see Van der Burgh take on the 50m breaststroke, where he is the reigning champion. Prinsloo will tackle the women’s 200m freestyle along with Leone Vorster.

Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games star Chad le Clos is also set to hit the water in the 200m butterfly alongside Sebastien Rousseau. In the men’s 800m freestyle, Heerden Herman and Mark Randall will also be hoping to make their presence felt.

Earlier in the day in the water polo pool, the women’s SA team celebrated their first win of the Championships against Uzbekistan by a 6-5 margin, claiming the overall 15th position.

Kimberly Schmidt (1), Kimberly Kay (2), Sarah Harris (2) and Jemma Dendy (1) netted for Mzansi, while Aleksandra Sarancha, Evgeniya Ivanova, Anna Sheglova, Ramilya Halikova and Anna Plyusova scored for Uzbekistan.

The final water polo match for South Africa will be played on Tuesday when the men’s side takes on China.


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