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Ledecky fights back to win 1,500m after second defeat to Titmus

Ledecky fights back to win 1,500m after second defeat to Titmus

DPA
Sydney
American Katie Ledecky became the first Olympic champion in the women’s 1,500-metre freestyle thanks to a typically dominating performance just over an hour after being well-beaten in the final of the 200m free
on Wednesday.
The American superstar, who placed fifth in the 200m, led from beginning to end and finished in 15 minutes 37.34 seconds to claim her first gold medal in Tokyo and sixth overall.
Ledecky, 24, was not competitive over the shorter distance as 20-year-old Australian Ariarne Titmus took her second Tokyo gold having beaten the US great in a thriller over 400m earlier in the Games.
American Erica Sullivan fought off Germany’s Sarah Kohler for the silver, more than 4 seconds adrift, with Kohler taking a first German Olympic pool medal in 13 years in a national record 15:42.91.
“It is the first women’s 1,500m so I couldn’t have a better outcome than that. I’m so, so happy,” Ledecky said.
“[The gold] means a lot. People maybe feel bad that I’m not winning everything, but I want people to be more concerned about other things in the world.” Runner-up Sullivan heaped praise on her compatriot.
“I had the Olympic record for 16 minutes until she broke it. She’s a legend and she’ll forever be a legend. The fact that I get to swim in the same generation as her, it’s just so cool,” Sullivan said.
A little earlier, Titmus won gold in the 200m for a second triumph in her hotly anticipated duel with Ledecky after defeating her in Monday’s 400m freestyle.
Titmus, who also won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay on Sunday, came back in the last 50 metres to beat Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey and set a new Olympic record 1:53.50.
Haughey, who set an new Asian record, touched just 0.42 seconds later to win the silver while Canada’s Penny Oleksiak took bronze.
“Bloody exhausted,” Titmus said after winning gold, “That was a hell of a tough one. I knew [Haughey] really wanted this. I could tell by the way that she swam yesterday morning, so I knew it would be tough to beat her.
“It’s not the time I thought I could do this morning, but it’s the Olympics and there’s a lot of other things going on.” Titmus will meet Ledecky once more in Tokyo in the 800m free, with the American favourite in the longer race having been almost unchallenged since her first Olympic win in 2012.
Japan’s Yui Ohashi won a second individual medley gold while a dominant Kristof Milak also set an Olympic record as he won gold in the 200m butterfly.
Ohashi started slow, touching the wall fifth after the butterfly leg of the 200m, and pulled off a gutsy comeback on American Alex Walsh to beat her to the wall by 0.13 seconds with 2:8.52.
American Kate Douglass, who came into the final with the fastest time, won bronze while Hungary’s Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu placed seventh as her years of dominance end.
Hungary’s Milak put on the jets in the final stages, leaving the rest of the field for dead and clocking 1:51.25, 0.52 seconds shy of his own world record.
Japan’s Tomoru Honda won silver after touching the wall 2.48 seconds behind Milak, while Italy’s Federico Burdisso held on for bronze with 1:54.45, just 0.07 ahead of Hungary’s Tama Kendresi.
And Britain dominated the men’s 4x200m freestyle led by 200m Olympic champion Tom Dean and runner-up Duncan Scott.
The team of Dean, James Guy, Matthew Richards and Scott was just 0.03 shy of the world record with 6:58.58, a new European record.
The Russian Olympic Committee won silver just 0.03 seconds ahead of Australia with the US fourth.
Australian Emma McKeon topped the women’s 100m free heats in an Olympic record 52.13 and South African Tatjana Schoenmaker took the same honour with 2:19.16 in the 200m breaststroke- only 5 hundredths off the world record.
Briton Luke Greenback led the men’s 200m backstroke with Rio champion Ryan Murphy seventh while his fellow American Michael Andrew was first in the 200m individual medley.
And Australia went fasted in the 4x200m freestyle relay, even without Titmus in the preliminary round.

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