South African swimmer Zane Waddell has produced the biggest upset of the FINA World Championships so far by winning gold in the 50m backstroke on Sunday.
Russia’s Evgeny Rylov had been favoured for another gold medal but Waddell touched the wall 0.06s before the man who won the 200m backstroke on Saturday. Rylov’s compatriot Kliment Kolesnikov came in third as the superpower continues its resurgence in the pool.
Waddell’s gold compliments the double bronze effort of wounded swimming superstar Chad Le Clos and a maiden World Champs medal for Tatjana Schoenmaker. On Friday Schoenmaker became the first SA women to medal at the Long Course World Championships.
These are Waddell’s second World Championships after he competed in the 100m freestyle event at the 2017 event in Shanghai.
Waddell clocked a time of 24.43 seconds.
Gallery: Zane Waddell claims gold
Le Clos happy with world champs after competing injured
Ahead of the event, it seemed that Le Clos was South Africa’s best chance of gold but the Olympian was struggling with a groin niggle which may require surgery.
“I am very happy with my medals, considering the circumstances, it’s been a great week,” said
“A few weeks ago I didn’t know if I would be swimming or not, so to come here and get the two bronzes are great. It is not what I wanted…tonight in my crazy mind I thought I could win, but we will see what happens,” Le Clos said.
“We will go back to the drawing board, I am happy to go home, I haven’t been there since April, which is tough for me. I will spend a few weeks with my family and recoup.”