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Mellouli wins 5km crown in Barcelona

July 20, 2013
    Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia poses with his gold medal after winning the Open Water Swimming Men's 5k race on day one of the 15th FINA World Championships at Moll de la Fusta on July 20, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia poses with his gold medal after winning the Open Water Swimming Men’s 5k race on day one of the 15th FINA World Championships at Moll de la Fusta on July 20, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia won the 5-kilometre open water race at the world swimming championships Saturday in Barcelona, Spain with an impressive finishing kick while Canada’s Eric Hedlin took silver, 1.2 seconds behind.

Mellouli, who won the 10K at last year’s London Games, sprinted past his rivals as soon as he got within the ropes outlining the finish area.

He clocked 53 minutes, 30.4 seconds.

Five-time world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany finished third, edging out South African ace Chad Ho off the podium, who posted an excellent time 53:33,7.  Ho’s compatriot Danie Marais should be well pleased with his effort of 53:51,0 to secure 27th place overall, a mere 20,6 seconds off the winning time, an effort that certainly aurgers well for the youngster.

Already the first swimmer to win medals in both the pool and open water at the same Olympics, Mellouli is also the favourite for the 10K Monday. He is entered in three pool events — the 400, 800 and 1,500-meter freestyle — but won’t decide on those races until after the open water events.

American swimmer Haley Anderson won the women’s open water race Saturday to take the first gold medal of the swimming world championships.

A silver medallist in last year’s 10K Olympic race, Anderson edged Poliana Okimoto of Brazil in a sprint finish in the city’s harbour.

Anderson finished in 56 minutes, 34.2 seconds while Okimoto took second 0.02 behind.

Another Brazilian, Ana Marcela Cunha, finished third.

The race took place in ideal conditions, with the water 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit) and the air temperature between 28 and 29 Celsius (82 and 84 Fahrenheit).

Crowds lined the docks as the competitors swam alongside a line of moored boats and the port.

Results of the Men’s 5km at BCN2013

CN | additional reporting ZwemZa

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