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Stubborn Gianniotis banishes Olympic pain in 10-km

July 22, 2013
Spyridon Gianniotis

Spyridon Gianniotis

Greece‘s Spyridon Gianniotis made up for missing a medal at the 2012 Olympics when sheer willpower carried him to the line to win the men’s 10-km open water event at the world championships on Monday.

The 33-year-old attacked on the fourth and final lap around the Catalan city’s picturesque Moll de la Fusta port and dug deep in the final metres to hold off a late charge from Thomas Lurz of Germany who came in second.

Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, who won Saturday’s 5-km race, faded in the closing stages but just managed to pip France’s Damien Cattin-Vidal and Richard Weinberger of Canada to clinch third.

After his triumph in Shanghai two years ago, it was a second straight world title in the gruelling event for Gianniotis, who finished fourth at the London Olympics.

He also becomes only the second man to successfully defend his 10-km gold after Russia’s Vladimir Dyatchin in 2008.

“I was very close to the podium at the Olympics and I was very upset,” he said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster TVE.

“This year here today I was stubborn and I wanted to do it and I told myself that the Olympics was just a bad trip.

“I said to myself on the last lap give it everything and it was totally positive.

“The last 20 metres were very, very, very hard but I had the psychology and the will power.”

A former long-distance pool swimmer who has an English mother, Gianniotis returned a winning time of one hour 49 minutes and 11.8 seconds.

Lurz, the Olympic silver medallist in London, finished in 1:49:14.5 and Mellouli 1:49:19.2.

Meanwhile South African champion Chad Ho once again aquited himself well when he finished in 8th place in a time of 1:49,26,3 a mere 14,5 seconds behind the victorious Greek. Ho once again reaffirmed his status as one of the worlds leading exponents of open water swimming and with age on his side, he certainly looks like a class act heading into Rio 2016.

His compatriot Troyden Prinsloo fell off the pace and had to be content with a 51st place overall in a time of 1:51,48,0 some 2:36,2 off the pace.

Results of Men’s 10km Barcelona 2013

reuters | additional reporting ZwemZa

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