Van der Weijden stuns field in 10-kilometre open water swim

Society Materials 21 August 2008 08:28 (UTC +04:00)

Dutch open-water swimmer Maarten van der Weijden Thursday stunned the rest of the field when he overtook Briton David Davies on the final stretch of the men's 10-kilometre open- water swimming event at the Beijing Olympics to win gold.

Silver went to Davies, while German Thomas Lurz took bronze.

Davies took the lead from Greece's Spyridon Gianniotis with just over a kilometre to go and then looked as if he could hold on before having to see the Dutchman pass him.

The 27-year-old van der Weijden, who earlier this year won the world championships in the 25-km event in Sevilla, finished in a time of one hour 51 minutes 51.6 seconds.

Davies was 1.5 seconds behind, while six-time world champion Lurz was a further 0.5 seconds behind.

"I am very happy with my bronze medal. I think the Dutchman deserved his victory, he has been around for a while and did well," Lurz said.

Russian Vladimir Dyatchin, who was one of the pre-race favourites, was disqualified for a foul with a kilometre to go.

On Wednesday Russia's Larisa Ilchenko won the women's competition, beating the British duo of Keri-Anne Payne and Cassandra Patten.

Wednesday's race was the first open-water swimming competition to be held at the Olympics, although it has been on the world championship calendar since 2001, the dpa reported.