Swimming: Ukrainian Bukhov seizes world title, calls for Olympic ban on Russians

AFP , Saturday 17 Feb 2024

Vladyslav Bukhov sprung a surprise as he claimed his first world swimming title in Doha on Saturday and then said Russia should "absolutely not" be allowed at the Paris Olympics.

Vladyslav Bukhov
Silver medalist Cameron Mcevoy of Australia, gold medalist Vladyslav Bukhov of Ukraine and bronze medalist Benjamin Proud of Britain, from left to right, pose with their medals for the men s 50 meters freestyle final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. AP


After the 21-year-old edged the two previous world champions to the wall to win the men's 50m freestyle, he said his preparation had been tough.

"It's hard, really hard," he said. "We train while Russian rockets are flying round the swimming pool. You never know if you stay alive or not. It's difficult. For all Ukrainians."

Asked if Russians should compete at the Paris Olympics in five months, he said: "Absolutely not."

"I want to say Russia is dangerous and should not be supported in competition."

Bukhov had the slowest reaction time off the starting blocks, but claimed his first world championship medal as he beat Australian defending champion Cameron McEvoy to the touch by one hundredth of a second.

Britain's Ben Proud, the winner two years ago in Budapest, was 0.09sec back.

"Really tough. Never know who wins," said Bukhov. "I just did my job."

Sprint queen Sarah Sjostrom collected her 13th world title when she won the 50m butterfly.

The Swede, who claimed her first world title in 2009 in Rome, won in 24.63sec, finishing a decisive 0.81sec ahead of French swimmer Melanie Henique. Egyptian Farida Osman was third.

The 30-year-old remains the only woman to break 25sec in the event.

Sjostrom's 12 individual titles have all come over 50m or 100m in either freestyle or butterfly but she withdrew from the 100m free in Doha.

"I don't want to be greedy," she said. "Look at all my medals I won already and you will know why I don't have to do that many races any more."

Saturday's victory was her sixth straight 50m butterfly world title.

Henique and Osman each won a third world championship medal, neither has yet won a gold.

Henique took a silver behind Sjostrom two years ago. Osman has three bronzes, all in races Sjostrom won.

American Claire Curzan completed a sweep of the women's individual backstroke events as she won the 200m.

The 19-year-old American added to her 50m and 100m backstroke golds as she won the 200m in 2min 5.77sec, 1.26sec ahead of 17-year-old Australian Jaclyn Barclay with Anastasiya Shkurdai, a Belarusian swimming as a neutral, in third.

Another 19-year-old, Diogo Ribeiro, completed a men's butterfly double as he added 100m to his 50m title.

The Portuguese won in 51.17sec, 0.121sec ahead of Austrian Simon Bucher.

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