It was a golden start for South Africa on the first day of the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, on Saturday. Chad Ho’s hard work and determination led him to win Mzansi’s first gold medal in the 5km Open Water Swimming race. The rough waters of the Kazanka river presented a though challenge for Ho, with the final 400m proving crucial for the Durbanite as he narrowly beat Germany’s Rob Muffels in the final sprint and touched the wall in 55:17.60.
Ho, who won the bronze medal at the 2009 FINA Open Water Swimming World Championships and was the youngest competitor in the field to claim the overall title of the 2010 FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup, was overwhelmed by his performance. He says: ‘Wow! This is an unbelievable achievement for me and I am filled with emotions that I cannot explain or express. I am now looking forward to the 10km race on Monday.’ SA’s Nicolaos Manoussakis finished 16th in 55:26.50.
In the women’s 5km race, Carmen Le Roux ended the race in 27th place with a time of 1:04:06.2 ahead of teammate Clarice Le Roux who managed a 32nd place finish in 1:05:50.8. In the synchro section of the competition, Kerry Norden executed the Solo Technical category event with 61.7306 points to finish the preliminary round in 24th place, while Nicole Gillis and Julia Vincent came 15th in the 3m Synchro Springboard Diving preliminaries.
Sunday’s action packed programme will see Vincent and Micaela Bouter compete in the 1m Diving Springboard, as well as Emma Manners Wood and Laura Strugnell in the Synchro Duet Technical, while the Water Polo ladies will take on the Netherlands in their first match of the Championships.