Ο αθλητής του Ολυμπιακού Πειραιώς Σπύρος Γιαννιώτης – που κάνει προπόνηση με τον Νίκο Γέμελο- κατέκτησε την πρώτη θέση και ταυτόχρονα το χρυσό μετάλλιο στο Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα στα 1ο χλμ. κολύμβησης ανοιχτού νερού (Open water) που διεξήχθει στην Σαγκάη ενώ η αθλήτρια του Ολυμπιακού Πειραιώς Μαριάννα Λυμπερτά κατέκτησε την τρίτη θέση και το χάλκινο μετάλλιο στον αντίστοιχο αγώνα των γυναικών. Ταυτόχρονα με την θέση στο βάθρο οι δύο αθλητές του Ολυμπιακού κατέκτησαν και το εισητήριο πρόκρισης για τους Ολυμπιακούς αγώνες του 2012 που θα γίνουν στο Λονδίνο.
Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα Αντρών – 10 χλμ
Ο Σπύρος Γιαννιώτης δήλωσε για την κατάκτηση του χρυσού μεταλλίου στα 10χλμ ανοικτής θάλασσας, στο Παγκόσμιο πρωτάθλημα της Σαγκάης: «Αυτό το μετάλλιο ήταν το απωθημένο μου, ειδικά στα 10χλμ. Η πρώτη μου σκέψη μόλις τερμάτισα ήταν ‘πω πω τι έκανα, είμαι πρώτος στον κόσμο’. Μου βγήκε όλη η πίεση εκείνη τη στιγμή. Ολη η χρονιά και η προσπάθεια των τελευταίων ετών πέρασε σαν εικόνα από μπροστά μου. Ηταν τρομερά τα συναισθήματα. Χαρά και ευτυχία. Η ανοικτή θάλασσα έχει μεγάλη ψυχολογική καταπόνηση. Απέδειξα πως με υπομονή και επιμονή όλα γίνονται. Αυτό το μετάλλιο το αφιερώνω στον προπονητή μου, την οικογένειά μου, την Ομοσπονδία και σε όλους αυτούς που με αγαπάνε, είναι δίπλα μου και με στηρίζουν. Η συμμετοχή σε 4η Ολυμπιάδα είναι μεγάλη επιτυχία. Δεν θα πω τώρα τι σκέφτομαι για το Λονδίνο. Θα δουλέψω και θα προσπαθήσω για το καλύτερο». Ο πρόεδρος της ΚΟΕ, Δημήτρης Διαθεσόπουλος, ανέφερε: «Η επιτυχία του Σπύρου είναι μία από τις μεγαλύτερες στην ιστορία του ελληνικού αθλητισμού. Χίλια μπράβο στον Σπύρο. Είναι ένας αθλητής μάλαμα, ένας θαυμάσιος χαρακτήρας, μια ποιότητα ανθρώπινη, που λαμπρύνουν ακόμη περισσότερο το χρυσό μετάλλιο. Ο Σπύρος αποτελεί παράδειγμα προς μίμηση για όλους τους αθλητές. Ας κρατήσουμε όμως κάβα, γιατί έχουμε να περιμένουμε και άλλα τις επόμενες μέρες».
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Spyridon (“Spyros”) Gianniotis of Greece, a three time Olympian is heading to his 4th Olympic Games. The 31 year old placed 16th in the inaugural 10km event in Beijing but he surely will be considered one of the favourites in the London Olympic Marathon 10km after capturing the world title in the men’s 10km event today at Jinshan Beach, Shanghai. Gianniotis has previously shown his strength in the 5km event, placing third in the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne and second in the 2009 edition in Rome.
Gianniotis who felt he was in 35th position at the halfway mark was able to pass Britain’s Daniel Fogg with about 1200m left in the race. Gianniotis overtook the defending world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany in the final 100m of the men’s 10km marathon. Gianniotis and Lurz alternated the lead during a 750m sprint to the finish line. Gianniotis struck gold at 1:54.24.7, two and one half seconds ahead of Lurz, the most decorated male open water swimmer of the century. Lurz owns a bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Lurz won the 10km event two years ago in Rome as well as gold medals in the FINA Open Water World Championships in 2004 and 2008. Lurz is also the world’s greatest 5km swimmer having won a major title each and every year from 2005 through 2010. The German titan holds 9 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze medals in FINA world championship open water swimming events.
Sergey Bolshakov of Russia placed third and his Russian teammate Vladimir Dyatchin earned his pass to the London Olympics with a 9th place finish. Dyatchin is no stranger to the 10km, having collected the title of World Champion in the 2003 and 2007 FINA World Championships in Barcelona and in Melbourne. Lurz’s German teammate Andreas Waschburger was the final athlete to qualify for the London Olympic Games. Only Russia and Germany have qualified two athletes for the 2012 Olympic Marathon 10km.
Alex Meyer (USA), the 2010 FINA Open Water World Champion in the 25km, finished in fourth place, 8.4 seconds behind the champion. “My main goal coming here was to make the Olympic team,” he said. “It’s kind of a bittersweet moment because Fran Crippen, who tragically died in October 2010 in the last leg of the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup in UAE] is not here. That was a dream we shared to go to the Olympics together and it’s not going to happen now.”
Daniel Fogg of Great Britain was hoping to book his ticket to his home nation’s Olympics by a fast start and a strong finish. He was the leader after the first (29:00), second (57.30) and third (1:26.30) loops. Fogg appeared to be taking a page from the playbook of Keri-Anne Payne (GBR), yesterday’s 10km women’s champion. Payne took the lead avoiding the congestion and the physicality of the other athletes. Fogg led the field of 67 swimmers for more than 8km with the two German swimmers consistently on his shoulders for nearly all of the time that he was out in front.
A twenty year old Gianniotis competed in the 400m and the 1500m freestyle events in his first Olympic Games in Sydney. At the 2004 Olympics in his home country he represented his nation well in the finals of the same two events, placing 5th in the 1500m freestyle and 7th in the 400m freestyle. The freestyle specialist repeated the 400m and 1500m event in this third Olympics in Beijing, but by his own admission he was already contemplating a more successful future in the Olympic Marathon.
Ironically, the 1.85m and tattooed athlete was born in 1980 not far from the haunts of the Beatles in Liverpool, Merseyside. The Greek swimmer declared that “swimming in London will be like swimming at home” as he is the son of an English mother.
Gianniotis insists that open water swimming is like the Olympic (running) Marathon or the Tour de France of cycling. The Greek swimmer is convinced that lots of training and experience is necessary before one can be a successful open water swimmer. “The older you get the better you are able to compete and to keep your mind focused. This is hard to do when you are younger.” Asked about the strategy of Fogg, the Hellenic swimmer said “when I started in the sport I thought the same thing, race a strong 7.5km and then endure the ‘hell’ of the last 2.5km. I am a guy who waits and keeps his mind focused and maintains my strength. For me, the best tactic is to keep my energy for the sprint. It can’t be a sprint for 1000m, but sometimes it feels like it is.”
More from the Greek champion: “In today’s race I felt uncomfortable, due to the water temperature, for the first 6km. I was frustrated with the elbows and the contact while debating with myself ‘I can, I cannot, I can’. But when I picked up the pace at the 8km I just felt stronger and I was eager to qualify for London. As I felt better and better I thought I would race for a medal. It was very hard for me but the success is that I now have my first gold medal in a FINA World Championships.”
Lurz, also 31 and formerly a pool swimmer, spoke of the fact that two German swimmers will compete in the next Olympics: “This is a very big success for the German Swimming Federation. Washy (Andreas Waschburger) and I have a good relationship and sometimes we train together. I am very happy that he has also qualified.” When asked about the tactics of the British swimmer he said “in the men’s race it is impossible to win by leading from the start to the finish. Of course when you swim alone you can avoid the fighting. I agree that everyone has their own tactics, but for me I prefer to sit back and conserve my energy for a strong finish.”
The rest of the top 10, who also automatically qualified for the 2012 London Olympics include Australia’s Ky Hurst, Spain’s Francisco Hervas Jodar, Belgium’s Brian Ryckeman, France’s Julien Sauvage, Russia’s Vladimir Dyatchin and Germany’s Andreas Waschburger.
With 10 of the 25 Olympic spots being filled this morning, the remaining 15 spots will be at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier in Setubal, Portugal, on June 9-10. One of the 15 will be reserved for an athlete from the Olympic host nation. The fastest from each of the five continents will qualify for an Olympic berth and the balance of the positions will be filled by the fastest athletes from the men’s qualifying event. Only one per nation will be selected to complete the 10km field. A total of twenty-three different nations will be represented in the men’s 10km event in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
A five-loop course in Setubal Bay is intended to replicate the 2012 London Olympics course to be held in the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Setubal is located on the outskirts of Lisbon. The water temperature is expected to be between 18 and 19 degrees centigrade while the air temperature could be as warm as 32 degrees according to the Paulo Frischknecht, the President of the Portuguese Swimming Federation (FPN) and FINA Bureau Member.
The Open Water portion of the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China will continue on July 21 with the 5km team event. The team event is a new addition to the World Championships with 17 nations entered. Each team will consist of three swimmers per each team with each gender represented. Teams will leave one minute apart and the time of the slowest swimmer will be used to determine the order of finish.
Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα Γυναικών – 10 χλμ
Η Μαριάννα Λυμπερτά δήλωσε για την κατάκτηση του χάλκινου μεταλλίου στα 10χλμ ανοικτής θάλασσας, στο Παγκόσμιο πρωτάθλημα της Σαγκάης: «Είμαι πολύ κουρασμένη, αλλά πάρα πολύ χαρούμενη. Η φετινή ήταν η πιο δύσκολη χρονιά της ζωής μου. Οι κόποι μου ανταμείφθηκαν. Πολλά ευχαριστώ στον προπονητή μου, Μίλτο Κανελλόπουλο. Αν δεν ήταν αυτός, δεν θα ήμουν τώρα εδώ. Είμαι πανευτυχής και για την πρόκριση στο Λονδίνο. Αφιερώνω αυτό το μετάλλιο σε μένα, τον προπονητή μου και την οικογένειά μου». Ο πρόεδρος της ΚΟΕ, Δημήτρης Διαθεσόπουλος, ανέφερε: «Πρόκειται για μεγάλη επιτυχία. Συγχαρητήρια στο κορίτσι. Για την εποχή που βιώνει ο ελληνικός αθλητισμός, η κατάκτηση ενός μεταλλίου σε Παγκόσμιο πρωτάθλημα αποτελεί φοβερό κατόρθωμα. Η Μαριάννα φέτος έζησε μια τρομερή κατάσταση. Μπράβο και πάλι μπράβο και για την πρόκριση στο Λονδίνο. Η ελληνική αποστολή συνεχίζει, δεν τελείωσε εδώ». Ο προπονητής της Λυμπερτά, Μίλτος Κανελλόπουλος, τόνισε: «Αυτή η επιτυχία της Μαριάννας την κατατάσσει στις 2-3 κορυφαίες Ελληνίδες κολυμβήτριες όλων των εποχών. Το άξιζε αυτό το μετάλλιο. Όλα αυτά που πέρασε φέτος λειτούργησαν θετικά τελικά για εκείνη. Δικαιωθήκαμε, δίνοντας τον αγώνα μας κάτω από δύσκολες συνθήκες. Της αξίζουν πολλά συγχαρητήρια. Τρομερή επιτυχία αποτελεί και η πρόκρισή της στο Λονδίνο, που θα αποτελέσει την 4η παρουσία της σε Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες».
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Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist convincingly defended her title of world champion in the women’s 10km on Jinshan City Beach in Shanghai. Payne edged out Martina Grimaldi of Italy by 1.8 seconds, completing the race in the time of 2:01.58.1. Marianna Lymperta of Greece earned the bronze medal finishing 3.7 seconds behind the British champion.
Payne was the 10km champion in the 2009 edition held in Rome. She becomes the first British athlete to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. “It’s hasn’t sunk in yet that I have qualified or that I have won. I’m waiting to hear from my sister who is pregnant with her first child. I’ll be in touch with her as soon as I get out of doping control. Then I am looking forward to a swim down and a good nights sleep,” said Payne.
“The media have asked me if I have felt any pressure in the lead up to this race, but I really haven’t noticed any. My main focus has been in making the Olympic Team. I will be swimming the 1500m in the pool next week and I may also be on the 4 x 200m free relay as well. I’m looking forward to getting into the pool to see how I feel.” When asked about her race Payne admitted “leading the race is my usual tactic and I wanted to be out front from the start. I don’t like it when we fight in the pack. When I am leading I have a pretty good idea where everyone is and I know that they must pass me if they want to lead.”
Twenty-three year old Payne is coached by Sean Kelly of the Stockport Training Centre, a suburb of Manchester. Kelly coached Payne and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Cassandra Patten as well as Olympian Steven Parry. Patten finished in a disappointing 21st place in the Jinshan Beach 10km. Due to the FINA qualification system, there will not be a second British female athlete in the 2012 Olympic 10km event.
Kelly said he was “delighted with the outcome of today’s race; it proves that what we are doing is not a fluke. Keri-Anne has given up a lot to get where she is today, in fact we both have sacrificed a lot. She has been training hard and it showed today.” Kelly revealed their strategy planned more than a year ago: “We decided that our tactic was to be in front and she executed it perfectly”.
Asked if Payne will be in the August 13th Olympic 10km test event to be held in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, her coach said: “No, she won’t be there, she will be on holiday until August 22nd when it’s time to get back into the water. She will be racing in the 1500m next week but it will all depend on how quickly she recovers. The 10km takes a lot out of her but we will know more after I give her a test set. Hopefully she will be ready for the pool.”
Today’s silver medallist Martina Grimaldi (ITA) was the 10km champion in the 2010 FINA Open Water World Championships in Roberval (CAN), and previously placed third in the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome. The Italian recapped her race: “I just tried to stay focused and keep track of who attacked. I hope I gave the rest of the team more motivation, even though we’re all well trained, as we showed today.”
Australian Melissa Gorman was in the lead pack for much of the race, often swimming stroke for stroke with Payne. The 26-year-old was an equal leader in the race with 2.5km to go, only to drop off from a lead pack at the 1000m mark. Gorman was the bronze medallist in the same event at last year’s open water world championships in Canada, and earned the gold medal in the 5km in Rome in 2009.
credit: Girgio Scala
“It’s fantastic to know that I’ve qualified for London a year out from the Games, and that’s only going to help with my preparation for next year,” said Gorman. “I was right up to the leaders coming into the final turn and when they put on a bit of pace I tried to give it everything I had, but just had nothing left to give so I just tried to hold my position and knew that as long as I didn’t let too many people pass me that I would still qualify for the top 10. Once I let the leaders get away from me that was my next objective, to finish in the top 10.”
On the line in today’s 10km race were 10 spots for automatic qualification into the 2012 Olympic Games. The 10 women qualified in Shanghai for the second ever Olympic 10km race to be held in the Serpentine Course in Hyde Park in August 2012 include: 4th place: Melissa Gorman, (AUS); 5th: Cecilia Biagioli (ARG); 6th: Poliana Okimoto (BRA); 7th: Jana Pechanova (CZE); 8th: Angela Maurer (GER); 9th: Swann Oberson (SUI) and 10th: Ericka Villaecija Garcia (ESP). All 10 athletes are from different countries. The only opportunity for a second athlete to qualify from the same nation would be if both finished in the top 10.
The air and water temperatures taken at 8am, one hour before the race, was 29.2 and 28.3 respectively at Shanghai’s Jinshan City Beach. A total of 56 athletes hailing from 29 different nations entered the water at 9am with 50 of them completing four loops in the rectangular 10km course. Hungary’s Eva Risztov received a red card without warning and was ejected from the race for illegal contact with Australian Gorman. Risztov insisted that “it was kind of a water polo match that she was playing with the Australian” alluding to a great deal of physical contact between these two athletes.
A total of 25 women will race in the Olympic 10km in London. With the selection of 10 today, the remaining 15 athletes must qualify at the Olympic Marathon qualifying event to be held next June in Setubal, Portugal.