Swimming: Veteran South African van der Burgh says emotional goodbye at short-course world c'ships

HANGZHOU (XINHUA) – South Africa’s veteran swimmer Cameron van der Burgh could not find a better way to announce his farewell after winning the 100m breaststroke gold medal at the 14th Fina World Swimming Championships (25m) on Wednesday (Dec 12).

The 30-year-old, winner of the event at the 2012 London Olympic Games, delivered a strong performance at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Centre and broke the championship record in 56.01sec before revealing that he was quitting.

“When I made the turn at 75 metres, I knew I had a good chance and I had to hold on. Luckily it wasn’t one metre more or I would have lost that one,” said van der Burgh, who was also world short course champion in the 100m breaststroke in 2010 and 50m breaststroke at Windsor in 2016 and is the current world record holder in the 100m.

“It means the world to me. It is my last race, so I am extremely happy. The world championship means a lot,” he said. “It is the last one. It is sad but I am happy to end on a high. “The last 25 metres was the most pain I have ever had in my life in swimming, so it was a good way to finish.

“It is funny how these things turn out. At least I have no loose ends to tie up or reason to come back.”

Belarus’ Ilya Shymanovich was second in 56.10 and Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki third in an Asian record time of 56.13.

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