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Swimming: America's Ledecky wins inaugural Olympic women's 1,500m freestyle gold

Swimming: America's Ledecky wins inaugural Olympic women's 1,500m freestyle gold

The United States' Katie Ledecky (centre) swims to win the gold medal in the women's 1,500m freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Jul 28, 2021. (Photo: AP/David J Phillip)

TOKYO: World record holder Katie Ledecky claimed the inaugural women's Olympic 1,500m gold medal on Wednesday (Jul 28), producing a commanding swim to win her first title of the Tokyo Games.

Just 75 minutes after her disappointing fifth-place finish in the 200m freestyle final, the American clocked 15:37.34, ahead of team-mate Erica Sullivan (15:41.41) and Germany's Sarah Kohler (15:42.91).

It was well outside her own world record time of 15:20.48, but still one of the fastest ever.

READ: Japan's Yui Ohashi wins women's Olympic 200m individual medley

READ: Titmus downs Ledecky, Milak gets 200m butterfly gold and Ohashi does medley double

The result was never really in doubt. While Ledecky has swum under 15:40 countless times in her career, just one other swimmer, Denmark's Lotte Friis, has ever broken the barrier.

But Sullivan went close, with a powerful final 200m to narrow the gap on her distinguished team-mate in the final stages.

Ledecky went out strongly and was ahead by a body length after 200m, and she never relinquished the lead to add another chapter to her glittering career.

The women's 1,500m is one of three new events on the Olympic swimming programme this year, along with the men's 800m free, and the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

Ledecky, who won four gold and a silver at the Rio Olympics, has now claimed one gold and a silver in Tokyo with the 800m to go and potentially a relay.

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Source: AFP/kg


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