Happy ending from Gunes

Turkey's Viktoria Gunes would have won a gold medal at the senior world championships in Kazan earlier this month with her time in the 200m breaststroke.
Turkey's Viktoria Gunes would have won a gold medal at the senior world championships in Kazan earlier this month with her time in the 200m breaststroke.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Turk lights up final night of junior c'ships with a world-best time in 200m breaststroke

The 11 finals on the sixth and final day of the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships alone would have justified the ticket price.

But Turkey's Viktoria Gunes made it all the more worthwhile as she clocked a world-best time in the 200m breaststroke - the first world-leading time to be clocked at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

The 17-year-old pulverised the world junior record of 2min 23.12sec when she clocked 2:19.64 to win her event at a canter. Runner-up Mariia Astashkina came in at 2:24.57, with her colleague Sofia Andreeva third (2:24.88).

It is the fastest 200m breast time in the world this year, and the fourth-fastest of all time according to Fina records. It would have won her a gold at the senior World Championships in Kazan earlier this month.

Incredibly, the time was also just behind the world record of 2:19.11 set by Denmark's Rikke Pedersen in 2013.

Gunes, whose seed time was 2:24.47, looked as stunned as the spectators as she walked to the mixed zone after her race.

The Turk, crowned the meet's best female swimmer, said: "It's amazing. I was just trying to swim 2:22.00. It was perfect. My mother must be crying back in Turkey now.

"My coach always said I can do it but I never believed in myself. But now, my head is clear. I don't know if I can go faster but now I have to aim for a medal at the Olympics."

Two other world junior marks fell last night - in the men and women's 4x100m medley relays.

Both were won by Russia.

The men triumphed in 3:36.44 to shatter the previous mark of 3:38.02 while their female counterparts clocked 4:01.05 to erase the previous record of 4:03.44.

The night's other golds went to Kyle Chalmers (men's 100m freestyle), Hugo Gonzalez (men's 200m backstroke), Rikako Ikee (100m butterfly), Brandonn Almeida (men's 1,500m free), Mariia Kameneva (women's 50m free), Nao Horomura (men's 200m fly), Andrius Sidlauskas (men's 50m breast) and Taylor Ruck (women's 200m free).

The meet saw new world junior records set in 15 events and 40 new championship marks.

Australia, who topped the medal table at the last edition in 2013, retained their crown as they finished with nine golds, seven silvers and three bronzes. Russia were second (7-4-10) while the United States were third (6-13-7).

Australian Chalmers said: "It's awesome to top the table. The key was having a positive attitude and staying professional throughout the whole meet."

American Michael Andrew was given the best male swimmer award although it exposed the flawed scoring system that the meet employs.

He finished with one gold, three silvers and one bronze while Russia's Anthon Chupkov, who bagged four golds, was overlooked.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2015, with the headline 'Happy ending from Gunes'. Print Edition | Subscribe