Olympics: Kazakh Balandin wins men's 200m breaststroke gold

Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan celebrates after his shock win at the men's 200m Breaststroke final of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 10 August 2016.
Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan celebrates after his shock win at the men's 200m Breaststroke final of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 10 August 2016.PHOTO: EPA

RIO DE JANEIRO - Kazakh Dmitriy Balandin, swimming in lane eight, was the shock winner of the men's 200m breaststroke gold on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old finished in 2min 7.45sec.

American Josh Prenot took silver at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in 2:07.53. Russian Anton Chupkov completed the podium ( 2:07.70).

 

World champion Marco Koch of Germany was seventh (2:08.00).

Japan's Ippei Watanabe, 19, signalled his intent on Tuesday when he set an Olympic record time of 2:07.22 in the semi-finals. But he could only finish sixth ( 2:07.70).

Balandin, in contrast, qualified for the final in last place, clocking 2:08.20 in the semis. Yet he went on to win his country's first Olympic swimming medal.

"(This) is the biggest honour I can give (Kazakhstan)," he said. "I think the whole of Kazakhstan will be drinking tonight."

While it is rare to win Olympic gold from lane eight, it has been done before. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Australian Kieren Perkins won the men's 1500m gold from the outside lane.