Thursday, February 29, 2024

Historic first gold medal for Portugal

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At 19 years old, the Portuguese swimmer was the only one to finish the race under 23 seconds, at 22.97, his third-best time ever in the distance, to move up a level compared to previous World Championships, where he was second.

The Portuguese athlete, the junior world record holder in the 50-metre butterfly, is also registered in the 50-metre freestyle, 100-metre freestyle and 100-metre butterfly at the 2024 World Championships, distances in which he has already guaranteed qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – the 50-metre butterfly is not part of the Olympic calendar.

“I have no words at the moment. The start wasn’t good but I’m very happy to be world champion”, said the swimmer, immediately after the 50-metre butterfly race.

“This first gold medal for Portugal is incredible. I was silver in the last world championship, so getting gold now is something I already wanted. It’s spectacular because it’s not just about reaching the finish line, it’s about getting there and doing it”, he said.

Diogo Ribeiro was the second fastest out of the blocks, finishing the race ahead of the North American Michael Andrew (23.07 seconds) and the Australian Cameron McEvoy (23.08).

Fourth place went to another Australian, Isaac Cooper, fifth to Trinidadian Dylan Carter, sixth to Spaniard Mario Molla, seventh to Korean Inchil Baek and eighth to North American Shaine Casas (23.47).

In the first reactions to Diogo Ribeiro’s success, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, highlighted “another historic achievement for national swimming”.

“A huge achievement for Portugal. Congratulations, champion!”, wrote the Prime Minister, António Costa, on X, after considering that the swimmer “continues to make history with the national colours.

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