George Bovell left Tokyo yesterday with two gold medals after winning the 50 metre freestyle on the second day of the FINA/ARENA Swimming Short Course World Cup at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center in Japan. On Tuesday's opening day, Bovell clocked 51.8 seconds to beat Australian Kenneth To win the 100 individual medley.
Bovell won his seventh gold medal of the World Cup series and also completed a fourth sub-21 clocking yesterday when he touched the finish line in 20.94 seconds, to beat American veteran Anthony Ervin (21.15) into second. The Japanese pair of Kenta Ito (21.48) and Shrini Shioura (21.52) finished third and fourth respectively. Bovell's tally now stands at seven gold and seven silver medals won in 14 World Cup races.
However, despite his double gold performance Bovell only shaved a mere three points off the overall series lead held by Australian To. The FINA World Cup is a global circuit of two-day meets, similar to athletic's Golden League and one in which the overall male and female circuit winners at the end of the eight-meet series, will earn US$100,000 each. To has amassed 145 points and holds a substantial 20-lead over Bovell (125 points) going into the final meet of the series from November 10-11 in Singapore City.
But, Bovell has been getting words of encouragement from 400m hurdler Jehue Gordon, his Trinidad and Tobago Olympic teammate. Following Bovell's win yesterday in Tokyo, Gordon tweeted: "Don't chase the money, chase the dream."
On the women's side of the competition, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu (146 points) holds a runaway lead over compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakbos (79 points). Hosszu, the dominant swimmer in the series, got three more gold medals, this time in the 200m IM, 200m free and 800m free.
In the medley event, she established the best female performance of the day, clocking 2:07.51 (933 points). The Magyar champion got her fifth victory in this event, which had in Shiwen Ye (China) the fastest winner so far, with a 2:06.10 finish in the Water Cube. It was also the fifth gold medal for Hosszu in the 200m free and 800m free.
There was also a world record performance by Japan's Daiya Seto, who established a new record of the competition in the men's 400m individual medley. The 18-year-old athlete touched home in 4:00.02, bettering the previous World Cup record (4:00.12) he had set in the fifth meet of the series in Berlin (Germany). Moreover, it was Seto's sixth win in this event throughout the 2012 circuit.
The other highlights of the day included the triumph of Britta Steffen (Germany) in the 50m free, with the fastest time of the 2012 series – 24.01. It was the fourth victory so far for the German star, 2008 Olympic champion in the 50m and 100m free. Jessica Hardy (USA) was the fastest in the 100m breaststroke (1:04.86), getting her second win in this World Cup.