Chikun fastest in the 100m freestyle swimming heats in Tokyo

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Thomas Chickun participates in the semi-finals of the 100 meters freestyle swimming competitions at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Photograph: Kai Fafenbach/Reuters.
Thomas Chikon participates in the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle swimming competitions at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Photograph: Kai Fafenbach/Reuters.

From Simon Evans

TOKYO (Reuters) – Italy’s Thomas Ceccon set the fastest time in the 100 meters freestyle heats at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, ahead of American title favorite Caleb Dressel and Australian gold medalist Kyle Chalmers in Rio.

Chickun set a personal record in 47.71 seconds, and the world record is 46.91 seconds.

With the semi-finals approaching, it was clear that most of the candidates had only progressed to the next round.

“Everyone just wants to play and I’m one of them,” Chalmers said.

“I performed the required task and crossed to the next round, and I want to keep my energy as much as possible, and maybe I don’t need to be in the middle lane,” referring to the Tunisian Ahmed Hefnaoui, 18, who won the gold in the 400-meter freestyle from the side lane.

China’s Zhang Yufei, who narrowly lost the women’s 100m butterfly gold to Canadian Maggie McNeill, set the fastest time in the women’s 200m butterfly heats.

Zhang clocked 2:07.50 seconds, 0.81 seconds ahead of American Haley Fleckinger, while her compatriot Yu Lian finished third.

Hungarian Katinka Hosso missed the race to focus on the 200m medley final.

Australian Zach Stapletti-Kock was the fastest in the men’s 200m breaststroke heat, followed by Dutchman Arno Kamenga and Finland’s Matti Matsson.

The Russian Anton Chubkov, the world record holder, took fifth place.

The top 16 swimmers advance to the semi-finals.

Britain reached the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay final with the fastest time with the help of 200m freestyle winner Tom Dean.

Australia finished second, 1.75 seconds behind, behind Italy in third.

Ukrainian Mikhailo Romanchuk set the fastest time in the men’s 800m heats, a new race at these Games, while Hefnaoui failed to qualify.

(Prepared by Ahmed Mustafa for the Arabic Bulletin)

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