Greek swimmer Spyros Gianniotis dethroned German title-holder Thomas Lurz to win the 10km crown at the Shanghai world championships.
Gianniotis, who has repeatedly lost out to Lurz, the unofficial king of open water swimming, finally topped the podium after touching in 1hr 54min 24.7sec in baking conditions at Jinshan City Beach on Wednesday.
Lurz, who is also the three-time defending champion over 5km, took silver just 2.5 seconds behind, with Russia’s Sergey Bolshakov placing third. The top 10 finishers all gained automatic entry to next year’s London Olympics.
Gianniotis, 31, was delighted with the win after struggling with a right hand injury. It ends his long wait for a world championship title after winning bronze and silver over 5km in 2007 and 2009.
“I’ve trained several years for that. It feels good,» he said. «It was very hard these last two months because I had an injury. I tried to never stop swimming and I did it.”
Competitors wore high-tech tracking devices during the gruelling event to address safety concerns following the death of America’s 2009 10km bronze medallist Fran Crippen during a race last year. [AFP]