Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Tatjana Schoenmaker makes history by storming to gold at World Champs

No SA woman has previously won gold at the global showpiece.

Olympic champion Tatjana Schoenmaker broke new ground in Fukuoka on Friday, becoming the first South African woman to earn a gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships.

Competing in the 200m breaststroke final on day six of competition in the pool at the biennial spectacle, the 26-year-old swimmer stormed to victory in 2:20.80.

She held off a challenge from 21-year-old American opponent Kate Douglass who grabbed the silver medal in 2:21.23, with Dutch swimmer Tes Schouten earning bronze by completing the four-length race in 2:21.63.

While Schoenmaker was nearly two seconds outside her African record of 2:18.95, she again showed her class in the build-up to her title defence at next year’s Paris Olympics.

The former world record holder added 200m gold to the silver medal she secured in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week, raking in her third career World Championships medal.

Schoeman misses out

Earlier yesterday, veteran sprinter Roland Schoeman was 50th overall in a highly competitive opening round of the men’s 50m freestyle, which featured 119 swimmers.

The former world champion touched the wall in 22.87 seconds, missing out on a place in the semi-finals as his World Championships campaign came to an end.

Day seven

Schoenmaker was set to turn out again in the 50m breaststroke heats in the early hours of Saturday morning, joining compatriot Lara van Niekerk who was the bronze medallist over the sprint distance at last year’s World Championships.

Two other SA swimmers were in the heats this morning, with Emma Chelius lining up in the women’s 50m freestyle and Clayton Jimmie competing in the 50m backstroke.

NOW READ: Nine fun facts you didn’t know about Tatjana Schoenmaker

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