Tunisia's Ahmed Hafnaoui clinches 1,500m freestyle swimming world title

Ruta Meilutyte breaks world record in women's 50m breaststroke

Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia celebrates after winning the men's 1500m freestyle final at the World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on Sunday, July 30, 2023. AP
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Tunisia's Ahmed Hafnaoui enjoyed more success at the World Swimming Championships as he won the men's 1,500m freestyle title in Fukoka, Japan, on Sunday.

Hafnaoui came home in 14min, 31.54sec to finish ahead of American Bobby Finke on 14:31.59 and Australia's Sam Short on 14:37.28 to ensure a second gold of the meeting for his country.

Hafnaoui's time was less than a second off the world record of 14:31.02 set by China's Sun Yang in 2012.

"Bobby is so fast in the end of the race, he just pushed us," Hafnaoui was quoted as saying by AFP. "It was so close to the world record. I enjoyed the race and thanks Bobby for pushing me."

Short led for most of the race but faded towards the end to leave Hafnaoui and Finke going head-to-head.

"I think I deserve it," said Hafnaoui.

Short won the 400m freestyle title earlier in the week, pipping Hafnaoui to the line. Hafnaoui, the Olympic 400m freestyle champion, then got his revenge in the 800m freestyle final, edging Short after an epic battle.

Meanwhile, Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania set her second world record in as many days in the women's 50 metres breaststroke, securing gold in a time of 29.16 second.

Meilutyte smashed the record of 29.30 seconds that she had jointly held with Benedetta Pilato of Italy after setting that mark in her semi-final on Saturday.

She was 0.78 seconds ahead of silver medallist Lilly King of the United States. Pilato took bronze in 30.04 seconds.

Hunter Armstrong had got the US off to a golden start on the final day of swimming as he won the men's 50m backstroke title to secure his first individual crown.

The 22-year-old touched the wall in 24.05 seconds, 0.19 seconds ahead of compatriot Justin Ress with China's Xu Jiayu taking bronze after finishing 0.45 seconds behind the winner.

Updated: July 30, 2023, 12:12 PM