Liam Tancock strikes gold in Rome

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

After setting a new World record yesterday, Britian’s Liam Tancock went one step better claiming gold in the 100m backstroke final, beating his world record time in the process.

In his semi-final Tancock had sent his main rivals a strong signal of intent as he stormed to a new world record time of 24.08. He was the favourite to claim gold and started the race in lane four.

He benefited from a strong start, and saw off his other rivals as he claimed first spot. He took four seconds off his World record time, as he clocked up a time of 24.04 seconds.

Unfortunately for Tancock the 50m backstroke isn’t an event at the Olympics, so he will have to look to a different distance when competing at London 2012.

Indeed Tancock’s best chances of an Olympic medal lie in the 100m backstroke which is a recognised Olympic event. The 24-year-old competed in this category in Rome coming fourth in the final.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Tancock finished sixth in the final, setting a national record in the process. These Rome championships have shown that Tancock has progressed since the summer games last year, and he stands a real chance of a medal come 2012.

Speaking to the BBC after the race Tancock talked about the 50 metre final: “It was pretty perfect and I’m pretty pleased with that. I did a world record in the semis, but there were a few things I needed to improve for the final would you believe. It is another world record and I’m thrilled to bits I’m world champion after two bronzes in previous world championships. It was a class field and I came out on top this time.”

When asked about his future ambitions he highlighted his targets for the home games emphasising that he will concentrate on the 100 metre backstroke event. “That is my aim, definitely” he said.

Tancock added:”This [the 50m] is my bonus event. I just missed out on the 100m [he finished fourth in the final], I’m always practising for that. I stepped up my game from the Olympics in Beijing to here and I’m sure I’ll do that in the future. I’ve just got to go back to the drawing board.”

He was the only British male to claim a medal at the Rome World Championships. However the ladies impressed with a medal haul of one gold, three silvers and two bronzes.

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