Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Star Online : Swimming: Lithuania hails first-ever world champion

VILNIUS: Lithuanian leaders and media hailed teen star Ruta Meilutyte on Wednesday after she set a world record and became the Baltic state’s first-ever swimming world champion.

Remarkable feat: Lithuanian swimmer Ruta Meilutyte celebrates after winning the women’s 100m breaststroke individual final of the World Championships in Barcelona on Tuesday. — EPA

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said the country was very proud of the 16-year-old for winning gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke on Tuesday.

“We are convinced that you will rewrite the world’s swimming history and become the best all-time swimmer,” Butkevicius said in a statement.

President Dalia Grybauskaite added that the swimmer had united the nation of 3mil people.

Meilutyte, who attends school in Plymouth, southwest England, took gold at the championships in Barcelona exactly a year after her shock win in the Olympic final in London.

The Lithuanian triumph came a day after she set a world record of 1:04.35 in Monday’s 100m breaststroke semi-finals.

“Glory was not a burden to her,” the Lietuvos rytas daily said on Wednesday, as newspapers and websites lauded “the swimming princess” and “Lithuanian golden fish”.

Lithuania has won two bronze medals in world championships since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. Nine swimmers competed for the Baltic state in Barcelona.

Meilutyte has yet to swim in the 50m breastroke as well as the 50m and 100m freestyles. — AFP

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