ANOTHER day at the marathon swimming, another tale of triumph over adversity. The day after South African Natalie du Toit became the first amputee to compete at the Olympic Games in the women’s open water event, Dutch leukemia survivor Maarten van der Weijden completed another sporting fairytale to seize the gold medal in the men’s 10km race.
Van der Weijden, who successfully beat cancer after being diagnosed in 2001, produced a powerful burst at the finish to win in 1hr 51min 51.6sec ahead of Britain’s David Davies and German former world champion Thomas Lurz. The 27-year-old 25km world champion celebrated wildy with his best friend and training partner, dual Olympic 100m freestyle champion Pieter van den Hoogenband, after his brilliant finish in the rain at the Shunyi Olympic rowing venue.
Australian ironman champion Ky Hurst finished 11th, 22 seconds behind van der Weijden, as Australia’s Olympic pool swimmers cheered him on from the sidelines.