The World Para Swimming World Championships results are now in the books and followers can look back on what was another stunning renewal of a competition that continues to grow in popularity across the globe. Para-swimming has come a long way in such a short space of time, with the London 2012 summer Olympic Games playing a huge part in that.
This year’s edition of the World Para Swimming World Championships took place between February and June and raced across seven countries in five different continents. It will also serve as a qualifier for the Paralympic Swimming that will be part of the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
Difficult Start as London Saves the Day
The tournament didn’t pass without controversy during the early stages and initially made headlines for all the wrong reasons. That was seen as a shame for a sport that had worked so hard for so long to gain the respect and following, they always believed it deserved.
The International Paralympic Committee announced in 2017 it had awarded the 2019 World Para Swimming World Championships to Malaysia with swimming to be hosted in Kuching. The organising body was forced into an embarrassing switch when explaining that Malaysia had, indeed, been stripped of all rights to host after the government made it clear they would refuse to allow competitors from Israel to compete.
At the time, IPC president Andrew Parsons told members of the press his body had no alternative than to move the event after being faced with the prospect of athletes from a particular nation being banned from competing for political reasons. The decision seemed an easy one for them to make and they must be applauded for doing the right thing by their athletes.
That came as a shock to all and forced a late scramble to find a replacement. After weighing up the options the obvious decision was to go with London who has kept their Olympics venue in working order since 2012 and the Stratford, East London pool will be only too happy to fill the void. A new date also had to be set with swimming taking place between 9 and 15 September in the UK’s capital city. It was now time to get down to business.
Locals Turn Out to Support the Event
Everyone involved in the organisation of the World Para Swimming World Championships breathed a sigh of relief and hoped they could then turn their attentions to swimming and watching the best competitors in the world compete. That’s exactly what we got, and credit must be given to London for helping keep the show on and to the British sports fans for buying tickets and turning out in support all week.
No less than 73 nations arrive in London and participated in the World Para Swimming World Championships with a staggering total of more than 630 competitors involved across the board. Some of those involved were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Holland, Nigeria and the United States.
Italy raced into an early lead and, following three days of racing, they sat top of the charts with a tally of 12 golds, nine silvers and eight bronze for an overall haul of 29. They were pushed hard in the early exchanges by the host team with GB pulling in a dozen golds, eight silvers and 10 bronze for 30 medals. Ukraine completed the best trio at that stage, thanks to 11 golds, 13 silvers and eight bronze medals to their name.
American McKenzie Coan Wins Another Gold
There were many stories of joy during the World Para Swimming World Championships and the competition will be looked back on fondly, but one of the main winners in London was American swimmer McKenzie Coan who claimed the women’s 400m freestyle gold. The decorated 23-year-old showed the form needed to cement her second gold in that race and there’s every reason to believe she is only getting started.
Coan is a major player in the early betting to finish on the top step at the next Paralympics and if she continues to improve there’s no reason why the prizes won’t keep raining down on her. McKenzie is a dedicated athlete who seems to love the sport and is grateful for her opportunity to compete at the highest level.
Speaking to the press following her gold medal, the champion explained that she took encouragement from her youthful love of the 400m freestyle, using that as the motivation to keep going when things got tough in the pool. The victor added that she loved being part of the competition and was pushed on by seeing her teammates on either side of her during the contest.
Malyar Smashes the World Record to Prove a Point
Another result of note came from Israeli swimmer Mark Malyar who claimed the Jewish state’s first medal at the games and made a statement in doing so. Not only did he win gold at the competition when racing in the 400m freestyle, but he was also fast enough to smash the previous world record, proving organisers correct in their decision to move the World Para Swimming World Championships to London and give all athletes a fair chance at glory.
Mark Malyar recorded a time of 4.33.64 and that was a jaw-dropping five seconds inside the previous best time that had been in place since 2013. It was a phenomenal effort, one more than good enough to win gold at any competition anywhere in the world. The crowd in attendance couldn’t quite believe what they had witnessed but were quick to show their appreciation.
Team UK was delighted to see Becky Redfern pick up her first gold medal when collecting the 100m breaststroke. Alice Tai did what was expected of her when chipping in with yet another gold medal, bagging a fourth gold medal from four races. Tai commented that she had to dig really deep at times but was pushed on by the crowd.