SPAIN had plenty to smile about as Mireia Belmonte became a swimming gold medallist. She is the new world 200 metres butterfly world champion after beating three-time Olympic gold medallist Katinka Hosszu from Hungary who was competing on home territory at the Budapest championships.
Belmonte, from Catalonia, took the title after languishing in sixth position after the first length of the pool. In an extraordinary second half of the race, she slowly worked her way through the field passing all in her wake, apart from Katinka, showing why she won the gold medal in Rio last year as well as the European championships.
The Spaniard was behind all the way until the final stroke that took her to the top of the podium by milliseconds. She won the gold medal with a time of 2 minutes, 5.26 seconds, in front of Hentke, from Germany, who finished on 2 minutes and 5.39 seconds.
Considered one of the best Spanish sportswomen of all time and top in the country in her field in recent history, the 26-year-old star of the pool was referred to by reporters in national daily newspaper 20 Minutos as ‘a fish called Mireia’ in light of her dizzying track record.