Turkish women on top, Shemberev strikes again

15 May 2017

Turkey's women continued to assert their supremacy in the swimming on day three of the Islamic Solidarity Games, while Maksym Shemberev powered to his second gold medal for hosts Azerbaijan.

On another busy evening at the Baku Aquatics Centre, the Turkish women boosted their country's hopes of topping the overall medal table by winning three of the first four races.

In fact, since the beginning of the swimming events on Saturday, only one of the nine women's gold medals has slipped through Turkey's grasp - the 800m freestyle, which was won by Souad Nefissa Cherouati of Algeria.

Ilknur Nihan Cakici set the tone in the first of Monday evening's eight finals as she cruised to victory in the women's 100m freestyle.

The 21-year-old posted a winning time of 56.27 seconds to take Turkey's 11th swimming gold of the Solidarity Games, with Syria's Bayan Jumah in silver and another Turk, Sezin Eligul, taking bronze from lane one.

Ekaterina Avramova made it two from two for the Turkish women as she added 200m backstroke gold to her 100m backstroke title from Sunday.
Bulgarian-born Avramova - who took part in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, and holds all of Turkey's backstroke records - simply had too much speed and experience for her rivals as she touched in 2:13.52, almost three seconds ahead of compatriot Halime Zulal Zeren.

Maksym Shemberev then delighted the home fans by taking his second gold medal in as many days for host nation Azerbaijan in the men's 400m medley.

The Ukrainian-born 23-year-old led after the backstroke leg and eased to victory in 4:16.56, with Turkey's Batuhan Hakan snatching silver just ahead of Indonesia's Aflah Prawira.

Azerbaijan thus secured their second swimming gold of the Solidarity Games, following Shemberev's dominant victory in the men's 1500m on Sunday.

Turkey were soon back in the spotlight, though, as Nida Eliz Ustundag kept up their magnificent start to Monday's session with victory in the women's 200m butterfly.

Turkish swimmers now boast 13 gold medals, with eight of them coming in the women's races.

There are four more finals to come on Monday evening: the men's 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle, and the women's 1500m freestyle.

© Agence France-Presse

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