JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 5. OLYMPIC swim stars George du Rand and Mandy Loots set championship records, but it was the Tunisian line up who topped the medal standings, after the final day of swimming pool action, at the 9th African Swimming Championships held at the Ellis Park Aquatics Centre here today.
Tunisia ended at the top of the medal table with a total of 30 medals (13 gold, seven silver and 10 bronze), with SA placing second on 38 (11 gold, 19 silver and 8 bronze).
Despite du Rand's championship best of 55.92 in claiming gold in the 100 meter backstroke, and Loots' domination of the 200 individual medley in a championship record time of 2:18.91 (bettering her own mark of 2:19.57 set in Egypt six years ago), the name ‘MELLOULI' will be remembered for brilliance that saw the Tunisians finish first on the team medal list.
Tunisia's Olympic 1500 free champion Ous Mellouli seldom fails to win over the fans and his performances at this week's continental swimming showpiece was no difference.
Today, he collected wins in the 1500 freestyle (16:12.00) and 50 freestyle (23.26) to add to his golden feats in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 freestyle and 200 and 400 individual medley races earlier in the week. A day earlier, he helped the Tunisian line up claim a victory over the more-fancied South Africans in the 400 freestyle. At the championships, he also collected a silver and bronze in the 200 breaststroke and 50 backstroke respectively.
The hosting of the African showpiece event in Johannesburg was made possible through the support of Telkom, the City of Jo'burg, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Sport and Recreation SA, Gauteng Sport and Recreation, Arena and Bestmed.
Swimmers from countries including Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Guinea, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the hosts, South Africa were a part of the challenge for medals.
The final event of the African Swimming Championships, in the form of the 5k open water swimming competition, will take place at Victoria Lake in Germiston on Sunday.
Special thanks to Swimming South Africa for contributing this report.
50 meters freestyle: O Mellouli (Tun) 23.26, 2 T Ferris (Zim) 24.08, 3 Y Yeiyah (Nig) 24.15
100 meters backstroke: 1 G du Rand (SA) 55.92, 2 D Murray (SA) 57.89, 3 A Kouam (Mar) 59.53
1500 meters freestyle: 1 O Mellouli (Tun) 16:12.00, 2 C Ho (SA) 16:18.34, 3 A Mathlouthi (Tun) 17:34.47
200 meters individual medley: 1 M Loots (SA) 2:18.91, 2 J Liss (SA) 2:23.90, 3 S Lajnef (Tun) 2:24.74
50 meters freestyle: 1 S Chahed (Tun) 26.79, 2 A Ajulu-Bushell (ken) 26.88, 3 M Scott (SA) 27.24
400 meters medley relay: 1 SA 4:23.65, 2 Tunisia 4:29.42, 3 Senegal 4:46.37