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London proving tough for Coventry

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Swimming star Kirsty Coventry will have to wait longer before claiming her first medal at the ongoing London Olympic Games after she finished a disappointing sixth in the 200m individual medley at the Aquatics Centre on Tuesday evening.

The 2008 silver medallist in the same event, clocked a time of 2m 11.13sec, finishing more than two seconds behind the medal winners.

Chinese teenage sensation Ye Shiwen came first in a new Olympic record time of 2min 7.57sec ahead of France’s Camille Muffat who was second, while Australia’s Bronte Barratt finished third.

Coventry was third at the halfway mark after posting the fastest backstroke split in the field, but fell behind in the breaststroke and could not make up enough ground in the final 50 metres.

“I would have loved to have medalled (won a medal), but from what I have had to go through this year, I’ll take 6th (sixth) with a smile on my face,” Coventry said on Twitter after the race.

Reaching the final was an achievement on its own for the legendary Zimbabwean swimmer whose preparations were affected by a combination of illness, injury and changing coaches.

“In some respects I feel her 6th place was a greater triumph given the nature of the obstacles she had to overcome. Most would’ve given up. Kirsty overcame incredible odds, lack of financial support, changed coach, dislocated knee and pneumonia, few races and isolation to triumph,” tweeted the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart in a tribute to Coventry.

Coventry, who turns 29 next month, will have one final chance to win her first medal at the London Olympics when she defends her women’s 200m backstroke title starting today in what will most likely be her last appearance at the Games.

Coventry is the two-time defending gold medallist and current world record-holder in the 200m backstroke.

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