Ana Marcela Cunha becomes the greatest medalist in history
Brazilian won the fifth world championship in the 25km in an electrifying test and decided in the handshake
After being gold in the 5km and bronze in the 10km, Ana Marcela Cunha wins another gold, this time in the 25km open water race, at the 19th World Championships, in Budapest. With the result, the Brazilian reaches the fifth world championship in the category and the 15th medal in worlds. With this podium, she equals Dutch Edith van Dijk as the greatest female medalist in the history of open water events at World Championships.
She won the biggest women’s open water event in the world every time she competed, since 2011. The Bahian, who had already won the 25km race at the Shanghai Water Sports Worlds in 2011, in Kazan, in 2015, in Budapest , in 2017, and of Gwangju, in 2019, repeated the feat in the capital of Hungary. In addition to the five gold medals in the 25km, the marathon runner adds two other golds in the 5km races.
Ana Marcela’s 15th medal in worlds came in the handshake. She swam the entire time in the first platoon and reached the last buoy swimming in front, opening a body of advantage over her rivals. But in the final 20 meters, the German Lea Boy and the Dutch Sharon van Rouwendaal pulled over and the dispute was in the handshake. Lea Boy finished second, with 5:24:15:20, and Sharon Van Rouwendaal, third, with 5:24:15:30.
This Thursday’s victory had an extra difficulty, because the race was played the day after the 10 kilometers. Normally, the program provides for five days of rest between races, with the 4×1.25km relay in between. In Budapest, the team event was the first to be held, without the presence of Ana Marcela.
“I didn’t expect to win at the beginning of the race. I controlled the pain, did the best test I could and tried to save energy. Wanting makes a big difference. Few people who were in the test today know how to turn around, as I did in life. I learned a lot. I knew how to be cold-blooded, and wait for the right moment. I know my opponents by the simple stroke that each one takes, or by the face they make. I managed to put everything we trained in the water”, says Ana Marcela, who adds: “It takes more than five hours of competition and you have to be patient to make the best decisions”.
The five-time world champion says she learned a lot from her “falls” and that rivalry with her opponents is healthy and makes the sport grow. She also preferred to avoid comparisons by the number of titles and stated that her performance in the waters is the result of teamwork:
“In every fall I learned, in every bad test I always leave with my head held high so I don’t make a mistake again. I don’t want to be compared to anyone, I want to be remembered as Ana Marcela and write my story. There’s a truck of people behind it, I’m just the driver. Thank you to everyone who works with us. Everything makes a difference.”
With these 15 medals, Ana Marcela is equal, in total, to the Dutch Edith van Dijk, who was on the podium in World Cups between 1998 and 2008. five in the 5km and three in the 10km, the Olympic distance, in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Ana has the taboo of never having won the 10km in the World Championship, even though she was Olympic champion in Tokyo-2020.
Source: O Globo Agency