TOKYO: Pakistan swimmer Bisma Khan bettered her personal best in the 50m freestyle heats at the Tokyo Games on Friday, clocking 27.78 seconds to finish 56th among 81 competitors who started with Australia’s 100m champion Emma McKeon setting a new Olympic record to top the women’s timesheets.
Bisma, whose personal best going into the heats was 27.90, also bettered her entry time of 27.94 which the 19-year old had set during an event in the Russian city of Kazan earlier this year. She ended seventh in the sixth heat, which was won by Norah Elisabeth Milanesi of Cameroon in 26.41.
McKeon returned to the pool after storming to the 100m crown in the morning session, carrying her electric form into the evening. She backed up with 24.02 in her heat, setting a new record, to lead 16 swimmers into Saturday’s semi-finals.
McKeon, team-mate Cate Campbell and Dutch 2012 Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo are the only women to crack 24 seconds this year, making them top contenders.
Campbell, who took bronze in the 100m free, was third fastest into the semi-finals in 24.15, with defending champion Pernille Blume of Denmark second best in 24.12.
World record holder Sarah Sjostrom came fourth with Kromowidjojo eighth. American Simone Manuel, the silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Games, advanced in 11th. Also moving on was Siobahn Haughey of Hong Kong in 15th place. She earned silver in the 100m free.
Blume said being the reigning champion gave her no advantage in Tokyo. “That’s five years ago,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what you have done or what you haven’t done. We are all here on an equal basis.”
Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2021