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Manaudou saves the day with 100m backstroke win

Latest update : 2008-04-22

Laure Manaudou claimed the 100m backstroke title and booked a new Olympic ticket only hours after she pulled out of the 200m freestyle at the National Championships Tuesday.

DUNKIRK - World record holder Laure Manaudou of France will not compete in the 200 metres freestyle at the Beijing Olympics after pulling out of the event at her national championships on Tuesday.

The championships serve as the qualifiers for the August Games with two Olympic slots at stake in each final.

Manaudou later won the 100 metres backstroke title, an event in which she took the bronze medal in Athens, with a time of 1:00.00.

She had already qualified for the Olympic 400 metres freestyle on Monday.

"I decided to pull out of the 200 metres with my coach because I had a difficult day yesterday (Monday) and I was also struggling this morning," she said.

"The schedule of the Championships doesn't suit me and I take more pleasure in swimming backstroke than freestyle," she added.

On Monday, Manaudou burst into tears following her first defeat at a major championships since June 2004 in the 400 metres freestyle.

Although she secured an Olympic berth with third place, her time of 4:06.67 was far outside the world record of 4:02.13 she set on Aug.6 2006 and held until last month when Federica Pellegrini of Italy clocked 4:01.53 at the European championships in Eindhoven.


SUIT RECORDS

Camelia Potec of Romania, who lives and trains in France but was not in contention for an Olympic place, won the race with Coralie Balmy of France second.

"It's tough, it's tough to be beaten," Manaudou told Eurosport. "All I can say is that I am waiting for Arena's new suit."

Manaudou is under contract with Arena, who are scheduled to make available their new suit by June while Tyr and Speedo have already done so.

Balmy wears the Speedo suit, which helped France's Alain Bernard set the 100 metres freestyle world record at the European championships in Eindhoven last month.

Manaudou set her 200 metres freestyle world record when she swam the distance in one minute 55.52 seconds at last year's world championships in Melbourne.

The 21-year-old, this time wearing a Tyr suit, was only fourth in Tuesday morning's 200 metres heats with a time of 2:00.08.

Manaudou became the first Frenchwoman to win an Olympic gold swimming medal when she won the 400 metres freestyle final in Athens in 2004. She also took silver in the 800 metres freestyle.

Date created : 2008-04-22

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