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Sharon Van Rouwendaal takes gold in the Olympic 10km marathon swim

In a race that she dominated from an early break in the third lap 1 hour 18 mins into the race, Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands took gold in the women’s 10km open water swimming event in the choppy waters off Copacabana Beach.

Van Rouwendaal’s early break was followed by a leading pack of Rachele Bruni (Italy), Poliana Okimoto (Brazil), Xin Xin (China) with Aurélie Muller (France) in close pursuit. Great Britain’s Keri-anne Payne led the chasing pack but was unable to make up the distance.

In the last few hundred metres Van Rouwendaal mis-sighted the line to the finish funnel, losing 10 metres on the chasing pack, but with 150 metres to go she managed to hold on to her lead to power through to the finish line to claim a convincing victory in 1.56.32.1. A scrap for silver and bronze was won by Muller over Bruni. However, Muller was disqualified for grappling Bruni out of the way at the finish line and pushing her under the water. Bruni therefore took silver and Okimoto’s fourth place was upgraded to a bronze medal.  Xin finished fourth. Keri-anne Payne finished in seventh.