World Championships, Day 7 Finals: Vladyslav Bukhov Pulls Stunner Over Cam McEvoy in 50 Freestyle


World Championships, Day 7 Finals: Vladyslav Bukhov Pulls Stunner Over Cam McEvoy in 50 Freestyle

If anything is true in the 50-meter sprint events, it’s the fact that they can spring surprises. There is little to no margin for error over one lap, and when the final of the 50 freestyle at the World Championships in Doha was held on Saturday night, it produced a shocker. Behind a time of 21.44, the Ukraine’s Vladyslav Bukhov claimed the gold medal by the slimmest of margins over reigning champ Cam McEvoy (21.45) of Australia.

When McEvoy opened prelims in Doha with a mark of 21.13, discussion immediately started concerning his potential to take down the world record of 20.91, set by Brazilian Cesar Cielo in 2009. Meanwhile, he followed up with a strong mark of 21.23 in the semifinals, and it seemed the title was McEvoy’s for the taking. Yet, the Aussie was off his earlier performances in the final, and Bukhov took advantage of the opening.

Bukhov, too, was not at his finest in the final, as his winning time was off the Ukrainian record of 21.38 he set in the semifinals. But getting a hand on the wall first is the name of the game, and Bukhov did just that in narrow fashion. The bronze medal was claimed by Great Britain’s Ben Proud, who has a storied career in the event. Proud checked in at 21.53, with American Michael Andrew going 21.71 for fourth place. This medal marks the fourth for Proud in the event at the World Championships.

The 21-year-old Bukhov has been a name to watch for a few years. In 2019, he captured the gold medal in the 50 freestyle at the World Junior Championships. That year, he was also the bronze medalist in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle at the European Juniors.

For McEvoy, known for his deep roots in science, he’ll surely analyze what transpired in Doha and make any necessary adjustments on the path to the Olympic Games in Paris. More, Bukhov’s presence will strengthen the field in the sprint, which is always one of the most-anticipated events on the schedule.

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