Mireia Belmonte Spanish swimmer adds world title to Olympic gold

Belmonte says the joy of winning gold made up for racing with a sore throat which made her want to stay in bed.

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Spain's Mireia Belmonte celebrates after winning the women's 200m butterfly final during the swimming competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, on July 27, 2017 play

Spain's Mireia Belmonte celebrates after winning the women's 200m butterfly final during the swimming competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, on July 27, 2017

(AFP)
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Spain's Mireia Belmonte shook off a sore throat to win the women's 200m butterfly title at the world championships on Thursday to add to her Olympic gold medal.

Belmonte touched the wall in two minutes, 05.26 seconds with Germany's Franziska Hentke taking silver at 0.13 back and Hungary's 'Iron Lady' Katinka Hosszu -- the world 200m individual medley champion -- earning bronze at 0.63.

Having won world silver at home in Barcelona four years ago, Belmonte has gone one better a year after being crowned Olympic champion in Rio.

Belmonte says the joy of winning gold made up for racing with a sore throat which made her want to stay in bed.

"This is one of the best moments of my life," said the Spaniard, who received congratulations from the King of Spain.

"This golden medal was the last which was missing from my collection.

"Rio is the best moment in my life, but this is an important moment. The key to win this final was the first 100 metres.

"It still hasn’t sunk in, but I have to recover as I still have the 800m freestyle and 400m individual medley.

"I was surprised it was a very difficult race, there were a lot of good swimmers in the lanes.

"This morning when I woke up, I felt bad as I had a little cold, I wanted to stay in bed.

"I woke up with a sore throat and headache, I didn't know how I was going to swim.

"Now I'm feeling better it's special this one as I never won a world championships gold.

"It’s always difficult to swim against Katinka and even more difficult here, but you cannot go to swim thinking you're going to lose.

"You have to fight, no matter if it's here or anywhere else in the world."

This was Belmonte's second medal of these championships after she took silver in the 1500m freestyle on Tuesday -- finishing 19 seconds behind gold-medallist and long-distance queen Katie Ledecky of the USA.

Hentke, 28, the European champion in 2016, was stunned by her silver, the first major medal of her career.

"I don’t know what to say, I am absolutely speechless and I am so happy," said Hentke, who claimed Germany's first swimming medal in Budapest.

"When I saw the line-up for the final I was sure that only Mireia Belmonte, Katinka Hosszu and me can take a medal, but I still can't believe it that I got the silver."

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