Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nice Guy Davies Splashes out in Lakeside Drama; Flat Out: David Davies Has Treatment after Finishing Second in the Bruising 1?km Open Water Swim but He Recovered to Congratulate Dutch Winner Maarten Van der Weijden (Right)

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nice Guy Davies Splashes out in Lakeside Drama; Flat Out: David Davies Has Treatment after Finishing Second in the Bruising 1?km Open Water Swim but He Recovered to Congratulate Dutch Winner Maarten Van der Weijden (Right)

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CHADBAND

EXHAUSTED to the point of delirium, battered swimmer David Davies had to be car-ried off to an ambulance after earning the most coura-geous medal of any British athlete at these Olympics.

Then, just when he should have been celebrating his hard-fought silver in the 10km open water marathon, the aggres-sion out on the Shunyi rowing lake spilled over onto dry land as Davies got involved in a row with a Chinese official and doused her with a bottle of water.

Maybe this unseemly incident just represented frustration setting in for the Welshman as the realisation dawned that he would always have to live with the fact hed just blown the opportu-nity of a lifetime to win gold.

Taking offence at being man-handled by the aggressive official trying to steer him to the medal ceremony, Davies protested Will you shut up please! and when the hassling continued, he chucked the water at her.

What a pity the episode should cloud what earlier had been an epic effort from Davies. With 800 metres of the 110-minute slog left, the 1500m pool spe-cialist, who had survived kicks in the face by more streetwise opponents, struck for home and appeared to have left his tormentors for dead, only to veer calamitously off course.

Realising his mistake, he tried to correct but actually over-compensated, allowing the Dutchman Maarten van der Weijden to sneak in .

The Welshman was only a couple of body lengths behind by the finish but he could not prevent one of the more extraordinary champions being crowned as Van der Weijden, who won by 1.5sec in 1hr 51min 51.6sec, had won a harder fight than this before. Five years ago he beat leukaemia to begin a Lance Arm-strong-like comeback.

At the end I didnt know what was going on, I was delirious and my head was spinning, I just wanted it so bad, said Davies. It was all a bit of a blur and to go off on the stretcher was a bit mad. Still, Ive got something to show for it. …

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