First defeat in four years leaves Manaudou in tears
Olympic champ finished third in the 400m event and also earned a spot for the Beijing Games.22 April 2008
DUNKIRK - Olympic and world champion Laure Manaudou was reduced to tears on Monday after suffering her first defeat in the 400m in nearly four years at the French national championships.
Manaudou, 21, finished just third in the event which she won gold in Athens four years ago, behind Romanian Camelia Potec and Coralie Balmy, who took the national title.
The French swimmer had not been beaten over her favourite distance since June 2004.
"It's tough. Above all being beaten. I can only say one thing, I'm waiting for the new Arena suit," said Manaudou after the race.
Under contract with Arena, Manaudou does not have the new record-breaking swimsuit of rival sponsors Speedo.
Manaudou nevertheless booked her spot for the Olympics with her time of 4min 6.67sec.
Potec produced a storming finish over the final 100m to time 4:06.08, but did not win the title because she is not French, with Balmy taking the honours by finishing second in 4:06.41.
Manaudou, tipped as France's top hope of swimming gold at the Beijing Games, has had a stormy season in which she has changed club and coaches.
But she had competed just twice this season over 400m – in November 2007 in Montpellier and February in Lyon (4:05.61).
[AFP / Expatica]