RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands won the women's 10km open water swimming event staged against the lovely backdrop of Copacabana Beach on Monday.
The 22-year-old Dutchwoman, who won silver in the 400m in the pool at last year's world championships, showed that she is a class performer for all conditions and distances as she took control of the race on the third of four 2.5km laps and relentlessly powered away from her pursuers to win in one hour 56minutes and 32.1 seconds.
She had a huge 17.4 seconds gap over the rest of the field but there was a thrilling and dramatic three-way battle for the silver medal behind her which ended with the world champion Aurelie Muller of France being disqualified after just beating Italian rival Rachele Bruni to the finishing board touch by a fraction of a second.
Judges ruled that Muller had pushed Bruni's arm down to stop her touching the board at the end. It meant that Bruni was awarded the silver and, much to the delight of the home crowd, Poliana Okimoto of Brazil was moved up to the bronze medal position.
"She pushed down my arm at the finish and was disqualified," said the silver medallist. "It's a beautiful medal and one that I have been looking for through a lot of my career."