Record-breaker Peaty leads British charge in Korea

Kieran CANNING
Untouchable: Breaststroke king Adam Peaty spearheads a potent British team at the world swimming championships in Gwangju, South Korea

Virtually untouchable when on song, breaststroke king Adam Peaty spearheads a potent British team when the world swimming championships begin on Sunday in Gwangju, South Korea.

The world record holder over 50 and 100 metres, Peaty will be the red-hot favourite to retain his world titles but Britain's supporting cast also contains plenty of quality.

Duncan Scott is a sure-fire medal contender after backing up his gold in the 100m free at last year's Commonwealth Games by bagging the 200m freestyle title at the 2018 European championships.

European champion Ben Proud should be in the mix in the 50m free, while James Wilby looks to hang on to Peaty's shirt tails in the 100m breaststroke after silver medals at the Commonwealth and Europeans.

But Peaty remains the Britain's biggest draw after leading them to second place in the medals table at the last world championships in Budapest two years ago.

The Brits won four gold medals, a silver and two bronze to finish behind the United States, albeit by a huge margin.

Peaty has romped to 50m and 100m breaststroke gold at each of the last two world championships and in between captured a maiden Olympic gold in the 100m in Rio.

But fuelled by his first defeat in the 50m in nearly four years at the Commonwealth Games, the 24-year-old wants to set new heights by taking down his own world records.

"Even if you are the best in the world, you can still be beaten. I think that's the most valuable lesson," said Peaty of that shock defeat on Australia's Gold Coast.

- Poster boy -

He responded by lowering his own 100m world best record to 57.10 seconds at the European championships.

His 50m record of 25.95 seconds could also go, Peaty believes.

"I definitely think it is humanly possible," he told the BBC. "I want to put on a show."

According to reports from his training camp at Loughborough University, world records are routinely being broken when no one is watching.

As the first British male swimmer to win Olympic gold since 1988, Peaty is the poster boy for the sport in his home country.

But he is also aware that his star power means there is a target on his back for others to catch.

"Once you're at the top you've got to keep that spot," Peaty told magazine Men's Health. "I've been at the top now for five years. It's a long time to stay on top without getting beaten."

In the women's events, Britain will look to the likes of Siobhan-Marie O'Connor to step up in the individual medleys and Commonwealth champion Alys Thomas in the 200m butterfly.

Peaty, though, will be the man the others looks to provide the spark for the British team in Gwangju.

"I don't just want to win -- I want to dominate," he said after his latest world record. "That's not an arrogant side, it's just the competitive side in me."

  • Facebook, privacy activist Schrems battle nears end on Dec. 19
    Finance
    Reuters

    Facebook, privacy activist Schrems battle nears end on Dec. 19

    Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems' seven-year battle against Facebook reaches a crucial point on Dec. 17 when an adviser to Europe's top court will issue his view on whether tools used by companies to transfer data abroad are legal or not. At stake are standard contractual clauses used by

  • House panel approves Trump charges, sets up impeachment vote
    News
    AFP News

    House panel approves Trump charges, sets up impeachment vote

    US lawmakers took the grave step Friday of approving two charges against Donald Trump, setting up a full House of Representatives vote to impeach the president for abusing his powers and obstructing Congress. Democrats and Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee voted along strict party lines,

  • Porsche reveals Star Wars-inspired starship created with Lucasfilm
    News
    AFP Relax

    Porsche reveals Star Wars-inspired starship created with Lucasfilm

    After months of brainstorming, Porsche and Lucasfilm have revealed the design of the promised starship, the Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter, first announced a few months ago. Back in October, Porsche indicated that it was collaborating with Lucasfilm, the production company behind the Star Wars saga

  • EU warns of post-Brexit rival Britain after Johnson win
    News
    AFP News

    EU warns of post-Brexit rival Britain after Johnson win

    European leaders warned Friday that Britain could become a formidable rival, just hours after a big victory by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's conservatives all but sealed the UK's Brexit divorce. Led by France and Germany, EU member states said they would pursue a swift trade deal with a tight

  • House panel approves Trump charges, sets up impeachment vote
    News
    AFP News

    House panel approves Trump charges, sets up impeachment vote

    US lawmakers took the grave step Friday of approving two charges against Donald Trump, setting up a full House of Representatives vote to impeach the president for abusing his powers and obstructing Congress. Democrats and Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee voted along strict party lines,

  • Brazil's Bolsonaro: God made me president
    News
    AFP News

    Brazil's Bolsonaro: God made me president

    President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday God, a fellow Brazilian, had handed him the election victory that propelled him to office in South America's largest economy. "I believe that God is Brazilian," added the right-wing leader, who came to power on January 1. Bolsonaro, who served in

  • Chile police response to protests 'repressive': UN
    News
    AFP News

    Chile police response to protests 'repressive': UN

    Chilean police responded to recent mass protests in a "fundamentally repressive manner", resulting in serious abuses including unlawful killings and torture, UN investigators said Friday. In a fresh report, the UN rights office said that during the recent mass protests and state of emergency

  • France braces for holiday misery as pension strike persists
    News
    AFP News

    France braces for holiday misery as pension strike persists

    French commuters gritted their teeth for a ninth day of public transport strikes Friday, with unions vowing to keep up their protest against a pension overhaul through the holidays unless the government backs down. Officials have said they are ready to negotiate, with Education Minister Jean-Michel

  • Google's interpreter live translation tool is rolling out to iOS and Android
    News
    AFP Relax

    Google's interpreter live translation tool is rolling out to iOS and Android

    At the beginning of the year, Google launched interpreter mode for smart displays and speakers. Now, the live translation tool is coming to mobile devices, as well. Back in February, Google launched an Assistant feature for smart displays called interpreter mode.

  • Regime stalwart elected Algeria president, angering protesters
    News
    AFP News

    Regime stalwart elected Algeria president, angering protesters

    A former ally of Algeria's deposed leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected president of the protest-wracked country in a widely boycotted vote, sparking another outpouring of anger on the streets Friday. Huge crowds massed once again in Algiers vowing to keep up their campaign for the total dismantling

  • Botswana animal groups outraged at elephant killing
    News
    AFP News

    Botswana animal groups outraged at elephant killing

    Animal campaigners demanded on Friday that a Botswana hunter's licence be revoked after an elephant was killed despite being protected, raising tensions over the country's new hunting rules. Officials confirmed that an elephant wearing a collar -- which marks it as a protected animal -- was

  • Australia's climate stance sparks anger at U.N. summit
    News
    Reuters

    Australia's climate stance sparks anger at U.N. summit

    Campaigners slammed Australia on the final day of a U.N. climate summit on Friday as its policy of using old carbon credits to count towards future emissions targets emerged as a major sticking point in negotiations. The talks aim to agree outstanding details of how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement

  • Johnson vows to get Brexit done after big election win
    News
    AFP News

    Johnson vows to get Brexit done after big election win

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Friday to "get Brexit done" after his thumping election victory cleared the way for Britain to leave the EU after years of political paralysis. With all results declared for the 650-seat parliament in Thursday's momentous election, Johnson's Conservative

  • India protests spread over 'anti-Muslim' law
    News
    AFP News

    India protests spread over 'anti-Muslim' law

    Protests in India against a new citizenship law that opponents say is anti-Muslim spread to other regions on Friday, a day after two people were shot dead by police in the northeast of the country, the epicentre of days of demonstrations. Police with batons and firing tear gas clashed with hundreds

  • Moscow metro to train first female drivers
    News
    AFP News

    Moscow metro to train first female drivers

    The Moscow subway system will train women to run trains next year, following labour law changes that opens up several professions to them. The sprawling metro system, built in the Soviet era as a Communist showpiece, has "formed the first group of female driver trainees" who are to begin training

  • Talk is just more hot air as emissions keep rising, climate activists tell politicians
    News
    Reuters

    Talk is just more hot air as emissions keep rising, climate activists tell politicians

    Climate activists demanded that governments put science above narrow political interests on Friday as negotiators battled to secure stronger commitments on the last day of a U.N. summit aimed at reducing the risk of catastrophic global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a civil disobedience campaign that

  • Italy legalises weaker form of cannabis
    News
    AFP Relax

    Italy legalises weaker form of cannabis

    Italy's parliament legalised the production and sale of a weaker form of cannabis this week, ending months of uncertainty for farmers and sellers. Tobacconists and specialised shops will be allowed to stock cannabis products, which must not contain more than 0.5 percent of the psychoactive compound

  • Stocks surge on Johnson election triumph, US trade deal reports
    News
    AFP News

    Stocks surge on Johnson election triumph, US trade deal reports

    London stocks and the British pound jumped Friday after an election triumph for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson that analysts said will bring clarity to Brexit proceedings and unlock stronger economic growth. Other European stock markets -- although lagging buoyant London, which rose over

  • Britain elects record number of female lawmakers in 2019 election
    News
    Reuters

    Britain elects record number of female lawmakers in 2019 election

    A record number of women were elected as lawmakers in Britain's general election, with women's rights campaigners on Friday cheering the result but saying progress towards equal representation must speed up. Women now represent just over a third of all members of parliament (MPs), taking 220

  • Alitalia and Air Italy strike, flights cancelled
    News
    AFP Relax

    Alitalia and Air Italy strike, flights cancelled

    More than 300 flights were cancelled Friday in Italy due to a planned one-day strike by workers from Alitalia and Air Italy. Alitalia said in a statement that 315 flights were cancelled on Friday, with another 40 cancelled Thursday night and Saturday morning. It was not immediately clear how many flights

  • US, China close to trade war deal
    News
    AFP News

    US, China close to trade war deal

    The United States and China appeared close Friday to a "phase one" deal to de-escalate a trade war that has caused tensions between the superpowers and threatened to wobble the global economy. Reports Washington and Beijing had struck a bargain at last -- subject to approval by US President

  • Cadillac could be an EV-only company by 2030
    News
    AFP Relax

    Cadillac could be an EV-only company by 2030

    If the demand exists, Cadillac will be selling only fully electric cars come 2030. On Thursday, CNBC reported that General Motors is planning for Cadillac to be a car brand with a portfolio made entirely of all-electric vehicles -- that is, if the consumer demand supports such a change. Cadillac already

  • Trump: Wall Street Journal story on China trade deal "completely wrong"
    Finance
    Reuters

    Trump: Wall Street Journal story on China trade deal "completely wrong"

    President Donald Trump on Friday said a Wall Street Journal story on a U.S. trade deal with China is completely wrong. "The Wall Street Journal story on the China Deal is completely wrong, especially their statement on Tariffs," Trump wrote in a tweet, offering no specifics and not indicating

  • U.S. House panel to cast impeachment vote on Trump on Friday
    News
    Reuters

    U.S. House panel to cast impeachment vote on Trump on Friday

    A U.S. House committee is scheduled to vote on charges against President Donald Trump on Friday, setting up a likely showdown by the full House of Representatives next week that could make Trump the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. The House Judiciary Committee had been expected to cast

  • Two dead as Russian carrier fire extinguished
    News
    AFP News

    Two dead as Russian carrier fire extinguished

    Emergency workers and sailors have extinguished a blaze on the Russian navy's only aircraft carrier that has killed two people, the navy said Friday. The fire on board the flagship Admiral Kuznetsov started on Thursday. One serviceman was found dead Thursday evening and the body of an officer was