Tokyo Olympics: Chantal Liew comes in 23rd in 10km marathon swim

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Singapore's Chantal Liew in action in the women's 10km marathon swim at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Singapore's Chantal Liew in action in the women's 10km marathon swim at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (PHOTO: Pool via Reuters/Antonio Bronic)

Reporting from Tokyo

TOKYO — Singapore marathon swimmer Chantal Liew finished 23rd out of 25 competitors in the women's 10km event at the Odaiba Marine Park on Wednesday (4 August).

The 22-year-old clocked 2hr 8min 17.9sec, as Brazil's Ana Marcela Cunha won the gold (1:59:30.8), the Netherlands' Sharon van Rouwendaal clinched the silver (1:59:31.7) and Australia's Karena Lee took the bronze (1:59:32.7).

With the swim, she becomes the first Singaporean to have taken part in this Olympic open water event.

Liew had said in earlier news reports that she had to endure snide remarks from acquaintances who had questioned her ambition in life as she trained full-time for her sport. 

"They can kiss my ass," she told reporters at the media mixed zone on Wednesday.

"I hope it shuts them up and I hope shuts up all the armchair critics in Singapore. I love what I do, and I think all the athletes love what they do and nothing can take that away from us."

Earned sole continental quota spot

Liew - who had represented Singapore in swimming at the 2015 SEA Games - qualified for the Olympic race in June, when she was placed 29th out of 40 competitors at the Fina Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifiers in Setubal, Portugal.

It was enough for her to be the best-placed Asian swimmer behind two Japanese swimmers Yumi Kida and Minami Niikura. With Japan already gaining a slot at the Games as host, her placing earned her the sole continental quota spot available for Asia.

"We were like open water rookies and for the past year, we’ve had to figure things out a lot on our own," Liew said.

"Some of these (competitors) have been racing since (the 2012 London Games). That was almost 10 years ago and I was 12 or 13 years old. So swimming against such an experienced field, being second or third youngest in the pack, I’m really, really happy with how things played out today and we can only go up from here.”

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