Australian swimming champion Kyle Chalmers has bagged another gold, in the 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games, but cast doubt on his future in the sport.
In an emotional week, the swimmer led the field at the turn and powered home to win in emphatic fashion in 47.51 seconds from England’s Tom Dean and Scotland’s Duncan Scott.
Aussie William Yang finished sixth and Zac Incerti came eighth.
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An emotional Chalmers says even a gold medal is tough to celebrate after the week he’s been through.
“It’s special, special to win. But unfortunately, I think it’s hard to enjoy the moment when all that’s happened has gone on,” he said.
“It makes it a very, very challenging time. I’m grateful that I was able to block it out enough to stand up and win tonight.
“But I just hope that no one — I hope this is a learning point for everyone. And, you know, where no one else has to go through what I’ve had to go through the last couple of days. It’s been very challenging.”
Chalmers said he knew his soldier brother was watching the race, saying his “best mate” was the last thought to run through his head before jumping off the blocks.
He brought a finger to his lips after the race as swimming legend and commentator Ian Thorpe described the swim as a performance designed to “silence his critics”.
The swimmer said he thought about not going on but decided that would just let “the media win”.
An emotionally exhausted Chalmers was asked about his future aspirations, but the Aussie said he could not guarantee he’ll compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The swim star revealed he almost burst into tears when speaking to his coach before the race, with the intense media speculation set to cloud his future if it continues.
“I definitely want to. That’s been my dream to win in Paris,” he said. “But if I have to keep going through a similar thing I won’t last until Paris, I know that. It’s too challenging and not something I swim for.
“I know I stand here bravely, but this has really set me back a lot. I really don’t know what’s next for me. Right now I’m on a high of racing, but I’m sure tomorrow when I wake up or at the end of the week when I get my flight home there’ll be plenty of different emotions that go through my head, but if it is the pool I think I’ll go back (to the same training set-up).”
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