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Keri-anne Payne wins Open Water gold at World Championships

19 July 2011

Keri-anne Payne has been crowned open water queen after defending her 10km title at the World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai.

The 23-year old put in a commanding, gold-medal winning performance in China, taking the lead early on before finishing the course in 2.01:58.1 to win the World title and become the first person to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

I just tried to make it as easy as I could - if someone did attack I would have enough in my legs to kick-on.

Payne fought through punishing conditions in China with the course baked by temperatures of well above 30C and water temperatures of 29C.

But the British Gas GBR swimmer remained composed and in charge throughout, and even fended off a late charge by showing a strong and determined kick.

An energetic and delighted Payne celebrated her second world title with her British Gas ITC Stockport coach Sean Kelly.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Payne. “Last year wasn’t the best for me so this is a massive positive and I’ve also just found out my sister (Janine) is in labour back in the UK so hopefully it will be a good day all round.

“The conditions were pretty perfect. Maybe it was a little too sunny as it was hot out there and I think I’m going to have outlines of the number ‘26’ on my back where my race numbers were.

“I just tried to make it as easy as I could because I knew that if someone did attack I would have enough in my legs to defend and kick-on.”

Payne’s top 10 finish sees her meet the first stage of the British Swimming selection policy for the 2012 Olympic Games and qualify herself for London on the condition that she maintains fitness.

“I’m so happy to have made the top 10 and to achieve qualification for the home Olympics, It’s an amazing feeling. There is a massive sense of relief because now I can just concentrate on training to make sure I’m at my absolute peak in London.

“I have events to swim in the pool schedule next week and then I’ll return home and get straight back into the water and concentrate on my preparation for 2012.”

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