Dunford bows out

By By Omulo Okoth in London: Saturday, August 4th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sports

By Omulo Okoth in London

The exit of top swimmer Jason Dunford from the Olympic stage on Thursday evening virtually leaves athletics as the focal point for Team Kenya’s medal hopes.

Dunford finished in an uncharacteristic last position in the men’s 100m butterfly second semi-final, recording a poor time of 52.16, which even surprised his management team here.

Chad le Clos of South Africa won the semi-final race in 51.42 ahead of American Tyler McGill (51.61) and Milorad Cavic of Serbia in 51.66.

The 26-year-old swimmer, the best in Kenya, was fourth in the heat in which he timed 52.23 earlier in the day.

David Ngugi, the team manager for the two swimming brothers was left almost speechless as the only Kenyan medal hope in the Aquatic Centre crashed out with such a below-par performance.

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“I can only say Jason put too much pressure on himself and had very high expectations after his semi-final feat in Beijing in 2008. This might have made him expect too much from the London Games,” Ngugi said at the Olympic Village on Saturday.

“That is not even his best time. And after beating Michael Phelps in Beijing, we also expected he would even end up within the medal bracket. Then he kind of panicked with only a quarter to the finish,” said Ngugi.

Andiego in action

Jason and his younger brother David, boxer Benson Njangiru, weight lifter Mercy Obiero have all been left as spectators at this Olympics.

Elizabeth Andiego, the sole female boxer in Team Kenya will jump onto the ring on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Michael Phelps became the first male swimmer to win the same event at three successive Olympics when he clinched the men’s 200m individual medley gold medal at the London Games on Thursday, adds Reuters.

Phelps, who won the event at the Athens and Beijing Games, relegated compatriot and world champion Ryan Lochte to silver while Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh took bronze.  Phelps led all the way and got his giant hands on the wall first in a time of one minute, 54.27 seconds, just outside Lochte’s world record of 1:54.00 that he set last year in the final at the Shanghai world championships.

Lochte, close to exhaustion after winning bronze in the 200 backstroke half an hour before the medley, held on to finish second, just 0.63 behind his team mate. Cseh clocked 1:56.22 for the bronze.

Phelps had joined forces with Lochte on Tuesday to win gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay and claim a record 19th Olympic medal and the 200 individual medley victory on Thursday gave the 27-year-old his 16th Olympic gold medal.