AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
DEBRECEN: Laszlo Cseh became the first Hungarian swimmer to win 10 career European Championship gold medals on Thursday as the host nation raced away with four of the day’s seven titles.
Israel also grabbed a little bit of history when Jonatan Kopelev, in the 50m backstroke, claimed a first European gold for his country. Cseh, a medley specialist, took gold in the 200m butterfly in a time of 1min 54.95sec with compatriot Bence Biczo taking second place in 1:55.85.
The win was a perfect morale boost for the 26-year-old Cseh — an Olympic silver medallist in 2008 over the distance — two months out from the London Games. Cesh, usually reserved and low-profile, burst into tears at the medal ceremony as he won his second title of the week, having captured the 200m medley on Wednesday. He can win a third on Sunday when he goes in the 400m medley. Hungary now have nine titles from the four days of competition.
On Thursday, Daniel Gyurta won the 200m breaststroke in 2min 08.60sec, defeating Marco Koch of Germany (2:09.26). Boglarka Kapas, with a time of 8min 26.49sec, clinched the women’s 800m freestyle title, finishing ahead of France’s Coralie Balmy (8:27.79) and compatriot Eva Risztov (8:27.87). In the women’s 200m medley, Hungary had a first and third through Katinka Hosszu (2:10.84) and Evelyn Verraszto (2:11.63).
Kopelev, 20, created the big surprise of the night, winning his first major title having never done better than 11th in the 50m backstroke last year.
The Israeli clocked 24.73sec, ahead of Italy’s Mirco Di Tora (24.95) and three swimmers who dead-heated for third in 25.14 — France’s Dorian Gandin, Guy Barnea of Israel and Richard Bohus of Hungary.