SWIMMING AT THE 2018 ASIAN GAMES
Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin is competing at the 2018 Asian Games currently underway in Jakarta, Indonesia, but the competition may indeed be the reigning 200m breaststroke Olympic champion’s last meet.
“I don’t know what my life is going to be after the Asian Games,” he said, as reported by the AP this week. “Maybe I finish swimming after Asian Games, but I don’t know now.
“Really, I am a little bit tired for swimming. I’ve won all I wanted in my swimming career.”
The 23-year-old surprised a stacked field in Rio with his podium-topping performance, but before that he swept the breaststroke events back at the 2014 Asian Games.
Since winning Olympic gold, Balandin has been a domestic hero, motivating young aspiring athletes within his home nation.
“In my country, so many people know my face now,” Balandin said. “So many children come to me and want to take photos with me.
“It’s great because my country’s swimming has taken a new step. So many children (are) swimming now.”
Most recently, Balandin scored a silver and bronze while competing at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei. The Kazakhstani captured modest 2018-bests of 1:00.43 and 2:09.31 in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events, respectively, entering Jakarta.
At these Asian Games, Balandin withdrew from his signature 200m breast event, citing a precaution for his lower leg injury. However, he went on to claim bronze in tonight’s 100m breaststroke, collecting a time of 59.39, a mark that checks-in as Balandin’s season-best and just .01 off of his own national record set at the 2015 World Championships. But, if that will that be enough to keep the Kazakhstani swimmer in the sport remains an unanswered question.
Balandin still has the 50m breast sprint coming up on Friday, August 24th.