Sobbing Seebohm 'proud' to defend world backstroke title

Emily Seebohm of Australia broke down after retaining the women's 200m backstroke gold at the world championships on Saturday to make up for her disappointment at last year's Olympics.

Australia's Emily Seebohm reacts after winning the women's 200m backstroke final on July 29, 2017
Australia's Emily Seebohm reacts after winning the women's 200m backstroke final on July 29, 2017 (AFP)

Emily Seebohm of Australia broke down after retaining the women's 200m backstroke gold at the world championships on Saturday to make up for her disappointment at last year's Olympics.

Seebohm clocked two minutes, 05.68 seconds with Hungary's Katinka Hosszu taking silver at 0.17sec and Kathleen Baker of the United States earning bronze at 0.80.

The 25-year-old Seebohm wept when she realised she had won after a superb burst in the final 50 metres saw her hold off home-crowd favourite Hosszu.

"I was very proud of myself, no matter if I won or lost, I'm just really honoured to be in such a fantastic field and so quick as well," said Seebohm, who won bronze in the women's 100m backstroke on Tuesday despite suffering from a mild cold.

"It's really good to be here and representing Australia again."

Seebohm thanked friends and family, especially partner Mitch Larkin, who supported her through a difficult period after last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics when she failed to get on the podium in either the 100m or 200m backstroke.

"I'm really proud of what I achieved after the struggles that I've been through, it's really great to have such support here from my friends, my family and from Mitch as well," said Seebohm.

"I felt pretty relieved when I touched the wall -- honoured and proud.

"Getting back into the pool after Rio was really hard, everything that I've gone through, it just proves to myself that it wasn't me.

"That Rio experience was just one of those things that happens in life, sometimes you've got to go down to go back up."