Paltrinieri retains men's 1500m freestyle world title

Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy won the men's 1500m freestyle final at the world championships on Sunday to retain the title he won two years ago in Kazan.

Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri clocked 14 minutes, 52.07 seconds to win the men's 1500m freestyle
Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri clocked 14 minutes, 52.07 seconds to win the men's 1500m freestyle (AFP)

Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy won the men's 1500m freestyle final at the world championships on Sunday to retain the title he won two years ago in Kazan.

Paltrinieri clocked 14 minutes, 52.07 seconds with Ukraine's Mykhailo Romanchuk taking silver at 1.29 back and Mack Horton of Australia earning bronze at 11.85 behind.

Romanchuk gave Paltrinieri a hard race, but the Italian held on to add the world title to the Olympic gold he won in Rio de Janeiro.

"I did everything I could to beat the Olympic winner, but he is the champion," said the Ukrainian.

"Next time I will win -- it's a fantastic motivation, I will do everything to make it happen."

Horton is the first Australian on the world podium in this event since 2008 and was delighted to end the decade wait.

"I still have a couple of steps to climb up onto the higher ones, but it's definitely good to have Australia back there, that's why I do the event really," said Horton, who won silver in last Sunday's 400m freestyle final.