Adam Peaty’s world record lit up the opening session of the Rio Olympic swimming competition on Saturday but little-known Spaniard Miguel Duran Navia tugged on Brazilian heartstrings after a false start left him in tears.
The 20-year left the blocks early in his 400 metres freestyle heat and was already sobbing uncontrollably as he climbed out of the pool and walked back to collect his things.
The Brazilian crowd gave Navia a raucous hand, recognising that four years of hard work had gone down the drain, as the young Spaniard trudged despondently from the pool deck -- only to shuffle back out moments later to another rousing reception.
Confusion reigned but Navia, still visibly upset, climbed back onto the blocks in lane seven for the restart. He finished last after running the full gamut of emotions.
Swimming’s governing body FINA said that Denmark’s Anton Ipsen in lane three had moved before the buzzer and consequently Navia was not to blame for his false start.
“I was nervous and heard something in the stands that made me do what I did,” said the swimmer. “I thought I was disqualified and that affected my concentration. I lost my head and was five seconds off my time.”