DOHA: Ruta Meilutyte’s title defence in the women’s 100m breaststroke ended at the first hurdle as the Lithuanian failed to reach the semifinals of the World Championships in Doha today.
Meilutyte, who took gold in the event at the 2012 London Olympics as a 15-year-old, was 17th quickest in the heats with a time of 1:07.79s, more than three seconds off her gold medal swim in Fukuoka last July.
China’s Tang Qiantang is seeded top for the semis after swimming 1:06.16, three-tenths of a second quicker than Dutch second seed Tes Schouten at the Aspire Dome pool.
Meilutyte’s setback followed Olympic champion Ahmed Fahnaoui’s failure to make the men’s 400m freestyle final yesterday in a major shock.
World record holder Meilutyte will defend her 50m breaststroke title later in the meet.