By Nick Hope
Aquatics correspondent in Fukuoka, Japan
Spanish duo Dennis Boneu González and Mireia Hernandez ensured a European nation was present on the last artistic swimming medal podium of the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, by claiming mixed duet free bronze.
It was Boneu González’s third medal of Fukuoka 2023 following his historic solo free gold and silver alongside Emma Garcia in the mixed duet technical event earlier in the competition.
The latest success helped Spain to finish second on the 2023 World Championships artistic swimming medal table, behind hosts Japan, who also finished with several medals but edged ahead of the European nation by virtue of winning four golds, to Spain’s three.
China’s Cheng Wentao and Shi Haoyu took the mixed duet free title with an astounding 225.1020 points, ahead of Mexico’s Itzamary Gonzalez Cuellar and Diego Villaobos Caprillo (192.550).
Spain attained a strong 183.4207, but feel they can make improvements next season.
“I am very happy as it has been a very successful championships,” said Gonzalez Boneu.
“We made a lot of mistakes in this final that we didn’t realise at the time, but in the end that’s something that only the judges can see.
“We did our best and we got what we were aiming for – a medal. We are very proud of this result.”
Team-mate Hernandez added; “We feel very proud of everything we did to get here.
It was not the goal we had in mind but we know how the ‘game’ works now and that those who take the most risks sometimes have more chances to fail.
“We’re happy with today’s performance, and we are satisfied with our results.”
The conclusion of the Fukuoka 2023 artistic swimming programme marks the end of the season for the majority of the world’s best athletes in the sport – aside from those due to compete in the Asian Games and Pan-American Games later this year.
The next major event for those from other continents will be the 2024 World Championships in Doha which represent the main qualification event for places at the Paris 2024 Olympics.