Leukemia survivor wins marathon swim at Beijing

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{image-cancer patient_21082008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Beijing, Aug 21: Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands swam from behind to capture the gold in the men's 10-kilometre marathon swim Thursday at the Beijing Olympics.

Maarten van der Weijden was diagnosed with leukaemia seven years ago but pulled through after a stem cell transplant and a course of chemotherapy. He battled back to become the world's leading open-water swimmer and timed his surge to perfection to win a sprint finish after a three-man fight for gold in the Games' inaugural 10km men's race, after a contest lasting nearly two hours.

The 27-year-old 25km world champion celebrated wildy with his best friend and training partner, dual Olympic 100m freestyle champion Pieter van den Hoogenband, after his brilliant finish in the rain at the Shunyi Olympic rowing venue.

That makes it extra special," van der Weijden said when asked about his recovery from cancer. "It proves that even after such an illness you can win gold."

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