'The Snail' takes up where 'The Eel' left off

For Eric "The Eel" Moussambani in 2000, read Stany "The Snail" Kempompo Ngangola here in Beijing.

Moussambani went to Sydney because Equatorial Guinea was one of the developing nations that received "wild card" slots to boost the sport in those countries. Eric nearly drowned in the 100 metres freestyle but won his three-man heat because the others were disqualified.

Ngangola, 34, got his place in last night's 50m here because the Democratic Republic of Congo got him a wild card. Or rather, he is a team official who swims recreationally and got himself the wild card. The starting sheet claimed his qualifying best was 1min 15sec, laughable over a distance where 21.47sec was the quickest time recorded last night.

Ngangola actually clocked 35.19sec to finish last of 97 swimmers in the event. A 14-year-old from the Seychelles, Didon Dwayne Benjamin, was slightly quicker. "My ambition is to get more golds than Phelps,"� Didon said afterwards.

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