May 22, 2016 / 2:58 AM / 3 years ago

Cate Campbell ties own 2016 mark at Japan Open

Australia's Cate Campbell reacts after the women's 100m freestyle semi-final at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

TOKYO (Reuters) - Australia’s Cate Campbell underlined her status as favorite for 100 meters freestyle gold at the Rio Olympics when she matched her world leading time of 52.38 seconds at the Japan Open.

The 24-year-old London relay gold medalist has been in strong form this year and eclipsed her injury-hampered younger sister Bronte, the reigning world champion in the blue riband sprint.

Her time at Tokyo’s Tatsumi International Swimming Center late on Saturday matched the 52.38 she swam at the Australian Olympic trials in Adelaide in April, which was the fifth fastest of all time.

Bronte was third in Tokyo but is still the second fastest woman over the distance this year, her 52.58 at the Australian trials keeping Sarah Sjostrom (52.78) in third place on the 2016 time sheets.

Sjostrom is looming as the greatest threat to the Campbell family’s hopes of gold in Rio and the Swede coasted to 100 freestyle victory in the European championships in 52.82 on Wednesday.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford

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