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Leisel Jones hits back at critics
Liam FitzGibbon
20:41 AEST Sun Jul 29 2012

A fired up Leisel Jones admits she's been hurt by talk of her being out of shape at the London Olympics but says it's motivated her like never before.

The 26-year-old Jones was the subject of media scrutiny coming into her fourth Olympics, with unflattering photos raising questions about her fitness ahead of her 100m breaststroke title defence.

The 26-year-old showed encouraging signs during her first swim in London on Sunday, qualifying fifth fastest for the 100m breaststroke semi-finals and she was then defiant as she broke her silence on the issue.

"It's the best thing that's ever happened to me, I couldn't ask for anything more," Jones said.

"I'm one of those people, you put me under pressure I'll show you what I can do.

"It was probably one of the best things, I did one of my best sessions every day after I'd heard the comments.

"I've had nothing but support and I think that has probably touched me the most, that was probably what made me the most impressed.

"So thanks to the journalist who decided to write not-so-nice comments about me, thanks a lot you've just fired me up."

Jones, the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics, did not try to hide her disappointment but insisted she was focused on the job ahead in the pool.

"I guess it's pretty hurtful coming from your own country, people making comments like that," Jones said.

"But I'm here to swim. I swim in the pool, I don't swim in the papers, so I'm here to do my job and I hope to do it very well and to make Australia proud.

"I know I've made myself proud just by being here and I would like to think I've earned myself a bit of credibility just by being here so long and doing that job that I have."

Jones clocked one minute and 6.98 seconds behind surprise fastest qualifier Ruta Meilutyte (1:05.56) of Lithuania.

American favourite Rebecca Soni (1:05.75) was second fastest into Sunday night's semis while Australian Leiston Pickett was 11th qualifier 1:07.41.

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