30 Mar 2018 – 18:56

 Buzz off! Bee sting floors Aussie 'tough guy' swimmer Mack Horton

Australia’s Mack Horton competing in a heat of the men’s 1500m freestyle during the swimming competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, on July 29, 2017. AFP / François-Xavier Marit


Gold Coast, Australia:  Olympic champion Mack Horton’s Commonwealth Games preparations have been rudely interrupted by an angry bee which stung the Aussie swimmer during practice.

The 21-year-old, who won 400 metres freestyle gold at the 2016 Rio Games and goes by the macho nickname “Mack the Knife”, got a fright after an allergic reaction caused his arm to swell up like Popeye following his brush with the tiny critter.

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But Australia’s head swim coach Jacco Verhaeren insisted Horton would be ready for the Commonwealth Games, which kick off in Gold Coast next week.

“It’s getting smaller and smaller and in this case that’s a good sign,” Verhaeren told reporters.

“But it really was puffed up. The first day it was painful as well and the feeling in the water is not the same. But he’s a tough guy.”

Horton, who won 4x200m freestyle gold and 1,500m freestyle silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, arrived for training in Brisbane with a protective bandage on his right arm last week after his run-in with the insect.

“My arm has blown up,” Horton told local media at the time. “My tricep doesn’t exist anymore, my elbow doesn’t exist anymore.

“I put my arm up on the edge (of the pool) and it’s gone bang!” he added, referring to the pain.

“Because I don’t have my glasses on (during training), I’m really cautious now and looking out everywhere just in case.”

Verhaeren revealed that it was not the first time Horton had come off second best to a bee.

“He got stung when we were in Perth and his hand swelled up,” said the Dutchman. “He’s a bit unlucky. He’s not only allergic but he attracts them as well.”