FAST LANE

China strikes gold in the 200m but­ter­fly

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Barcelona

China’s world record holder Liu Zige was de­lighted to take the women’s 200m but­ter­fly gold at world aquat­ics cham­pi­onships on Thurs­day af­ter hold­ing off Spain’s Mireia Bel­monte in a tight fi­nal.

Liu, the 2008 Olympic cham­pion in Bei­jing, clocked 2 min, 04.59 sec in Barcelona with Bel­monte just 0.19 sec back and Hun­gary’s Katinka Hosszu ex­actly a sec­ond adrift in third.

There was dis­ap­point­ment for Olympic cham­pion Jiao Li­uyang of China who fin­ished sixth.

Liu led for most of the race and held off the strong chal­lenge of home fa­vorite Bel­monte, the Olympic sil­ver medal­ist, who had briefly threat­ened to over­take her in the fi­nal lap with the crowd roar­ing her on.

Bel­monte at­tacked Liu’s lead in the third length, but the new world cham­pion dug deep in the last 50m to claim gold.

“I am de­lighted to win. I had some in­jury prob­lems this year and to come back from them like this is great,” beamed the 24-year-old who com­pleted the set af­ter sil­ver at the 2009 world cham­pi­onships and bronze two years ago in Shang­hai.

The Chi­nese said she will take a break from train­ing now to give her body a chance to re­cover.

“At the end of ev­ery big com­pe­ti­tion I have some mus­cu­lar prob­lems so I have to take time off to see a spe­cial­ist be­fore I can go back into my train­ing pro­gram,” she said.

Hosszu, who won gold in Mon­day’s 200m in­di­vid­ual med­ley fi­nal, was happy with her bronze.

“Af­ter win­ning the 200 IM, I am def­i­nitely happy with an­other medal,” said the 24-year-old.

“Af­ter the first day, any­thing more is a bonus.

“My whole prepa­ra­tion has been a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent, I moved back to Hun­gary to be able to rep­re­sent my coun­try bet­ter.

“I changed my coach and we have been do­ing a lot more races so the hard work def­i­nitely paid off.”

1-2 fin­ish

World record holder Zhao Jing led China to a gold and sil­ver dou­ble in the women’s 50m back­stroke fi­nal on Thurs­day with teenage com­pa­triot Fu Yuanhui fin­ish­ing sec­ond.

The 22-year-old Zhao, who won 100m back­stroke gold at the 2011 world cham­pi­onships, clocked 27.29 sec in the sprint with 17-year-old Fu at 0.10 back and Ja­pan’s Aya Ter­akawa 0.24 adrift in bronze.

Hav­ing fin­ished fifth in the Olympic 100m back­stroke fi­nal, with the 50m be­ing a non- Olympic event, Zhao said she had wanted to bounce back from her Lon­don 2012 dis­ap­point­ment.

“I feel very happy to have proved my­self and taken the gold medal,” she said.

“Af­ter the Olympics I had

I had no ex­pe­ri­ence of such a big com­pe­ti­tion, so I am happy to get such a re­sult. I have the ut­most re­spect for Zhao Jing and what she has achieved.”

FU YUANHUI,

some in­jury prob­lems and my per­for­mance dipped so that is why I think I have proved my­self again.

“It has been down to my hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

“The hard­est com­pe­ti­tion is the Olympics and I feel that I let my­self down there, so I wanted to come back and prove him­self here.”

Zhao said she was some way short of the full fit­ness which saw her set the world record of 27.06 four years ago at the 2009 Rome world cham­pi­onships.

“I was not in good con­di­tion some months ago, I felt it in the heats and semi­fi­nals,” said Zhao.

“Be­fore the fi­nal, my coach gave me con­fi­dence and en­cour­age­ment to get bet­ter, I want to thank him.”

Teenager Fu said she was de­lighted as China col­lected its fourth swim­ming gold medal of the cham­pi­onships af­ter Sun Yang’s freestyle vic­to­ries in Sun­day’s 400m fi­nal and Wed­nes­day’s 800m.

“I am very happy to see China get an­other gold medal,” she said.

“I made some mis­takes, be­cause of my lack of ex­pe­ri­ence, but I will learn.

“I had no ex­pe­ri­ence of such a big com­pe­ti­tion, so I am happy to get such a re­sult.

“I have the ut­most re­spect for Zhao Jing and what she has achieved.”

50M BACK­STROKE SIL­VER MEDAL­IST

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