China strikes gold in the 200m butterfly
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.”
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.”
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