An­other day, an­other gold medal for China’s premier pool shark

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BU­DAPEST — Chi­nese su­per­star Sun Yang won the men’s 200m freestyle gold at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships on Tues­day to add to his Olympic ti­tle in the same event.

Sun touched the wall first in 1min, 44.39sec — 0.65sec ahead of Town­ley Haas of the United States. Rus­sia’s Alek­sandr Kras­nykh earned bronze.

“I paid at­ten­tion to de­tail and fol­lowed the in­struc­tions of my coach,” said Sun, who punched the wa­ter in tri­umph af­ter his vic­tory.

It marked Sun’s sec­ond gold of these cham­pi­onships af­ter his vic­tory in the 400m freestyle fi­nal last Sun­day.

He will bid for the tre­ble in Wed­nes­day’s 800m freestyle fi­nal — the event he has dom­i­nated for the last three world cham­pi­onships since 2011 in Shang­hai.

Sun timed his 200m race to per­fec­tion.

He was fourth at the half­way point, but caught leader and de­fend­ing cham­pion James Guy of Bri­tain, who fin­ished fifth, on the fi­nal turn and pow­ered home to vic­tory.

His tri­umph means the 25-year-old Sun is now the 200m freestyle cham­pion at both the worlds and Olympics, af­ter his vic­tory at last year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The freestyle ex­pert has nine gold medals to his name, span­ning four world cham­pi­onships.

He holds a world ti­tle in each of the 200, 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle events.

Haas said he pushed through the pain bar­rier to grab sil­ver.

“The last 50 me­ters hurt,” said the 20-year-old, a gold medal­ist in the 4x100m re­lay in the Hun­gar­ian cap­i­tal.

“I couldn’t see Sun, but I could see James Guy’s arms, so in my head I thought, ‘I’ve got to stay ahead of him’. Then I put my head down and kept kick­ing.”

Guy, the 2015 world cham­pion, was dis­ap­pointed, es­pe­cially af­ter Bri­tain’s dou­ble golds on Mon­day when Adam Peaty won the 100m breast­stroke and Ben Proud took the 50m but­ter­fly.

“It was very dis­ap­point­ing,” said Guy. “Yes­ter­day I did it ex­actly the same way, I felt like I had more left to give on the last leg, es­pe­cially to­wards the fin­ish.

“With my room­mate (Peaty) win­ning gold and Ben Proud win­ning gold, I want to get there too, but ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son and I have a four-year plan,” he added, with an eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Xu’s record re­gret

Mean­while, China’s Xu Ji­ayu won the men’s 100m back­stroke, but con­fessed he was “dis­ap­pointed” not to set a new world record.

The 21-year-old Olympic sil­ver medal­ist clocked 52.44sec. Amer­i­can Matt Gre­vers earned sil­ver, 0.04sec back, with his com­pa­triot and Olympic cham­pion Ryan Mur­phy tak­ing bronze at 0.15.

“My main aim is to break the world record,” said Xu, who fell short of Mur­phy’s record of 51.85sec set at the Rio Olympics last year.

“I’m a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed not to break it, but of course I’m happy with the win.

“Some­times it comes down to many fac­tors — luck or a good swim. It can be hard to say which is the greater fac­tor.

“The sil­ver medal­ist chased me re­ally hard, it re­ally de­pended on a small pinch of good luck.

“It’s quite an ed­u­ca­tion, last year in Rio, a sil­ver — this year, a gold.”

Hav­ing failed to qual­ify for the fi­nal at the 2013 world cham­pi­onships, Xu’s star has risen in re­cent years.

“I got bet­ter re­sults in 2015; each time I com­pete the goal is dif­fer­ent,” he said.

“I think of a new goal to achieve ev­ery time, to­day it was the gold medal. Fur­ther on I will work on new goals.”

Gre­vers, 32, was de­lighted with his sil­ver at his fifth world cham­pi­onships.

“I feel great. Even a month ago if some­body said I took the sil­ver, I would be OK with it, but now I am here,” he said. “This in­spires me to get back to my best.

“Xu swam re­ally well, I knew he was gonna go fast, he was be­tween Ryan and I and he did it.”

But Mur­phy, the Olympic cham­pion in both the 100m and 200m back­stroke, was far from pleased to have been beaten into third.

“I am not re­ally happy with the re­sult. It is not so great if you start off re­ally well and fin­ish in third place,” said the 22-year-old.

MICHAEL SOHN / AP & STE­FAN WERMUTH / REUTERS

China's Sun Yang cel­e­brates win­ning the gold medal in the men's 200m freestyle fi­nal at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest on Tues­day. Right: Xu Ji­ayu of China cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the men’s 100m back­stroke ti­tle.

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