To­tal eclipse dims burnt-out Sun Hat-trick eludes tired Chi­nese star, while Ledecky pipped by Pel­le­grini

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BUDAPEST — Chi­nese su­per­star Sun Yang and Amer­i­can sen­sa­tion Katie Ledecky went down to sur­prise de­feats at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships on Wed­nes­day, while the United States twice broke the world record in the mixed med­ley re­lay.

Italy’s Gabriele Detti was the sur­prise win­ner of the men’s 800m freestyle — the event Sun had dom­i­nated at the last three worlds — as the 25-year-old Chi­nese flopped to a fifth-place fin­ish.

Sun, a win­ner in the 200m and 400m freestyle here, was never in con­tention as he fin­ished 8.10sec off Detti’s win­ning time of 7min, 40.77sec. The Hangzhou na­tive claimed this week’s ex­er­tions in the pool had taken their toll.

“I was too tired to­wards the end, my arms and legs were very tired,” said Sun.

“I spent 70 per­cent of my en­ergy on the 200 and 400 and I didn’t have enough left. When I go back home I will re­flect on whether to keep do­ing the 800.”

Ledecky made his­tory on Tues­day as the first woman to claim 12 world ti­tles, but the 20-year-old was pipped to gold in the women’s 200m freestyle by Italy’s Fed­er­ica Pel­le­grini.

Ledecky, a gold medal­ist in the 400m, 1500m and 4x100m freestyle in Hun­gary, was forced into a share of sec­ond place, but vowed that los­ing will mo­ti­vate her for years.

“I knew it was go­ing to be a tough field, but I can’t com­plain about the sil­ver,” said Ledecky. “That will light some fire un­der me for the next cou-

I spent 70 per­cent of my en­ergy on the 200 and 400 and I didn’t have enough left. I will re­flect on whether to keep do­ing the 800.” Sun Yang, af­ter fin­ish­ing fifth in 800m freestyle

ple of years.”

Pel­le­grini be­came the first swim­mer to win seven medals in a sin­gle event at the worlds af­ter her vic­tory in the 200m freestyle final on Wed­nes­day.

She last won a world ti­tle in 2011 in Shang­hai, but the de­ter­mined Ital­ian rolled back the years to clock 1:54.73.

The old­est in the field at 28, Pel­le­grini stormed back from fourth at the final turn to take gold ahead of Ledecky and Aus­tralia’s Olympic bronze medal­ist Emma McKeon, who had led un­til the 150m mark.

In the process Pel­le­grini, who broke 10 world records be­fore she was 21 and won 200m freestyle gold at the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics, scup­pered Ledecky’s hopes of be­com­ing only the sec­ond swim­mer, af­ter Michael Phelps, to win at least two world ti­tles in four dif­fer­ent in­di­vid­ual events.

Vic­tory for Pel­le­grini sparked a good night in the pool for Italy, with Gre­go­rio Pal­trinieri earn­ing bronze along­side com­pa­triot Detti’s tri­umph in the 800 freestyle.

Peaty im­pres­sive

Bri­tain’s Adam Peaty con­tin­ued his dom­i­na­tion of the men’s breast­stroke sprint events, back­ing up his vic­tory in the 100m final by re­tain­ing his 50m ti­tle — a non-Olympic event.

The 22-year-old nar­rowly missed break­ing his own world record again as he won 50m gold, touch­ing in 25.99, just 0.04sec shy of his world- beat­ing mark in Tues­day’s semi­fi­nals.

“I know I can do faster than that, maybe in a few years I can come back and ac­tu­ally do it, but for now I’m more than over the moon,” said Peaty.

South Africa’s Chad le Clos avenged his loss in the 200m but­ter­fly final at the 2015 worlds in Kazan, beat­ing Hun­gary’s Las­zlo Cseh on his home patch.

Le Clos, the 2012 Olympic cham­pion, clocked 1:53.33 with Hun­gary’s Cseh, 0.39sec be­hind.

“It was an emo­tional race, be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter,” said Le Clos, who had braced him- self for a rau­cous at­mos­phere in front of the home fans at the Duna Arena.

The noise was near deaf­en­ing as the crowd roared on Cseh and Ta­mas Ken­deresi, who fin­ished fourth.

“I knew it was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult with ev­ery­one cheer­ing for the two Hun­gar­i­ans,” said Le Clos.

“I’m very hum­bled to have come out on top and re­claim the gold medal that I lost last year,” he added, re­fer­ring to his fourth-place fin­ish in the 2016 Olympic final.

The US quar­tet ended the night by smash­ing the world record in the mixed 4x100m med­ley re­lay for the sec­ond time in the space of a few hours.

Matt Gre­vers, Lilly King, Caeleb Dres­sel and Si­mone Manuel clocked 3:38.56 in the final, shav­ing more than three sec­onds off Bri­tain’s record set in 2015.

Ear­lier in the heats, the US, fea­tur­ing a dif­fer­ent quar­tet, also broke the pre­vi­ous record with a time of 3:40.28.

This is only the sec­ond world cham­pi­onships fea­tur­ing the mixed med­ley re­lay, which will be in­cluded at the 2020 Olympics.


Fed­er­ica Pel­le­grini of Italy celebrates with a splash af­ter win­ning the women's 200m freestyle final at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships in Budapest, Hun­gary, on Wed­nes­day.

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