A heart­breaker

Fu Yuan­hui misses the gold by just one-hun­dredth of a sec­ond

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

BU­DAPEST — Fu Yuan­hui suf­fered a “heart­break­ing” de­feat to Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros in the women’s 50m back­stroke at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships on Thurs­day as one hun­dredth of a sec­ond cost her gold.

Medeiros clocked 27.14sec, a new Amer­i­cas record but 0.08sec shy of the world mark, while China’s Fu had to set­tle for sil­ver at just 0.01 back.

Fu be­came a so­cial-me­dia sen­sa­tion at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics af­ter a video of her ec­static, beam­ing re­ac­tion, hav­ing been told she had won bronze in the 100m back­stroke, went vi­ral as she strug­gled to con­trol her emo­tions.

But her tears of joy in Rio were jux­ta­posed by her bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment in Bu­dapest at miss­ing out on a gold medal as she wept in the mixed zone.

“It is a heart­break­ing re­sult, I tried my best, I was swim­ming not just for my­self but for my coach, my friends, my fam­ily,” said the 21-year-old.

“Peo­ple know me for laugh­ing, but if they see me cry­ing they will be very sad, so this time I will go home be­fore I cry.

“I pre­pared very hard, I thought I had pre­pared enough, but I don’t know why it didn’t work out as I had ex­pected.”

Iron­i­cally, in the semi­fi­nals, Fu had also been just 0.01sec be­hind Medeiros, the fastest qual­i­fier.

Hav­ing won sil­ver over 50m at the Kazan world cham­pi­onships two years ago, the 26-year-old Medeiros went one bet­ter in Bu­dapest hav­ing also come within 0.12 of the world record on Wed­nes­day.

She said a gold medal at the short-course world cham­pi­onships in 2014 sparked some be­lief she could win over 50 me­ters.

“I’m so happy right now. Two years ago I was sec­ond, but now I am the cham­pion, so this is so im­por­tant in my life,” said the 26-year-old Medeiros.

“I won a gold medal in 2014 in Doha, it was a tremen­dous ex­pe­ri­ence and I’m sure that it helped me to achieve the re­sult that I achieved to­day

“To win a world gold medal in long-course cham­pi­onship swim­ming with very com­pet­i­tive and out­stand­ing swim­mers has a huge mean­ing.

“It is im­por­tant for my coun­try, my friends, my team and my col­leagues in swim­ming. Brazil­ian swim­ming is be­com­ing stronger.

“We got a sil­ver in the men’s re­lay, a sil­ver in the 50m fly and 50m breast­stroke and now with my medal in 50m back as well.

“We have been pro­gress­ing and de­vel­op­ing since 2015, there is still more com­pe­ti­tion to be swum.

“I wasn’t con­fi­dent of win­ning af­ter last night’s semi­fi­nals and the Chi­nese were very strong to­day.

“I was a bit ner­vous, but I took time to re­lax and just be happy and it worked out.”

Ledecky’s lucky 13

Katie Ledecky claimed her 13th ca­reer world-cham­pi­onship gold on Thurs­day as the United States ruled the pool on Thurs­day with a hat-trick of vic­to­ries.

Ledecky led the USA to the women’s 4x200m freestyle ti­tle with a pow­er­ful an­chor leg to win her fourth gold medal in the Hun­gar­ian cap­i­tal.

The 20-year-old from Wash­ing­ton, DC, sealed the win for the US quar­tet, along­side Leah Smith, Mal­lory Comer­ford and Me­lanie Mar­galis, as she held off China’s Li Bing jie, who took sil­ver. Adri­ane Tit­mus earned bronze for Aus­tralia.

“It was a big vic­tory for us,” said Ledecky.

It was the per­fect re­sponse from Ledecky af­ter she was beaten into joint sec­ond by Italy’s Fed­er­ica Pel­le­grini in Wed­nes­day’s 200m freestyle — the Amer­i­can’s first in­di­vid­ual loss in 13 fi­nals at world cham­pi­onships.

“I had no frus­tra­tion about yes­ter­day any more,” said Ledecky. “I had con­fi­dence in my other team­mates, that we can do it to­gether.”

Ledecky has now won five medals at these cham­pi­onships af­ter gold in the 400m freestyle, 1500m freestyle, the 4x100m, plus that 200m freestyle sil­ver.

Chase Kal­isz of the US had ear­lier won the men’s 200m in­di­vid­ual med­ley ti­tle.

He touched in 1min, 55.56sec, with Ja­pan’s Ko­suke Hagino tak­ing sil­ver at 0.45sec and China’s Wang Shun claim­ing bronze at 0.72.

It means Kal­isz fol­lows in the foot­steps of com­pa­tri­ots Michael Phelps, who won the 200m IM gold at four Olympic Games from 2004 un­til 2016, and Ryan Lochte, who won four ti­tles in the event from 2009 un­til 2015.

“Those two are the best in our sport, they will never be re­placed and it means a lot to con­tinue the IM tra­di­tion — they were my idols,” said the 23-year-old.

Caeleb Dres­sel and Nathan Adrian came first and sec­ond re­spec­tively in the men’s 100m freestyle fi­nal as the Amer­i­cans dom­i­nated the podium.

“I’m fine with the sil­ver. We’re stoked to see Team USA go one-two,” said the 28-yearold Adrian.

Mean­while, Mireia Bel­monte over­came a sore throat to win the women’s 200m but­ter­fly ti­tle to add to her Olympic gold medal.

The Spa­niard clocked 2min, 05.26sec, with Ger­many’s Franziska Hen­tke tak­ing sil­ver at 0.13 back and Hun­gary’s ‘Iron Lady’ Katinka Hosszu, who thrilled the home fans at Duna Arena on Mon­day by win­ning the 200m IM, earn­ing bronze at 0.63.

Hav­ing won world sil­ver at home in Barcelona four years ago, Bel­monte has gone one bet­ter a year af­ter be­ing crowned Olympic cham­pion in Rio.

MICHAEL DALDER / REUTERS

China’s Fu Yuan­hui (sil­ver), Brazil­ian Etiene Medeiros (gold) and Ali­ak­san­dra Herasi­me­nia of Be­larus (bronze) show off their 50m back­stroke medals at the FINA World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, on Thurs­day.

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