Ner­vous Hor­ton sets up Sun Yang show­down

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Olympic cham­pion Mack Hor­ton set up a show­down with Chi­nese su­per­star Sun Yang yes­ter­day af­ter the Aus­tralian squeezed into the men’s 400m freestyle fi­nal at the world aquatic cham­pi­onships.

Hor­ton de­throned Sun as Olympic cham­pion over 400m at last year’s Rio Games, brand­ing the Chi­nese su­per­star a “drugs cheat” af­ter his three­month dop­ing ban in 2014. The pair will lock horns at the worlds in Bu­dapest, but nei­ther were fastest in the morn­ing heats.

Aus­tria’s Felix Aubock clocked three min­utes, 44.19 sec­onds with Sun sec­ond fastest at 0.36secs be­hind with Hor­ton fifth fastest, at 1.41 back, of the eight fi­nal­ists. “I felt OK in the morn­ing and I took the heats as a warm-up. I will try my best in the fi­nal but I did not set any goal for the even­ing,” said Sun. Hor­ton ad­mit­ted he had a few ner­vous mo­ments af­ter fin­ish­ing third in his heat, but did enough to se­cure a berth in the fi­nal. “The plan was just to make the fi­nal. You usu­ally go for the top two, so when I was third, I was a lit­tle bit wor­ried, but it was ok,” ad­mit­ted Hor­ton.

“I feel pretty re­laxed, you al­ways feel bet­ter when you get the first one out of the way and blow out the cob­webs. “I just need to go faster tonight.” On Fri­day, Hor­ton de­scribed his clash with Sun as “a ri­valry be­tween elite ath­letes and ath­letes who have tested pos­i­tive”, but was more re­served af­ter the heats, sim­ply say­ing “ev­ery­one knows how I feel about that”.


The USA’s gold-medal ma­chine Katie Ledecky could lower her own world record in the women’s 400m freestyle fi­nal to­day even­ing. The 20-year-old broke her own cham­pi­onships record, set two years ago in Rio, when she clocked three min, 59.06 secs in the heats.

Her time was three sec­onds slower than the world record she set in Rio last year, but Ledecky says there is more to come. “It’s good to get the first one out of the way, but I feel like I have more for tonight,” said Ledecky.

“I’ve worked to­wards this meet all year, I’m just try­ing to put it all to­gether now.” Ledecky will com­pete in six freestyle events in Bu­dapest and races twice yes­ter­day even­ing. Af­ter the 400m fi­nal, she will join the USA’s 4x100m freestyle re­lay squad, who were the fastest into the fi­nal.

Great Bri­tain’s Olympic breast­stroke cham­pion Adam Peaty came within a whisker of his own cham­pi­onships record as the fastest into Sun­day’s 100m semi-fi­nals with 58.21secs, just ahead of Cody Miller and Kevin Cordes of the USA.

Peaty is look­ing to lower his world record of 57.13secs set in Rio last year. “It was a lot faster than I’ve nor­mally been in heats, so it’s look­ing very promis­ing,” said Peaty. “Per­son­ally, it’s how far can I take my body.”

Else­where, Sarah Sjostrom, the de­fend­ing world and Olympic cham­pion, was the fastest into this even­ing’s semi-fi­nals of the women’s 100m but­ter­fly. Swe­den’s Sjostrom clocked 55.96secs-half a sec­ond slower than her world record set last year at the Rio Olympics-with Kelsi Wor­rell of the USA and Aus­tralia’s Emma McKeon, the next fastest qual­i­fiers. Home-crowd favourite and Hun­gary’s ‘Iron Lady’ Katinka Hosszu blasted her way into the women’s 200m in­di­vid­ual med­ley fi­nal to­day. The world record holder clocked the fastest time of two mins, 07.49 secs-more than two sec­onds faster than her near­est ri­val.

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