Mon, Jul 22, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Sun shines in 400m in Gwangju

CONFIDENT:After a conservative first 200m, China’s Sun Yang pulled away over the second half to claim his fourth world 400m freestyle title and 10th world title

AFP, GWANGJU, South Korea

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty competes in the World Championships men’s 100m breaststroke at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, South Korea, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

China’s Sun Yang yesterday stormed to 400m freestyle gold at the FINA World Championships, retaining his title and winning it for a record fourth time.

The controversial triple Olympic champion clocked 3 minutes, 42.44 seconds in Gwangju, South Korea.

Sun, facing fresh allegations of breaching doping protocols coming into the eight-day meet, slapped the water and roared with delight, savoring his triumph as he sat on the lane rope before climbing out of the pool and pumping his fist at a crowd of flag-waving Chinese fans screaming his name.

After a conservative first 200m, he pulled away inexorably over the second half to claim his 10th world title.

Fierce rival Mack Horton of Australia claimed silver in 3:43.17 and Italian Gabriele Detti bronze in 3:43.23 — a carbon copy of the 2017 podium in Budapest.

Australia’s Ariarne Titmus rallied midway through the final lap to upset Katie Ledecky of the US and win the 400m freestyle, denying the American star a record fourth straight title in the event.

Titmus led through the first 200m — dipping under world-record pace on the first lap — before Ledecky moved in front with 250m to go.

Ledecky was still ahead turning for home, but the 18-year-old Titmus pulled even midway through the last lap and surged to the wall first, beating Ledecky by 1.21 seconds.

Titmus touched in 3 minutes, 58.76 seconds, with Ledecky second in 3:59.97 — well off her world record of 3:56.46 set at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games — and Leah Smith of the US third in 4:01.29.

Adam Peaty of Britain became the first man to go under 57 seconds in the 100m breaststroke.

He won his semi-final heat in 56.88 seconds, bettering his old world record of 57.10 set in August last year in Glasgow, Scotland.

Peaty is seeking his third straight world title in the event. He also won the 100m breast at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The final is tonight.

Sun won his other 400m freestyle titles in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Sun’s presence at the world meet has drawn the ire of some swimmers, including Horton. The Aussie is the only swimmer to beat Sun in the past eight years, taking gold in the 400m freestyle at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

That is when Horton called Sun a “drug cheat” for his three-month doping suspension in 2014.

On the medals podium, Sun and Detti joined together on the top spot for photographs, but Horton did not join in. Instead, he stayed in his position a bit lower than the gold medalist.

Asked what his overriding emotion was, Horton said: “Frustration. I think you know in what respect.”

Sun faces alleged breaches of the doping rules that risk a ban from next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games and he has requested a public trial at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September to defend himself.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is challenging a decision by FINA, swimming’s world governing body, merely to warn him over incidents during a doping control team’s attempts to take blood and urine samples at his home in China in September last year, while allowing him to continue competing.

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