China flex muscles at Asian Games

Led by London Olympic champions Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen, the Chinese transformed the Munhak Aquatics Centre into their own private pool party, winning all but one of the seven titles decided on the third night of swimming finals.

苏州纹绣

Sun, who took a day off after being beaten by Kosuke Hagino in the 200 meters freestyle on Sunday and injuring his thumb when he hit the touchpad, was better suited by the longer distance and avenged his loss to the rising Japanese star when he successfully defended his 400m freestyle title.

Ye, whose eye-popping performances at the London Olympics led to thinly-veiled accusations from other nations about the source of her success, turned the women’s 400 individual medley into a virtual time-trial.

She steamed clear of the field from the start and was never challenged as she made an audacious attempt to break her own world record.

China also provided a sneak preview of their next wave of potential Olympic champions when teenage sensation Shen Duo picked up her third gold medal of the Games while Chen Xinyi, Fu Yuanhui and Ning Zetao all bagged their first.

But the biggest surprise came from Kazakhstan teenager Dmitry Balandin, the only swimmer to break China’s monopoly of the golds on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old slashed nearly six seconds off his best time to win the men’s 200m breaststroke gold and charge up the world rankings.

He stopped the clock in two minutes 07.67 seconds to take the gold ahead of Japan’s Kazuki Kohinata and Yashuhiro Koseki.

“I am tired,” said Balandin. “But today was my best day. I am happy this time.”

Japan had swept the first six men’s events on the opening two days of swimming but had to settle for three silvers and two bronzes on Tuesday.

Ning won the men’s 50m freestyle sprint for China in 21.95, getting his hand on the wall just ahead of the Japanese pair of Shinri Shioura and Kenta Ito.

Hagino, who has already won three golds and a bronze in Incheon, collected his fifth medal of the meet when he finished runner-up to Sun.

The 20-year-old Japanese university student set off at a cracking pace and led for the first 100m but was soon overhauled by Sun and could not catch the towering Chinese.

“We swam fast, worked hard and truly competed against each other. The level of the swimmers in Asia is very promising,” Sun said.

“Today’s competition was very exciting and comfortable, but it was difficult for me to swim. As you know, I just injured my left hand. During the swim, I tried to not focus on the pain.

“I had some issues, but my coach supported me. I still have more events so I will do my best to do well in all of them.”

South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan finished third to claim his third bronze medal in his homeland after winning three golds at each of the last two Asian Games.

“The whole nation expected more from me, but I feel as if I’ve let them down,” said Park. “I was properly prepared physically, but there was pressure that I must live up to what people expect from me, and that distracted me.”

Ye, who has failed to match up to her London performances, was under world record pace for the first 250m of the women’s 400m individual medley.

She weakened over the concluding freestyle leg and stopped the clock at 4:32.97, more than five seconds ahead of Japan’s Sakiko Shimizu and Vietnam’s 17-year-old Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, who won the gold at the recent Youth Olympics.

“After winning the London Olympics, I felt lots of pressure. I know the expectation of my supporters was high,” said Ye.

“So I was distracted in my races and could not do well (even though) I performed really well in training.”

Shen, who won six gold medals at the Youth Olympics, picked up her third Asian Games gold in the women’s 4x200m while 16-year-old Chen won the women’s 100m butterfly in a slick 56.61 and Fu won the women’s 50m backstroke in 27.66.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Posted by at 26/09/2019
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