BSP-19 China’s Sun Yang completes ‘golden slam’ at Asian Games swimming
China’s Sun Yang completes ‘golden slam’ at Asian Games swimming
JAKARTA, Aug 19, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Chinese giant Sun Yang swept to Asian Games
200m freestyle gold Sunday to add to his Olympic and world titles — then had
his national anthem played twice after a flag-pole malfunction.
The triple Olympic champion produced a blistering last two laps to clock
one minute, 45.43 seconds and successfully launch his quest to win five gold
medals in Jakarta.
Victory was twice as sweet for Sun, who was stunned by Japan’s Kosuke
Hagino at the last Asian Games in 2014 and also took silver behind Korean
rival Park Tae-hwan in 2010.
From the moment Sun strode out sporting a bright yellow tracksuit and
huge red headphones to roars from flag-waving Chinese fans, there was only
ever likely to be one winner.
The 26-year-old favourite absolutely smashed the final, finishing more
than a second clear of Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto, celebrating by screaming
out loud and punching the air as he soaked up the applause of his adoring
“I’ve waited eight years for this title,” said an emotional Sun, easily
China’s biggest sporting personality.
“It also gives me a golden grand slam of Olympic, world and Asian
titles. It’s a perfect result, a dream. It’s unbelievable.”
Bizarrely his moment of glory was soured somewhat when the flags fell
off the pole during China’s national anthem, prompting Sun to growl at
officials and demand a do-over.
But flustered Games officials did away with the faulty pole altogether
and simply held the flags.
Earlier, Sun showed a softer side to his gnarly public image by
lavishing compliments on rival Hagino.
– Diplomatic row –
The controversial Chinese sparked a diplomatic row at the 2014 Asian
Games when he branded the Japanese national anthem “ugly”.
But Sun has launched a charm offensive from day one in Jakarta.
“I think Hagino is a good guy,” he told reporters. “He is an inspiration
to me. We should be working together to raise the level of Asian swimming.”
Earlier, China’s Wang Jianjiahe won the women’s 1,500m freestyle title
after beating countrywoman Li Bingjie in a battle of 16-year-old schoolgirls,
the national champion touching in 15:53.68, just over a tenth quicker than
her close friend.
Liu Yaxin won the women’s 200m backstroke in 2:07.65, before world champ
Xu Jiayu celebrated his 23rd birthday by capturing gold in the men’s 100m
backstroke (52.34) to make it four out of four on the night for China.
Japan stopped the rot as Satomi Suzuki won the women’s 100m breaststroke
in a Games record 1:06.40, before Daiya Seto retained his 200m butterfly
title in a time of 1:54.53.
“I got a bit frantic in the last 25 metres but I got the job done,” said
Suzuki. “It gives me a lot more confidence going into next year’s world
championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”
Japan then ambushed China in the women’s 4x100m freestyle, setting a new
Games best of 3:36.52 after a stirring anchor leg from Chihiro Igarashi to
finish the night with three gold medals.