Sun wins historic gold for China in 400m freestyle
LONDON: Sun Yang became the first Chinese Olympic men’s swimming champion with victory in the 400m freestyle final in a near-world record time at London Games on Saturday.
Sun swept past South Korean defending champion Park Tae-Hwan at the final turn and surged home to win gold in three minutes 40.14 seconds.
He missed out on German Paul Biedermann’s world record by just 0.07secs and climbed on to the lane rope to punch the air in triumph.
Sun, the 1500m freestyle world record holder, who trains in Australia under Grant Hackett’s former coach Denis Cotterell, was too strong for Park, who tumbled to his first defeat to the Chinese star in international competition.
It was a compelling tussle between the two Asian superstars with Park under world record pace before he was headed off by Sun.
Sun was in tears as he spoke to reporters following his magnificent victory.
“The feeling is very nice, it’s beautiful,” Sun said. “It’s a big dream come true for me.
“I have to (say thank you) to my coach, my parents, my friends and all the people that help me.
“Because it’s the Olympic Games, I felt a little bit nervous at the start, then at the end, I felt that I could get a medal.”
Park, who was reinstated to the final on appeal after being disqualified for a false start in winning his morning heat, finished in 3:42.06 while American Peter Vanderkaay in 3:44.69.
“I swam really well, it was a little bit of a pity that I came second,” Park said.
“I really regret losing my Olympic title, but there was a lot going on for me this morning, so I feel a little bit bad.
“There was a problem with my start this morning, but it was solved.
“I swam as well as I can, I have no regrets about this morning.”