MACAU, November 8. THERE’S no disputing the fact that Aaron Peirsol is the premier backstroker in the world and, currently, on another level than his opposition. But, some competition might be around the corner in the form of Ouyang Kunpeng, the quick-improving standout from China who undoubtedly is focusing on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Over the weekend, Ouyang posted a pair of stellar times at the East Asian Games, held in Macau. In addition to clocking an Asian record time of 25.18 in the 50-meter back, he delivered a solid 54.41 to take top honors in the 100 distance of the dorsal. Earlier in the meet, Ouyang notched an easy triumph in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:58.24.
On the women’s side, China’s Yang Jieqiao and Wang Qun earned double victories. A distance ace, Yang coasted to a first-place finish in the 1,500 freestyle (16:24.10) and followed with a triumph in the 800 free behind a mark of 8:39.03. As for Wang, she prevailed in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.56) and the 200 breast (2:26.05), with her 100 victory featuring a defeat of Olympic champ Luo Xuejuan (1:09.14).
Some impressive times were also produced by the Chinese women in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Pang Jiaying covered the 200 free in 1:58.49, ahead of the 1:59.62 turned in by Yang Yu. In the fly, Zhou Yafei checked in at 58.43, a time that bettered the 58.92 of Xu Yanwei. Meanwhile, Jung Jiyeon provided the Chinese with a winning time of 4:43.29 in the 400 individual medley.
One of the brightest stars for the Chinese men, Wu Peng was the victor in the 400 I.M., thanks to a performance of 4:20.50. Wu also placed second in the 200 fly, as his 1:57.59 was topped by only the 1:56.72 effort of Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda. The Japanese also received a gold-medal showing from Daisuke Kimura in the 200 breast (2:14.67).
Other victors among the women were China’s Zhu Yingwen in the 50 free (24.87), Zheng Jing in the 400 free (4:14.89) and Gao Chang and Aya Terakawa in the 100 backstroke. Gao and Terakawa shared first place with times of 1:01.70. For the men, other wins were supplied by China’s Zeng Qiliang in the 50 breast (27.83), Huang Shaohua in the 100 free (49.79), Zhou Jiawei in the 100 fly (52.70), Cai Li in the 50 free (22.85) and South Korea’s Taehwan Park in the 400 free (3:48.71).