Fu Yuanhui & Etiene Medeiros, Champions Past & Present, Set The Pace In 50 Back Heats

Fu YuanHui Pos 2 China
Fu Yuanhui - Photo Courtesy: Joao Marc Bosch

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World Swimming Championships (Fu Yuanhui)

Gwangju 2019

Day 4 Heats (Women’s 50m backstroke)

China’s Fu Yuanhui is back for more. World champion in 2015 and silver medallist in 2013 and 2017, the 23-year-old got her 2019 campaign started with a smooth 27.70 ahead of defending champion Etiene Medeiros, of Brazil, on 27.85 in the last of five heats.

The two top contenders have traded places at the past two championships, Medeiros the silver medallist in 2015.

It was heat 3 before podium contenders got going. American Olivia Smoliga stopped the clock at 27.96 a touch ahead of  Anastastia Fesikova, nee Zueva, on 28.02, Poland’s Alicja Tchorz on 28.04. As Zueva in 2011, the Russian claimed the title in 27.79.

The heat saw Britain’s Georgia Davies, Commonwealth champion for Wales back in 2014, take the helm of pace with a 27.92, Finland’s Mimosa Jallow following in 28.04, American Kathleen Baker on 28.17 and Australian Kaylee McKeown on 28.23.

The last heat was the fastest, up top and through the ranks, Fu, who started swimming when talent spotted at 5 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, and Medeiros followed by a 27.86 from Dutch challenger Kira Toussaint, Denmark’s Julie Kepp Jensen, 27.95, and the Czech Republic’s Simona Kubova, on 28.00.

Into semis – Top 16 qualifiers:

1 FU Yuanhui People's Republic of China CHN 27.70
2 MEDEIROS Etiene Brazil BRA 27.85
3 TOUSSAINT Kira Netherlands NED 27.86
4 DAVIES Georgia Great Britain GBR 27.92
5 JENSEN Julie Kepp Denmark DEN 27.95
6 SMOLIGA Olivia United States of America USA 27.96
7 KUBOVA Simona Czech Republic CZE 28.00
8 FESIKOVA Anastasiia Russian Federation RUS 28.02
9 JALLOW Mimosa Finland FIN 28.04
10 TCHORZ Alicja Poland POL 28.14
11 BAKER Kathleen United States of America USA 28.17
12 CHEN Jie People's Republic of China CHN 28.19
12 DE WAARD Maaike Netherlands NED 28.19
14 MCKEOWN Kaylee Australia AUS 28.23
15 PILHATSCH Caroline Austria AUT 28.28
16 VASKINA Daria Russian Federation RUS 28.29


Fu – a pioneer for Chinese women


Fu Yuanhui, who took bronze in the 100m backstroke at Rio 2016 – Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Fu made headlines around the world at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when she broke a Chinese sporting taboo when explaining that menstruation had contributed to her being below best form on the day China finished fourth in the 4x100m medley relay.

“I don’t think I performed very well today. I feel I let my teammates down,” said a distraught Fu to state-broadcaster CCTV.

Asked whether she was suffering from stomach pains, Fu said that her period had started the previous day.

“It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired – but this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough,” she said.

Fun was roundly praised on Chinese social media for breaking the silence surrounding the menstrual cycles of female athletes. Many said they had not realised it was possible for a woman to swim during her period.

Eight decades after tampons first went on sale in the United States, a deep-rooted cultural resistance and inadequate sex education in China were blamed for the fact that only 2% of Chinese women use them, according to a 2015 study.

China’s first domestically produced tampon – named Crimson Jade Cool – went on sale after the Rio 2016 Games, sport centres high on the target audience.


1 comment

  1. avatar

    She is a great girl.