Sun Yang Takes First Gold Of Championships But Casts Shadow; Silver Lining For Mack Horton

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Sun Yang ponders his position in Gwangju. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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World Swimming Championships (Sun Yang and Mack Horton)

Gwangju 2019 

Day 1 finals 

Men’s 400m Freestyle

Sun Yang won his fourth consecutive title in the 400m freestyle as his presence loomed large at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center.

Mack Horton finished second before refusing to share the podium with the Chinese swimmer, the pair barely acknowledging the other, with Gabriele Detti third in a new Italian record.

Little was known of how Sun feels about the furore that has surrounded him in recent months, although it did not seem to affect him in the water on Sunday.

With Danas Rapsys of Lithuania to the left of him and Jack McLoughlin to the right, it was tight until the fourth length when Sun overhauled the Australian and led at halfway.

Horton, previously so critical, tried to make inroads down the final 50, but there was no catching Sun who won in 3:42.44, the 10th fastest time in his career.

A battle royale was unfolding behind. Rapsys was second after the final turn with Horton and Detti third and fourth respectively and the pair both clocked 26.61 on the final 50 to overhaul the Lithuanian.

The Australian Olympic champion touched in 3:43.17 – his fourth fastest – with Detti setting a national record of 3:43.23 in third as the trio recorded the top three times in the world this year.

Marco de Tullio, of Italy, was fifth in 3:44.86 with McLoughlin fading to sixth (3:45.19) and Ji Xinjie of China and Zane Grothe of the USA rounding out the field.

Horton, the Olympic champion, touched in 3:43.17 – his fourth fastest – with Detti setting a national record of 3:43.23 in third as the trio recorded the top three times in the world this year.

Sun first stood on the podium when he won silver in Shanghai in 2011 – Park Tae-Hwan the last man to beat him over eight lengths at world titles, the South Korean swimmer later to serve a ban following a positive doping test.

His presence in Gwangju has been polarising but he has a vocal band of followers who greeted his appearance on the blocks with screams and cheers more readily reserved for pop stars and celebrities.

So were there large banners proclaiming: “China’s Rising Sun”, the decibel level rising as the race progressed.

As his fellow athletes left the water at the end of the race, Sun sat atop a lane rope, arms aloft, hands hitting the water and on leaving the pool he waved to his fans in the stands and punched the air.

Sun explained through a translator: “After the race I tried to relieve stress and I gave all of the fans and supporters who have come here to support me thanks. I came to Gwangju to be on top of the podium and to see my country’s flag to be hoisted. I was just so thankful for my fans.”

Horton called Sun a ‘drug cheat’ at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and has since reiterated his tough stance on doping.

Of Sun, he said: “I don’t think I need to say anything. I think his actions and how it has been handled speaks louder than anything.”

He then refused to join Sun and Detti on the podium, instead choosing to stand back following the Chinese national anthem.

Sun claimed to be hurt by Horton’s actions, saying: “I am aware of the rumors that have been going around but I tried to concentrate on my swimming and I will keep trying to concentrate on my swimming and finish this competition.

“I was aware of the Australian, who has a dissatisfaction with me. But it is unfortunate because this is hurting me. I feel sorry about that.”

He added: “I am very happy to win this event for the fourth time in a row and also I am very proud of myself and I think this last week has been frustrating for me so personally it is a great start for myself and the Chinese team.
“I am happy with having great results since 2011. Yes, I have had some mistakes in the past but for the past nine years I have tried very hard to improve myself and I have had the challenges in training. And also my coach has given me great advice and support. I also have a very good training environment in China and all the support has been great.”

Horton described his overwhelming emotion as “frustration”, saying: “Faster than I’ve been this year and last year as well so I’m happy to be getting closer to the Rio time but obviously I want a lot more.”Detti, who matched the bronze medals he won at Rio 2016 and in Budapest two years ago, said of Sun: “He’s the best and he won. That’s all. I’m happy and I’ll try to beat him next year.”

The Italian would not be drawn on the injury that ruled him out of the 2018 Europeans, saying: “I don’t want to think about last year. My shoulder is good.”

 

86 comments

  1. Bennie Bouwer

    Shadow indeed 😒Great swim Mack Horton 💪💪

    • avatar
      J.K.

      Moron. Mack Horton is a loser who can not face the fact that he is not that quick

      • avatar

        Horton seem too insecure. He digs up a singular past incident in 2014 and calls yang as a cheat. But how would he know after 2015? By calling him a cheat without proof, he can protect his fragile ego whenever he loses. Sun tested clean every year afer 2014 so baseless claims after 5 years, is unsportsmanlike. Ans classical self handicapping

  2. John McCormack

    Sun Yang => nothing natural added…

  3. Simon Edwards

    Shouldn’t be racing 👎

  4. Léo Grova

    All the other swimmers are “clean”.
    Ahahahahahahah
    Ahahahahahahah

    • John McCormack

      Léo Grova clean enough not to get caught and aren’t starting fights in warm-ups… 😂

    • Maureen Fluehr Carll

      Léo Grova well we know who isn’t.Whats it been for at least 8 years?!

    • Léo Grova

      John McCormack , as a person who loves swimming, you have to apreciate the technic that Sun displays.
      And yes, you are absolutely right – “…clean enough not to get caught…” Unfortunately, that`s what professional sports is all about.

    • Léo Grova

      Maureen Fluehr Carll , for me watching Sun swim, is like watching art. If you dont like, its fine for me.
      Few athlets in the world can elevate sports to another level – Sun is one of them. But please dont be nieve – at that level ALL athletes are “dirty”.

    • Anita Steins

      Léo Grova if you are comparing Sun to art, it is a forgery.

    • Léo Grova

      Anita Steins , let me give you an example, of what i am trying to say.
      Tour of France… Armstrong got caught. He is the bad guy, right? Wrong! To be able to follow the peloton – mark my words – FOLLOW, not win – you have to be on drugs.
      Sure you chose what to believe in.

    • Glen Muldoon

      Anita Steins It is a tough call, should a doping ban be for life??

    • Anita Steins

      Glen Muldoon if it is deliberate and systematic then yes. I recall Silken Laumann the rower who inadvertently took some cough syrup. That is what it is but when you have a swimmer who hasn’t cooperated and smashed a vial containing a sample, then at least to me that indicates Sun is hiding something. It is also suspect that the doping tests couldn’t have been completed before Worlds?!

      • avatar

        No one seems to have actually read the detailed findings of an official inquiry into Sun. The testers were inappropriately dodgy and refused to do the paperwork and protocol within regulations. They could frame him out of racial bigoted trump style prejudice.

        In 2016, there were already people gunning out for him. Alot of racist nationalistic critiques. And this was regardless that Yang was tested clean that same year.

        ~

    • Glen Muldoon

      Anita Steins I agree each case should be taken separately the problem is it is rampant and the people who don’t get caught ahve the best masking system in place..

    • Anita Steins

      Glen Muldoon so are you suggesting previous gold medalists have all been tainted?

    • John McCormack

      Léo Grova go read about Armstrong, he IS the bad guy..

    • Glen Muldoon

      Anita Steins I am sure there have been some.. I think it is in every sport , IMO for every 1 caught there are others who haven’t been..

    • Léo Grova

      John McCormack , go read about UCI, then tell me who realy is the bad guy. More then 500 tests…
      I can save you time – the bad guys are you and I, all of us and our society, where the only thing that matters is results at any cost.
      The guy that wins is the best, because ALL of them are on drugs.
      Look beyond that – no drug will give you technic like the one Sun displays.
      The reasin I love watching sun, is the same I love watching Katye Ledecky – their technic, not their power or results.

    • Sanele Nxumalo

      Respect to you bro 100% correct sun yung is a master

    • Sanele Nxumalo

      They wer not authorized to test him

  5. Hassina Rh

    Pourquoi ils se comportent comme des gamains avec l’australien ! 😒

  6. avatar
    Xiaocang

    Mack Horton, show some repect to the game. Standing off the podium was lame! Winning the game is the only way to prove yourself, which was exactly Sun Yang did!

    • avatar
      Jason

      I did stand on the podium with him in 2016 Rio. I can’t stand on the podium with him (or maybe others) all the time. I do have my principle.

    • avatar

      Sun was banned from competition in 2014, for a proscribed substance, trimetazidine, that had been prescribed for angina, a heart condition. When Sun took the drug, it had been on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list for only less than five months. Not enough time tbh.

      In 2016, Sun was clean. Now he is immune to childish cheap smears and he has put Horton in his place this year as well as in 2017. Unless he has actual proof in the last 5 years, horton should shut up. 😏

  7. Pedro Ferreira

    After the Shadows over the 2009 World Records now we enter a new Dark Age… Cheaters are allowed to be World & Olympic Champions…

  8. Swee Khiang

    Poor sportsmanship.

    • Maureen Fluehr Carll

      Swee Khiang by whom.Cheater should be lifetime banned.

      • avatar
        Goldencave

        Sun is not a cheater. they were not authorized to test him. procedure justice.

    • Swee Khiang

      Maureen Fluehr Carll leave this to the judges. We audience wants to see good sportsmanship on display. These are world class athletes who are role models.

    • 許世昌

      Swee Khiang I agree! Sun is innocent unless you could approve he is guilty. It’s the spirit of Law.

    • Maureen Fluehr Carll

      Swee Khiang well let’s say as a former swimmer we would prefer cheaters to be taken out of the game.Not like this is his first rodeo.Not every world class athlete is a role model

      • avatar

        How do you know he DELIBERATELY cheated in 2014. That heart med is very EASILY detectable. It wasn’t a designer drug designed to mask detection.

        Sun was banned from competition in 2014, but it was for only three months and for a proscribed substance, trimetazidine, that had been prescribed for angina, a heart condition. When Sun took the drug, it had been on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list for less than five months.

        Only 5 months. It wasn’t banned for years and like asthma inhaler, athletes usually assume if it hasn’t been banned for decades. It’s allowed.

        Regardless he tested clean in 2017 and still beat Horton. To call him a cheat without proof is what’s unsportsmanlike.

    • Swee Khiang

      Maureen Fluehr Carll as a former student in school, do u also advocate all cheaters (at all levels) to be banned forever from education? The world is not binary. Let the system takes its course and let ur moves do the talking the pool if u disagree.

    • Lee Thomas

      Is it time to start singing “If I had a hammer” yet? lol

    • Maureen Fluehr Carll

      Swee Khiang nothing to do with Sun.Yes, however,cheating in academia has severe consequences.This man is not a child and this is far from the first time his name and suspicion have been linked.

    • avatar
      Davis

      yeah, what a disgrace, Horton! shame of you!

  9. Rich Davis

    The athletes need to make sure FINA are held to account. We had the GDR in the 70’s & 80’s who were all ‘clean’. The Russia’s were caught red handed in Sochi and it seems only the the IAAF are taking it seriously. Now the Chinese again. Enough is enough FINA needs to act.

    • Gherghel Cristian

      Fina needs to change her leader.

      That’s The 1’st change.

    • Inna Koucka

      Gherghel Cristian Absolutely right – all corrupted politicians kick out from sport!!!!!

  10. Andrea McHugh

    Love Mack Horton!🇺🇸👍 Good for you!

    • Brandon Ortiz

      Andrea McHugh you like child like behavior and being a sore loser?

    • Nancy Pulham

      Brandon Ortiz child like behavior wuld be smashing your drug test viles because you are afraid to lose 🙄

      • avatar
        Jason

        To avoid fault testing result either native or “Positive” by an error of deliberately, the best way is to refuses provide sample ( smashed a vial of sample) to unaccredited procedure. Only provide sample to the right testers. FINA stands by him currently but there is an appeal.

    • Andrea McHugh

      Nancy Pulham yes, and also because you are hiding something!

    • Vicki Ross

      Nancy Pulham his junk is about to spill out 😳

    • Nancy Pulham

      Vicki Ross they all wear the suits like that 😂

    • Rhett Gannon

      Brandon Ortiz Why haven’t you responded to Nancy taking you down a peg? Just wondering, considering the ignorance of your original comment.

  11. avatar
    Anonymous

    Horton is an absolute loser

  12. Rick Bohner

    Now that’s dope.

  13. avatar
    Clark

    Horton is a pathetic loser. Sun Yang won his fourth consecutive title in the 400m freestyle, which means there’s no evidence that he cheated. Horton should admit defeat if he don’t have evidence to prove Sun has cheated.

  14. Simon Edwards

    This is way before the vial incident .. he had already been banned .. it should have been permanent..

    In May 2014, Sun was banned for three months by the Chinese Swimming Association after testing positive for the then-stimulant trimetazidine, which had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list four months earlier.[8] Sun stated that he was prescribed the trimetazidine by a doctor to treat heart palpitations he has suffered since 2008, and was unaware that it had been newly added to the banned substances list.[8][13] Although Sun was eligible to file the drug for a medical exception due to his heart condition, he did not do so

    • avatar

      Lol he obviously did not Try to cheat.

      Like you said, it was on the list for only 5 months. It wasn’t on the list for manybyears but only recently back then. Not enough time to be realistically aware.

      That heart med was not a DESIGNER drug to mask detection..that proves he wasn’t trying to cheat.

      Logically that’s enough to prove it was innocent.
      .

  15. Carlton Barber

    He can’t get away with this

    • Brandon Ortiz

      Carlton Barber he has nothing to get away with. Fake news.

  16. Melina Gold

    Well…FINA is loosing credibility and respect all over the World. Heinous in my eyes..Booooo

  17. Alberta Haynes-Carlson

    FINA act now and strip the Gold Medal from Yang. Being banned for 3mths or so is not enough.

    • avatar
      Justice

      Sun was banned from competition in 2014, for a proscribed substance, trimetazidine, that had been prescribed for angina, a heart condition. When Sun took the drug, it had been on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list for only less than five months. Not enough time.

      In 2016, Sun was clean. Now he is immune to childish cheap smears and he has put Horton in his place this year as well as in 2017. Unless he has actual proof in the last 5 years, horton should shut up.

    • Sanele Nxumalo

      Because he’s chines? That ban was from 2013 I would also destroy my pee if an unauthorized personal canme to my house to test me

  18. Tom Iles

    Cheat

  19. William Mcclintock

    Put an * on this win possible dopping in small china influenced fina to allow him to race black eye to sport

  20. Craig Nelson

    Booooo once a doper always a doper 😡😡

    • avatar
      Justice

      Sun was banned from competition in 2014, for a proscribed substance, trimetazidine, that had been prescribed for angina, a heart condition. When Sun took the drug, it had been on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list for only less than five months. Not enough time.

      In 2016, Sun was clean. Now he is immune to childish cheap smears and he has put Horton in his place this year as well as in 2017. Unless he has actual proof in the last 5 years, horton should shut up.

  21. avatar
    Justice

    Sun was banned from competition in 2014, for a proscribed substance, trimetazidine, that had been prescribed for angina, a heart condition. When Sun took the drug, it had been on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list for only less than five months. Not enough time tbh.

    In 2016, Sun was clean. Now he is immune to childish cheap smears and he has put Horton in his place this year as well as in 2017. Unless he has actual proof in the last 5 years, horton should shut up.

  22. avatar
    Chris

    Horton is such a pathetic and childish loser

  23. avatar
    Craig

    Horton sucks ! Unless he has actual proof in the last 5 years, he should shut up. Such a loser!

  24. Sanele Nxumalo

    Sun yung is the greatest 🔥

    • Marcus Darko

      Sanele Nxumalo is that why Mack bet him in rio?

      • avatar
        Bestk

        Horton beat Sun in Rio only because he played the dirty little tricks by calling Sun “drug cheat” , he can beat Sun only in this timid, coward way, shame on Horton!
        But Horton succeeded only once and will never succeed again because Sun has grown up and strong in mind.

  25. Sanele Nxumalo

    Keep focus yung sun his mistakes shouldn’t be that he’s banned for life just coz they can’t beat him stroke for stroke…

  26. avatar
    Truth

    No one seems to have actually read the detailed findings of an official inquiry into Sun. The testers were inappropriately dodgy and refused to do the paperwork and protocol within regulations. They could frame him out of racial bigoted trump style prejudice.