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July 24, 2019

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Podium drama as Sun wins 200 freestyle via DQ

Sun Yang was in the middle of controversy at the FINA world championships again. Only this time, it wasn’t his doing.

The Chinese star still got shunned on the medals podium, again.

Sun won the 200-meter freestyle last night in Gwangju, South Korea, after Danas Rapsys of Lithuania finished first and got disqualified for an apparent false start.

Sun touched second, but got elevated after Rapsys had already celebrated in the pool.

Sun appeared surprised, clasping his hands to his face, but quickly sat on the lane rope and raised both arms in the air.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto of Japan took silver. Martin Malyutin of Russia and Duncan Scott of Britain tied for bronze.

On the podium, Scott wanted no part of sharing the moment with Sun.

Scott kept his hands clasped behind his back and refused to shake Sun’s hand, standing off on his own while the other medalists joined Sun to pose for photographers.

Sun, who served a three-month doping ban in 2014, is being allowed by FINA to compete in Gwangju ahead of a Court for Arbitration in Sport hearing in September that threatens Sun’s career.

After Sun won the 400m free, silver medalist Mack Horton of Australia refused to step on the podium or acknowledge Sun during the medals ceremony. FINA, swimming’s governing body, sent warning letters to Swimming Australia and Horton for his actions.

“FINA has currently done more to reprimand Mack Horton than they have done to reprimand Sun Yang,” said American Lilly King, who won the women’s 100 breaststroke.

Sun spread his arms apart and looked at Scott as the Brit turned to come off the podium. Sun and the other two medalists stopped for photographers on the pool deck, but Scott kept on walking.

Sun, the current Olympic champion in the 200 free, earned his third straight medal in the event at the worlds and second gold in a row.

He was timed in 1 minute, 44.93 seconds.

“That may be my luckiest ever gold medal,” said Sun, who was tested at length after his sixth race of the week, forcing him to cancel a press conference.

“But fortune rewards those who work hard and I’ve been working so hard for this.”

King and Russia’s Yulia Efimova kept all the drama in the pool in the 100m breaststroke.

They were neck-and-neck down the stretch before King got her hand on the wall first, touching in 1:04.93.

Efimova was second in 1:05.49. Martina Carraro of Italy took bronze.

King is an outspoken doping critic who is upset that Sun is competing in Gwangu.

Efimova served a 16-month doping ban in 2013 and failed a drug test in 2016, but wasn’t punished. King called out Efimova at the Rio Olympics, saying she wasn’t a fan.

However, the intensity between them has clearly dissipated.

King and Efimova clasped hands over the lane rope. Later, Efimova clapped as King took the top spot on the podium and they embraced and kissed after the ceremony.

Without three-time defending champion Katie Ledecky in the field, Simona Quadarella of Italy won the 1,500 freestyle in 15:40.89 — well off Ledecky’s world record of 15:20.48.

Earlier in the day, the American star withdrew from the final because of unspecified illness. Ledecky also dropped out of the 200 freestyle heats.

Sarah Kohler of Germany earned silver and Wang Jianjiahe of China took bronze.

Olympic and defending world champion Ryan Murphy was upset in the men’s 100m backstroke.

Xu Jiayu of China won in 52.43 seconds.

Evgeny Rylov of Russia took silver and Mitch Larkin of Australia got bronze.

American Murphy, who was under his own world-record pace at the turn, faded to fourth.

In the women’s 100m back, Kylie Masse of Canada won in 58.60.

Minna Atherton of Australia took silver and American Olivia Smoliga earned bronze.

Kathleen Baker of the United States, the world record holder, tied for sixth.


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