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July 25, 2019

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Home » Sports » Swimming

Sun eclipsed as Milak breaks Phelps record

China’s Sun Yang suffered defeat yesterday after an emotional week in which he has clashed with rival swimmers over doping allegations, while Hungarian teenager Kristof Milak shattered Michael Phelps’s 200-meter butterfly world record.

Triple Olympic champion Sun had already retained his 200m and 400m crown in Gwangju but he finished a distant sixth in the 800m final behind Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri, who claimed gold in 7 minutes, 39.27 seconds from Norway’s Henrik Christiansen.

A brutal schedule looked to have taken its toll on Sun, who has been involved in confrontations with Australian Mack Horton and Britain’s Duncan Scott after they snubbed him at two different medal ceremonies.

Sun has yet to address the subject but the 27-year-old admitted a pile-up of races had taken its toll. “I was exhausted,” winced the Chinese idol. “My legs and arms felt sore — the hardest part is juggling a tight schedule but I’ll have to do that at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

An 11-time world champion, Sun accused Horton of “disrespecting China” by refusing to step onto the podium for the winner’s national anthem after the 400m final at the weekend.

And Sun, who has complained privately of being shunned by other athletes in South Korea, went eyeball to eyeball with Scott after Tuesday’s 200m medal presentation.

The Briton ignored Sun’s offer of a handshake and would not join him on the top step for photos, sparking a fiery reaction from the Chinese star.

He wagged his finger in Scott’s face and yelled: “You loser, I win!” Both men received formal warnings from FINA, as did Horton.

Meanwhile, Milak stormed to gold in the men’s 200m fly, clocking a blistering 1:50.73 to obliterate Phelps’s 10-year-old mark by almost eight tenths.

“It’s a tremendous honor to beat such a great record,” said the 19-year-old, who was in elementary school when American legend Phelps went 1:51.51 at the 2009 world championships in Rome.

“Everyone will try to catch me, but I will be ready.”

Elsewhere, Italian Federica Pellegrini retained her 200m freestyle title in 1:54.22, while Britain’s Adam Peaty completed an unprecedented hat-trick of world doubles in the 50m and 100m breaststroke as he romped to gold in the one-lap final in 26.06.

The 24-year-old, who smashed his own 100m world record earlier this week, also helped Britain to bronze in the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

Pellegrini defeated a field of younger competitors, minus ailing American Katie Ledecky.

The Italian, who turns 31 next month, is competing at her final worlds. She’s aiming to make a fifth Olympics in Tokyo next year before retiring.

She overtook 18-year-old Australian Ariarne Titmus down the stretch to earn her fourth career gold — and record eighth consecutive medal — in her signature event.

Pellegrini joined Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden as the only women to win an event at least four times at worlds.

“It’s amazing,” she said.

Titmus, who stunned Ledecky in winning the 400m free, took silver in 1:54.66.

Sjostrom earned bronze in 1:54.78. She received oxygen on the pool deck after the race and later said she had a headache.

Australia rallied to take the mixed 4x100m medley relay, with Cate Campbell running down American Simone Manuel on the last lap to win in 3:39.08.


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