Asian Games: ‘Fire up the barbie!’ Sun teases swim rival Park

Asian Games: ‘Fire up the barbie!’ Sun teases swim rival Park
China’s Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang.

China's controversial Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang has bet rival Park Tae-hwan a barbecue dinner that he will beat the South Korean at the Asian Games.

In a tongue-in-cheek Chinese television commercial, Sun even claimed he was the prettier of the two freestyle heavyweights before their showdown in the pool next week as he set his sights on the local hero.

"Please keep up with your efforts," Sun said, the hulking swimmer wearing little red armbands. "Don't let me win too easily," he added, preparing to dive into the water before flopping in with a duck-like quack.

Sun, well known for his love of fast cars and glamorous women, shot to fame at the London Olympics two years ago by becoming the first Chinese man to capture swimming gold, storming to the 400 and 1,500 metres freestyle titles.

His image took a battering, however, when he was pulled over by police last year after being caught driving his Porsche without a license. He was jailed for a week and China's sports authorities suspended him from swimming for six months.

But his appearance in the commercials gently poking fun at Park suggested he was back in favour after Chinese sports chiefs had accused him of "violating the basic principles of morality." Sun teased Park: "Mr Park, you are the pride of Korea, with countless numbers of fans. Even the competition venue is named after you. But so what?" In one scene, triple world champion Sun, who once courted controversy following a blazing public row with his coach over his dalliance with a flight attendant, floats serenely on a lilo.

"Mr Park, which one of us do you think is more handsome?" he deadpans. "Let's make a bet: the one who loses has to treat the winner to a Korean barbeque." One of the commercials shows Sun trash-talking former Olympic champion Park underwater, again sounding like Donald Duck.

"Mr Park, you broke the Asian record at the last Asian Games," he said. "But I have erased that record. This year at Incheon, try to get the record back if you have the chance." The two Asian rivals begin their high-profile clashes in the 200 metres on Sunday.

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