Asian Games: China take the cake in explosive pool climax

Asian Games: China take the cake in explosive pool climax
China's Sun Yang won the 1,500m freestyle event.

INCHEON, South Korea - China's swimmers flexed their muscle at the Asian Games on Friday with explosive gold medal displays from Olympic champions Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen.

Anchor Ning Zetao's supersonic 46.91 seconds - world record speed - gave China a nail-biting victory over fierce rivals Japan in the men's 4x100m medley relay, capping a thrilling six days of competition in the pool.

After scooping four more titles on the final day, China finished with a total of 22 gold medals overall, to Japan's 12.

The Japanese won the battle for male supremacy, edging China 8-7 in golds but the invincible Chinese women's team won 15 out of 19 events to maintain their Asian Games dominance.

World record holder Sun defended his 1,500 metres freestyle title with plenty left in the tank, powering to victory in 14 minutes, 49.75 seconds to give the hulking superstar a third gold of the week.

South Korea's Park Tae-Hwan finished out of the medals, leaving the local hero winless in his four individual events.

Sun brought a smile to his face by presenting him with a cake ahead of his 25th birthday on Saturday to show there were no hard feelings.

"I'm really happy to win a third gold," double Olympic champion Sun said after adding to his victories in the 400m and 4x100m freestyle.

"I'm still a bit disappointed I didn't win the 200 free as well," he added, still smarting from a shock defeat by Japan's Kosuke Hagino.

"That was a pity. But it will motivate me for next year's world championships."

Sun, who courted controversy with a dig at the Japanese national anthem in the build-up to swimming's "iron man" event, strolled out in his gold headphones and Park appeared to shrink in his presence as they stood on the blocks.

Park returned to pick up a bronze in the men's 4x100m medley relay, giving him a 20th Asian Games medal and making him the most decorated South Korean ever at the quadrennial multisport event.

Sun showed his fun-loving side after the racing was done, bringing out a strawberry-covered cake for Park and smearing cream over his face as the crowd squealed in delight.

As predicted, Ye stormed to the the individual medley double, clocking a Games record of 2:08.94 to win the 200m and emulate her success in Guangzhou four years ago.

"I've not been as quick since London," admitted the 18-year-old, who had suffered a prolonged dip in form since her astonishing double at the 2012 Olympics.

"But I believe I can get back to where I was for the world championships."

Kazakh Dmitriy Balandin completed a sensational breaststroke treble by winning the 50m in a Games record 27.78 after winning the 100 and 200m - the first swim titles for the former Soviet republic at the Games.

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