Asian Games: Sun-burn for Japan as China's swimmers shine

Asian Games: Sun-burn for Japan as China's swimmers shine

INCHEON, South Korea - Olympic champion Sun Yang powered to Asian Games gold in the men's 400 metres freestyle on Tuesday as China roared into life after a slow start to the swimming competition.

China's king of bling strode out in a pair of gold headphones and mercilessly avenged a shock loss to Kosuke Hagino in Sunday's 200m final, crushing the Japanese and South Korea's Park Tae-Hwan to win the blue riband event in three minutes, 43.23 seconds.

China, stung by Japan's hot start in Incheon, trailed their fierce rivals 7-5 in the gold medal standings at the start of day four but tough-talking officials had promised to turn the tables.

They stormed to six titles on Tuesday, led by Sun and fellow Olympic champion Ye Shiwen, completing a shutout of the Japanese to give China an 11-7 advantage at the midway point of the pool competition.

"I knew we would come back today," said China's chief technical researcher Lu Yifan, who on Monday had bristled at talk of a power shift. "Today's events were our strongest. Tomorrow will be more difficult." Sun, who blamed a thumb injury for his 200m defeat, kept his cool when Hagino shot out to an early lead.

The towering Chinese relentlessly reeled Hagino in and was half a body length ahead by the halfway mark. And he powered away over the final 200 metres to rip away Park's Asian crown, as he did at the 2012 London Olympics.

Hagino, who has already won three golds in Incheon, took silver in 3:44.48, with former Olympic champion Park, after whom the pool is named, fading badly in the final 50 to finish third in 3:48.33.

"I'm very excited to win gold," Sun told reporters, adding that he was still feeling discomfort in his left thumb. "I felt some pain today but I tried to block it out and push for the win."

Park pressure 

Local hero Park admitted he had been feeling the pressure of competing in a pool named after him.

"It's a shame I didn't get the correct result," he said. "I've been feeling a bit of strain and my body has felt a bit heavy." Sun and Park race again in the 1,500m, in which the Chinese is Olympic champion and world record holder.

Ye, who won the women's medley double in London, defended her 400m medley title in a meet record 4:32.97 after briefly flirting with her own world record.

"I go quicker in training," sniffed the 18-year-old. "My first international medals came at the Asian Games. I've got the gold medals again and I'm very happy about that." Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Balandin won a surprise gold in the men's 200m breaststroke in 2:07.67, beating Japan pair Kazuki Kohinata (2:09.45) and Yasuhiro Koseki, who has been hyped as the next Kosuke Kitajima after a dominant year.

Fu Yuanhi began China's gold rush by winning the women's 50m backstroke in 27.66, quickly followed by Ning Zetao in the men's 50m freestyle in 21.95 before Ye made it three in a row for the Chinese.

Chen Xinyi added the women's 100m butterfly title in a Games record 56.61 to stretch China's lead.

China have dominated the Asian Games swimming in recent years, winning 24 of the 38 golds at Guangzhou in 2010.

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