Ailing Dolan still manages to improve on Beijing effort

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 January, 1999, 12:00am

A HEAD cold prevented American Tom Dolan from completing a winning double on the first day of competition at the FINA World Cup at Kowloon Park Swimming Pool last night.

The Atlanta Olympic gold medallist and world record holder easily won his favourite event - the men's 400 metre individual medley - but later withdrew from the 400 metres freestyle because he felt unwell.

'I woke up not feeling very good. I had a bit of a head cold because the air-conditioning was on high and it was freezing. I felt kind of stuffed up,' said the American, who suffers from asthma.

Dolan was pleased he had improved his time in the 400 metres individual medley by about three seconds from his performance in Beijing last week.

'Hopefully, I will be swimming tomorrow. As long as I am feeling okay, I'll swim the 200 [metres] individual medley and 200 [metres] back,' he said.

Dolan, who won gold in Atlanta in the 400 metres individual medley, was never seriously threatened as he easily won the five-man contest in four minutes and 19.96 seconds - well outside the world mark of 4:04.24 held by Matthew Dunn.

'The last 200 metres of the race, I pushed a bit hard and I could have gone faster had somebody pushed me,' said Dolan.

Hong Kong's Alex Fong Lik-sun finished second behind Dolan in a Hong Kong record although he touched the boards almost three seconds behind the Olympic champion.

Fong, 18, won his third medal in World Cup competition having finished third in Hong Kong last year and second in Beijing last week.

'I'm pleased with my result because we are recovering from the Asian Games and I haven't done much training since Bangkok. I felt more fresh today though,' said the teenager, who clocked 4:22.98, improving the old mark held by Mark Kwok in 4:23.23.

Britain's Michael Cole finished third in the race in 4:25.31, ahead of France's Olivier Saminadin and Hong Kong's Tam Hin-wing.

Costa Rica's Atlanta Games gold medallist Claudia Poll also won her event easily in the women's 800 metres freestyle - but then pulled out of her favourite event.

Poll, who won gold in the 200 metres freestyle in Atlanta, said: 'My coach told me to concentrate on the longer distance events.' Hong Kong's teenage sensation Tsai Hiu-wai broke the Hong Kong record twice in the women's 50 metres backstroke.

Tsai clocked 29.73 in her heat and later shaved two-tenths of a second off that time with a time of 29.53 seconds to finish third in the final.

Meanwhile, Germany's Jens Kruppa and Canada's Kelly Stefanyshyn won two gold medals each in the same two disciplines.

Kruppa won the men's 50 metres and 200 metres breastroke while Stefanyshyn showed her talent by winning the women's 50 and 200 metres breaststroke.