China take gold, silver in women's 50m backstroke

Chinese leads team to gold and silver in the women's 50m backstroke

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 August, 2013, 4:35am
AFP

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World-record holder Zhao Jing led China to a gold and silver double in the women's 50 metre backstroke final at swimming's world championships with teenage compatriot Fu Yuanhui finishing second. Earlier, her teammate and world record-holder, Liu Zige, took the women's 200 metre butterfly gold.

I let myself down there, so I wanted to come back and prove myself
Zhao Jing

The 22-year-old Zhao, who won the 100 metre backstroke gold at the 2011 world championships, clocked 27.29 seconds in the sprint with 17-year-old Fu at 0.10 back and Japan's Aya Terakawa 0.24 adrift in bronze.

Having finished fifth in the Olympic 100 metre backstroke final, with the 50 metre being a non-Olympic event, Zhao said she had wanted to bounce back from her London 2012 loss.

"I feel very happy to have proved myself and taken the gold medal," she said.

"After the Olympics I had some injury problems and my performance dipped so that is why I think I have proved myself again.

"It has been down to my hard work and dedication.

"The hardest competition is the Olympics and I feel that I let myself down there, so I wanted to come back and prove myself."

Zhao admitted she was some way short of the full fitness which saw her set the world record of 27.06 four years ago at the 2009 Rome world championships.

"I was not in good condition some months ago, I felt it in the heats and semi-finals," admitted Zhao.

"Before the final, my coach gave me confidence and encouragement to get better, I want to thank him."

Teenager Fu said she was delighted as China collected their fourth swimming medal of these world aquatic championships after Sun Yang's freestyle victories in Sunday's 400 metre final and Wednesday's 800 metre final.

"I am very happy to see China get another gold medal," she said. "I made some mistakes, because of my lack of experience, but I will learn.

"I had no experience of such a big competition, so I am happy to get such a result. I have the upmost respect for Zhao Jing and what she has achieved."

Liu was delighted to take the 200 metre butterfly gold after holding off Spain's Mireia Belmonte in a tight final.

Liu, the 2008 Olympic champion in Beijing, clocked 2 minutes 04.59 seconds in Barcelona with Belmonte just 0.19 seconds back and Hungary's Katinka Hosszu in third place.

There was disappointment for Olympic champion Jiao Liuyang of China who finished sixth. Liu led for most of the race and held off the strong challenge of home favourite Belmonte, the Olympic silver medallist, who had briefly threatened to overtake her in the final lap with the crowd roaring her on.

Belmonte attacked Liu's lead in the third length, but the new world champion dug deep in the last 50 metres to claim gold.

"I am delighted to win. I had some injury problems this year and to come back from them like this is great," beamed the 24-year-old who completed the set after silver at the 2009 world championships and bronze two years ago in Shanghai.

Liu said she will take a break from training now to give her body a chance to recover.

"At the end of every big competition I have some muscular problems so I had to take time off to see a specialist before I can go back into my training programme," she said.