Sun Yang reasserts his dominance with clean sweep and year’s fastest times at Chinese national championships

The 25-year-old appears back to his best after a disappointing period with five gold medals at national meet

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 April, 2017, 1:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 April, 2017, 10:26pm

Chinese swimming superstar Sun Yang completed a clean sweep of distance golds at the Chinese national championships in Qingdao, Shandong yesterday.

The 25-year-old blew his opponents away in the 1,500-metre freestyle event, in which he is the world record holder, in a time of 15 minutes, 31.02 seconds to take gold by more than four seconds.

The win means that Sun has taken gold in all the freestyle events at this year’s nationals except the 50m.

The Chinese great, a three-time Olympic champion, has struggled to produce his best form since his disappointing showing at the Rio Olympics last summer, where he failed to defend his 400m and 1,500m freestyle titles as he became embroiled in an ugly war of words with Australian rival Mack Horton.

But he was back to his brilliant best as he destroyed the field in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m events in Qingdao.

Sun has even added a new string to his bow with the distance swimmer claiming gold in the 100m last Friday opening the door for another potential medal chance.

Sun shower: tearful Sun Yang accuses conqueror Mack Horton of dirty tricks after Rio loss

Sun, the only male Chinese swimmer with an Olympic title, was quoted by Xinhua last week as saying he will try to reclaim his Olympic titles at the Tokyo Games in 2020 despite rumours about retirement surfacing since his Rio disappointment.

“I talked about my future with my father after Rio Olympics,” Sun said. “The career is so tough and I was thinking maybe I could only hang on for one or two more years. It’s hard for an athlete to keep fighting for a long time and only the strong-minded ones could stand the trial.”