OLYMPIC gold medallist Alexandre Popov opened the Epsom World Cup short-course swimming championships at the Kowloon Park pool last weekend with a new world record in the men's 100 metres freestyle event. The 22-year-old Russian, winner of the 50 metres and 100 metres freestyle events at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, clocked 47.83 seconds to win the first final of the 34-event meeting. His time shaved 0.11 of a second off the previous short-course (25-metre pool) world mark set by Brazil's Gustavo Borges six months ago. Popov also picked up a silver medal in the 50 metres freestyle when he was narrowly beaten by Raimundas Majuolis from Lithuania. The two-day meeting attracted a star-studded line-up which included another Russian Olympic champion in Evgueni Sadovyi, and China's Lin Li, gold medallist in the women's 200 metres individual medley in Barcelona. Sadovyi, who won the men's 200 metres and 400 metres freestyle golds at last year's Olympic Games, could only win one gold on his first Hong Kong visit - in the 400 metres freestyle. He finished a rather disappointing third in the 200 metres event behind fellow-Russian Vladimir Pyshenko and Sweden's Anders Holmertz. The Russians dominated the men's division with Vladmir Selkov and Denis Pankratov each winning two events to bring their gold medal tally to seven. Pankratov triumphed in the 100 metres and 200 metres butterfly, while Selkov stamped his authority in backstroke by completing the 100 metres and 200 metres double. The Chinese made their mark in the women's division with an eight-gold haul, but Olympic champion Lin had to settle for only a silver medal, finishing second to Australia's Elli Overton in the 100 metres individual medley. Freestyle sprint specialist Le Jingyi was the star of the mighty Chinese women's team with a three-gold haul - for the 50 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres events. Breaststroke ace Dai Guohong, who stole the limelight at last month's inaugural short-course World Championships in Spain with three golds, won the 100 metres and 200 metres in the Hong Kong meeting.