China’s Ning Zetao surprises rivals with 100m freestyle gold at world championships
The 22-year-old – who failed a dope test in 2011 – wins his first world title, beating Australian Cameron McEvoy, who had been fastest in the heats and semi-finals
China’s Ning Zetao was the shock winner of the men’s 100m freestyle gold at the world swimming championships on Thursday as Australia’s Cameron McEvoy had to settle for silver.
Ning touched the wall in 47.84 seconds as McEvoy, who had been fastest in the heats and semi-finals, finished second at 0.11 with Argentina’s Federico Grabich earning bronze at 0.28 in the Kazan Arena.
Olympic champion Nathan Adrian of the United States finished seventh at 0.47 back.
Ning was banned for a year after failing a doping test in March 2011 for taking the performance-enhancing drug Clenbuterol, but the Chinese was delighted with his first world title.
“So far I don’t understand what is going on, I can’t describe my feelings,” said the 22-year-old, who saluted his country’s flag during the medal ceremony.
“Before the race, I didn’t even think about a medal, I just wanted to show my best.
“Just getting to the final was a big achievement, but it’s too early to think about Rio,” he added when asked about next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He has won his first world title having picked up gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle at last year’s Asian Games.
McEvoy was delighted with his first individual medal at a world championships, having won a 4x100m freestyle relay silver in 2013.
“It’s exciting, it puts me in a good position to be in for the year to come,” said the 21-year-old after compatriot James Magnussen, the 2013 world champion, was ruled out of Kazan with a shoulder injury.
“I can’t be disappointed with the placing, it’s the best I ever had, a world silver medal.
“Thinking back a couple of years ago it was out of reach for me so to be in this position now especially with a year to go, it’s exciting.”