Fu Yuanhui misses out on favourite event at Asian Games as fever, dizziness hinder swimming star at All China Champions meet
The popular 22-year-old star of Rio Olympics comes third in 100-metre backstroke at qualifying event in Taiyuan, Shanxi
China’s popular swimming star Fu Yuanhui has managed to qualify for only one individual event at this summer’s Asian Games after missing out on selection for the women’s 100-metre backstroke.
At the All China Champions Meet in Taiyuan, Shanxi, Fu came third in her favourite event, in which she had captured a bronze medal at the Rio Olympic Games two years ago.
The 22-year-old from Zhejiang finished behind champion Chen Jie of Hubei and Wang Xueer of Guangdong in a time of 1 minute, 0.05 seconds – far behind her national record of 58.72 seconds.
“I suffered from a fever today and also felt dizziness, maybe I tried too hard in the 50-metre backstroke the previous night,” said Fu after her race on Monday night.
“There will be a second qualification chance in June but I don’t think I will be taking part. It’s not too bad to just compete in one event in Indonesia. In fact, even the 50-metre victory was a surprise.”
During the Rio Games, Fu became an overnight internet sensation in China because of her adorably awkward media interviews.
On Sunday, she won the 50-metre backstroke with the fastest time of the year in 27.16. However, she also suffered heartbreak in the 200m backstroke, managing just fifth in the heats on Saturday.
Fu caught the media by surprise after the race, saying if she could not do well in the 50m and 100m backstroke, she would need to consider retirement as she had been struggling with a left shoulder injury and had been making little contribution to the national team.
Triple Olympic gold medallist Sun Yang, meanwhile, has been the biggest star of the meet with three gold medals so far including the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle.
Also from Zhejiang, Sun is aiming for a clean sweep of all individual freestyle events as he has also entered the 100m and the 1,500m – the latter of which he is the world record holder in with 14:31.02 set at the London Olympic Games.