Controversial Chinese swimmer Sun Yang beaten again – but this time it’s not in the pool

Outspoken Olympic champion a mere also-ran in selection of Asia’s best swimmers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2016, 3:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2016, 3:02pm

Controversial Chinese swimmer Sun Yang has been beaten again, not in the swimming pool this time but in a popular website’s choice in naming Asia’s swimmers of the year.

In naming the Asia Best Male Swimmer of the Year, website “Swim Swam” picked Rio Olympic Games gold medallist Kosuke Hagino of Japan ahead of Sun, who also captured a gold medal in Rio this summer.

The 22-year-old Japanese came first in the men’s 400-metre individual medley in Rio, bettering his own Asian record. Hagino also won a silver in the sprint medley of 200 metres behind champion Michael Phelps and led off the Japan 4x200m relay team who eventually clinched a bronze.

Sun, the Rio 200m freestyle champion and a silver medallist in the 400-metre freestyle, failed to qualify for the final of the 1,500 metres in which he was the defending champion.

The mainlander earned only one of the four honourable mentions by the website, along with Joseph Schooling of Singapore, Dimitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan and another mainland swimmer, Wang Shun.

The website also named Rie Kaneto of Japan, the 200m breaststrokes champion in Rio, the best Asia female swimmer while mainlander Fu Yuanhui gained an honourable mention along with Natsumi Hoshi of Japan. Fu only finished with a bronze medal in Rio this summer but her animated facial expressions during post-race interviews made her a popular figure in Chinese websites, triggering tens of millions of hits.