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Sun Yang: Chinese team needs more encouragment, less focus on personal grudges

By Zhang Tianrui (People's Daily Online)    15:45, August 09, 2016
Sun Yang: Chinese team needs more encouragment, less focus on personal grudges
Sun Yang won the champion of 200-meter freestyle event. Photo: Qi Heng for Xihua

On Aug. 8, Chinese champion Sun Yang won the 200-meter freestyle event at the Rio Olympic Games with a time of 1 minute and 44.65 seconds. Four years ago, at the London Olympics, Sun won second place in the same event.

However, immediately after emerging from this hard-won battle, Sun was faced with another sort of war: media interviews. When asked about calling himself the "king of 1,500-meter freestyle" in a previous interview, and when pressed for a statement on his tiff with Mack Horton, Sun did not appear pleased. "In competitions we focus only on ourselves and the Chinese swimming team," Sun replied. However, Sun did express sympathy for Kosuke Hagino, a Japanese swimmer and key competitor who had just failed in the 200-meter freestyle.

During the upcoming 1,500-meter freestyle competition, Sun will once again go head-to-head with Horton. Asked whether Sun is confident that he will win, he offered a polite evasion: "My playing and training conditions are both strong, and what I have to do is just worry about myself. Please focus less on petty details of the competitions, such as rivalries between the teams. Instead, focus on Chinese and Asian swimming, and try to encourage the swimmers."

Sun, who won gold in the 400m freestyle and 1500m freestyle at the London 2012 Olympics, served a three-month ban in 2014 after using a banned substance which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency drug list in 2014.

The 24-year-old said he unwittingly took the drug as part of treatment for a chronic heart problem.

After winning the 400m freestyle gold medal race here on Saturday, Horton said: "I used the words drug cheat because he tested positive. He's one of the athletes here who has tested positive."

Previously in practice, Horton said he ignored Sun who tried to greet him and said "I don't have time or respect for drug cheats."

The Australian's comments prompted a heated response on social media, where many Chinese fans described the remarks as unjustified.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Zhang Tianrui,Bianji)

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