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Chinese swimming star beats Australian rival amid doping slanders

(People's Daily Online)    15:48, July 24, 2017

China's Sun Yang celebrates after the men's 400m free style final of swimming at the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on July 23, 2017. Sun Yang won the gold medal with 3 minutes and 41.38 seconds. (Xinhua/Ding Xu)

Chinese athlete Sun Yang mopped the floor with rival Mack Horton during the world swimming championships in Budapest on July 23, after Horton called him a “drug cheat” ahead of the competition.

The 25-year-old Chinese swimmer, who has been bogged down in doping scandals claimed by his Australian rival, won the men’s 400m freestyle world championship title three times in a row, bettering his 2017 best of 3:42.16. Sun dominated the race to finish more than two body lengths ahead of Horton, claiming his eighth gold of the world championships.

“I didn’t realize I’d win in such a dominant fashion,” said Sun during an interview with Xinhua News Agency. “They didn’t do badly. I just swam better.”

Sun’s clean sweep comes on the heel of Horton’s recent accusation of him taking drugs. Horton took a swipe at Sun upon his arrival at the world championship on Sunday, mocking the latter as an unqualified rival for him.

“I don’t know if it is a rivalry…I think it is a rivalry between clean athletes and athletes who have tested positive,” said Horton.

This is not the first time that the Australian swimmer has taken a dig at his Chinese counterparts. Horton caused a sensation at the Rio Olympic Games after he slammed Sun as a “drug cheat.” This led foreign media outlets to dub the 400m freestyle medal race as “the second war on water.”

Horton’s accusation has angered the Chinese public, who have criticized him of being less capable than Sun. Some fans have even initiated a campaign demanding he apologize for his “groundless accusation.”

Chinese fans’ aversion to Horton has even affected innocent netizens. A British Twitter user whose name is also Mack Horton posted a tweet for Chinese fans explaining that he is not “the Australian swimmer who said something about a Chinese swimmer.”

Compared to his furious fans, Sun remains calm and quiet. After his decisive win, Sun kindly shook hands with Horton, a noble gesture that has garnered 1.2 million page views on Sina Weibo as of press time.

“Sun’s achievements are louder than words. His attitude is a fine example for us when dealing with groundless accusations against China and the Chinese people; after all, a clean hand wants no washing,” wrote a netizen. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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