Sun set to sizzle again in Shanghai finale
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Last Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2011, 08:58
  
Shanghai: China's Sun Yang could provide the perfect finale for the host country when he swims in the final of the men's 1500 metres freestyle on Sunday, the last individual men's event of the world swimming championships.

The gangly 19-year-old is tipped to take over from retired Australian Grant Hackett as the world's dominant distance swimmer, and also be the man most likely to break Hackett's 10-year-old world record of 14 minutes, 34.56 seconds for the 1500 freestyle.

Sun, who clocked 14:35.43 at the Asian Games last year, was ruthlessly efficient in his heat on Saturday, destroying Beijing Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli by almost a length of the pool.

China's head coach Yao Zhengjie, however, said he would not put any pressure on Sun to break the record -- all he wanted him to do was win the race.

"I hope he will swim better, there is a possibility of him breaking the world record, but in an important competition like this one, as a coach and as an athlete, we would rather focus on the gold medal," Yao said.

"In his mind, he will be thinking about how to win the race, of course, I would hope he would get the gold medal and break the world record as well."

Sun has already won the men's 800 freestyle in Shanghai and taken silver in the 400 freestyle behind South Korea's Park Tae-hwan. He added a bronze as a member of China's 4x200 freestyle relay team.

American Ryan Lochte, with four golds from these championships, seeks a fifth in the men's 400 IM on Sunday.

The 26-year-old has overshadowed compatriot Michael Phelps in Shanghai and will be more than a challenge for his rival, the most successful Olympian ever, at next year's London Olympics.

American Rebecca Soni also has her opportunity to complete a sweep of gold medals in the women's breaststroke when she lines up in the 50 breaststroke final.

Australia's Stephanie Rice, who has had a torrid three years plagued by injury and inconsistent form since she won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, will line up in the women's 400 individual medley.

Britain's world 50 backstroke champion Liam Tancock will also attempt to defend his title on Sunday.

"It's going to be a tough one but ...I'll go faster," Tancock said after he qualified fastest for the final.

"I'm really pleased. I have improved a lot."

Bureau Report


First Published: Sunday, July 31, 2011, 08:58


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