Huangshan (China), Sep 11 (IANS) It looks like the past trouble-maker, Olympic and world champion swimmer Sun Yang, is getting mature.
Normally, in the second national championships of the year, swimmers generally perform less impressive than in the one in April. Especially this year, many stars just returned from Kazan World Championships in August and came here in fatigue, reports Xinhua.
Sun, however, carried on his stunning form from Kazan to win three gold medals at the national meet, winning the 400 metres freestyle in three minutes 42.70 seconds, a time good enough to take the world title.
The Kazan 400 metres and 800 metres free winner said he was trying to keep his form.
“It’s like a highly competitive training session for me. If I relaxed too much after the worlds, I would have lost all the fruit from my training in the first half of the year. So I just kept working hard,” said the 24-year-old.
“I am very tired but happy with the result. After the national meet, I will go home to rest for some days. I want to be a role model for younger swimmers.”
Being the leading figure in Chinese swimming, Sun could hardly be regarded as a model athlete before apart from his unprecedented feat in the pool — becoming the first Chinese male Olympic champion in swimming in 2012 London Games and his domination in long distance since 2011.
In total, Sun brought home two gold, one silver and one bronze from London, but great glory was followed by a series of negative news which hurt Sun’s reputation badly.
His fallout with long-time mentor Zhu Zhigen caused by Sun’s relationship with an air stewardess disturbed his training.
Then there was a seven-day detention for driving without a license in 2013 before his three-month doping ban for accidentally taking banned drugs to treat chronic heart problem, which even forced him out of the 1500 metres free title defence in Kazan.
Setbacks made Sun grow as he decided to put all his troubles behind him and enjoy competition.
“I long for competition, to swim against the best of the best. Only in this way I can grow better and reach higher goals,” he said.