Gwangju: Federica Pellegrini defeated a field of younger competitors, minus ailing Katie Ledecky, to win the 200-meter freestyle at the world swimming championships on Wednesday night.
Sun Yang was back in the pool but with none of the rancor from the previous night when he was booed and shunned on the medals podium. The Chinese star with a history of doping failed to medal in the 800 free.
Pellegrini overtook 18-year-old Australian Ariarne Titmus down the stretch to earn her fourth career gold in the event. The 30-year-old Italian touched in 1 minute, 54.22 seconds. "I am too old for this," she said afterward.
Titmus, who stunned Ledecky in winning the 400 free, took silver in 1:54.66. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden earned bronze in 1:54.78. She received oxygen on the pool deck after the race, but appeared for the medal ceremony.
Ledecky hasn't been at the pool since Monday. She withdrew from the 200 free heats and the 1,500 free final on Tuesday with an illness. The American star is being monitored by doctors, but no diagnosis has been disclosed.
Pellegrini joined Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and Sjostrom as the only women to win an event at least four times at worlds. Pellegrini's other golds came in 2009, 2011 and 2017.
Kristof Milak of Hungary won the 200 butterfly, breaking Michael Phelps' 10-year-old world record.
Milak touched in 1:50.73 to lower the mark of 1:51.51 that Phelps set at the 2009 worlds in Rome during the height of the high-tech suit era.
The 19-year-old swimmer became the first teenager to win a world title in the event since Phelps at age 18 in 2003.
"It's an amazing feeling," said Milak, who climbed out of the pool and took two deep bows as the crowd cheered.
Chad le Clos of South Africa was out under world-record pace through the first lap before Milak gained the lead after 150 meters.
Daiya Seto of Japan earned silver in 1:53.86. Le Clos settled for bronze in 1:54.15.
Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 800 free in 7:39.27.
Henrik Christiansen of Denmark earned silver and David Aubry of France took bronze.
Three-time world champion Sun was never a factor and finished sixth. He was cheered by fans from his country as he came on deck and waved to the crowd as he walked off.
There was none of the booing that rained down on him a night earlier when Sun won the 200 freestyle after Danas Rapsys of Lithuania finished first and then got disqualified for a false start.
On the medals podium, Sun was shunned by co-bronze medalist Duncan Scott of Britain. Sun told Scott, "You lose, I win" before they walked off. FINA sent warning letters to both swimmers.
"Both competitors had an inadequate behavior on this occasion, which is not acceptable," FINA said, citing a specific rule in its constitution that the world governing body's executive board had met to tweak shortly after the confrontation.
Sun also was ignored by silver medalist Mack Horton of Australia on the podium after the Chinese star won the 400 free.
Horton and Scott, along with other swimmers, are angry at FINA for allowing Sun to compete in Gwangju ahead of a September hearing before the Court for Arbitration in Sport. Sun faces allegations of clashing with drug testers and destroying samples at his home last year. He faces a lifetime ban if found guilty.
Updated Date: Jul 24, 2019 21:59:05 IST