Swimmer, Navy lieutenant Ning praised by military, citizens

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-8-8 17:15:27

The Chinese military congratulated sprinter Ning Zetao for his stunning 100 m freestyle win at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia, praising him as "a model for contemporary armymen."

According to a congratulatory letter sent Friday by the General Political Department of the People Liberation Army (PLA) to the Chinese sports delegation, Ning earned glory for the country and military by "displaying no fear of strong rivals," the PLA Daily reported on Saturday.

Ning, who is a navy lieutenant, took part in the world championships for the first time and showed the spirit of Chinese sportsmen, the letter said, calling on other military athletes to learn from him and make greater contributions to the Chinese dream of national revival and a stronger military.

Ning represented the PLA in domestic games and was selected to serve on the national team.

The 22-year-old stunned the world on Thursday night with a historic win in the blue-ribbon men's 100 m freestyle in 47.84 seconds.

Ning, the first Asian swimmer to have broken the 48-second barrier in the 100 m, ended Western domination and became the first Chinese swimmer to win the event.

The Chinese navy lieutenant saluted the national flag during the medal ceremony. "I showed the world that Chinese men can also win in short distance swimming," he said.

Ning's victory strengthened China's power in the men's pool and the sprint in particular, sports commentators said.

He soon went viral on China's social media with his perfect almond eyes, warm smile and sculpted body.

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