China’s swim team wins historic 6th gold at Doha world championships
Published: Feb 17, 2024 10:30 PM
Dong Zhihao Photo: VCG

Dong Zhihao Photo: VCG

During the men's 200-meter breaststroke final at the Doha 2024 World Aquatics Championships on Saturday, 18-year-old Chinese swimmer Dong Zhihao staged a remarkable comeback from sixth place to first with a superb sprint in the last 50 meters. 

After the race, he expressed his desire to ride the "golden wave" with his teammatesas the Chinese swim team now ranks second on the medal table with six golds, two silvers and one bronze.

"I didn't swim well in the 100-meter breaststroke, so I wasn't confident about the 200-meter," Dong told the Xinhua News Agency after the race. "I was also anxious to achieve a good result."

Throughout the race, Dong remained in sixth place for the first 150 meters, but he pulled off a super sprint in the last 50 meters to finish with a time of 2 minutes and 7.94 seconds, securing the gold medal.

"In the semifinals, I tried to adopt a faster pace at the beginning, but I found it difficult to sustain, as it wasn't the rhythm I was familiar with. I prefer to exert more power in the later stages and not push too hard in the beginning," Dong recalled. "This victory was unexpected for me. My goal was to aim for the top three. When I saw the national flag raised during the award ceremony, I was very excit-ed. It all feels very fortunate and wonderful."

"I will continue to work hard when I return, focusing on strengthening myself for both the 200-meter and 100-meter events," Dong said. "I may have a bit of talent, but I used to be somewhat lazy dur-ing training. I will make sure to train properly going forward."

Dong finished fourth in the men's 200-meter breaststroke at the 2023 Fukuoka World Aquatics Championships and set a world youth record.

Currently, the Chinese swim team ranks second on the medal table, surpassing the medal count of the Fukuoka world championships. The 2024 world championships also mark China's most suc-cessful performance in terms of gold medals since 1994.

In the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay final on Saturday, the Chinese team composed of Ji Xinjie, Wang Haoyu, Pan Zhanle and Zhang Zhanshuo clinched the gold medal with a time of 7 minutes and 1.84 seconds. The silver and bronze medals went to the South Korean and US teams, respec-tively.

"At present, the South Korean men's swim team is at the world level. But the Chinese team, which did not send all its main players to this race, still defeated the South Korean team in its heyday. This gave the young members of the Chinese team strong confidence," said sports commentator Liu Ailin.