Chinese swimmer Ning Zetao claims historic win at world championships
China’s Ning Zetao took home a historic win at the World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia on Thursday, grabbing gold in the men’s 100-meter freestyle in 47.84 seconds.
This is the first time that an Asian swimmer has broken the 48-second barrier in the event, and the first time a Chinese has won the event.
22-year-old Ning, a lieutenant in the Chinese navy, did a smart military salute to the national flag during the medal ceremony. “Winning the gold is like a dream,” said Ning, “I made it. And I showed the world that Chinese men can also win in short distance swimming.”
China has already made some breakthroughs in long distance swimming. At the 2009 Rome World Championships, Zhang Lin claimed China’s first world gold by breaking the record in the men’s 800m freestyle. At the 2012 London Games, Sun Yang won China’s first Olympic gold in men’s swimming.
Ning’s victory is being compared by thrilled Chinese net users to Liu Xiang’s winning in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2004 Athens Olympics, which was also a significant breakthrough in Chinese sports history.
Of course, the netizens didn’t forget to praise Ning using their favorite online catch phrases:
“He can obviously depend on his looks, but no, he chooses to make his way with his ability,” remarked @Xingzoudepangyatou
“My mom asked me why I had to kneel in front of our TV. [Heart] [Heart] [Heart] [Heart] ” commented @_Fanersai, implying that he was totally overwhelmed by Ning’s performance.
“No one in this world looks better than Ning, topless.” @yyangguangchuantoulexin
In Thursday night’s tough final, Australian swimmer Cameron McEvoy became runner-up with 47.95, and Argentina’s Federico Grabich took the bronze at 48.12.
RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Kazan : France’s duet Benoit Beaufils and Virginie
Dedieu competes in the Mixed duet Free preliminary event during the
synchronised swimming competition at the 2015 FINA World Championships
in Kazan on July 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON