Hong Kong swimming darling Haughey fires Paris Olympic warning as Honda motors past Seto at Hangzhou Asian Games

Gold medalist, Hong Kong's Haughey Siobhan Bernadette, poses on the podium during the medal ceremony of the Women's 100m Freestyle at Asian Games in Hangzhou at the Sports Centre Aquatic Sports Arena in China on Tuesday (Sept 26, 2023). - Reuters

HANGZHOU: Siobhan Haughey shattered her own Asian record to add the Asiad 100m freestyle title to her Olympic and world silver medals Tuesday, as Tomoru Honda stunned an exhausted Daiya Seto in the 400m medley.

Hosts China again bossed the Hangzhou pool, taking four of the six golds on the night including with an Asian record in the men's 4x100m medley relay.

They have now topped the podium in 15 of the 20 races at the halfway mark of the six-day meet.

But the evening belonged to the 25-year-old Haughey, from Hong Kong, as she scorched her way to her second gold of the Games.

She had produced an exceptional swim on Monday to crush the pack by nearly two seconds and take out the 200m title, smashing an Asian Games record that had stood since 2010.

She was fired up again over the shorter distance in blasting a 52.17sec to send a warning to Australian freestylers Mollie O'Callaghan and Emma McKeon, with the Paris Olympics less than a year away.

"I haven't swum a best time since Tokyo (Olympic Games in 2021), but I knew I had the ability of going faster," said Haughey.

"I'm really glad that I could do it here at the Asian Games and break the Asian record. It just proves that I'm not at my peak yet and hopefully I can keep going and keep swimming faster.

"Me and my coach, we're really prepared for Paris, and if I just keep doing what I'm doing right now, I'll be ready," she added.

Haughey's previous Asian record of 52.27 came when second to McKeon at the Tokyo Olympics. Only world champion O'Callaghan has gone faster in 2023.

China's Yang Junxuan and Cheng Yujie came a distant second and third.

Haughey's win dethroned defending champion Rikako Ikee, the standout performer at the last Asian Games, where she won six golds.

The Japanese star had been scheduled to race but failed to start the heats.

Gold medalist Team China celebrates on the podium during the victory ceremony for the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. - APGold medalist Team China celebrates on the podium during the victory ceremony for the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. - AP

- Beyond exhausted -

Like Haughey, Chinese Olympic champion Wang Shun had a double in his sights after an electric 1:54.62 in the 200 medley on Sunday, which made him the third-fastest man in history.

But his hopes of adding the 400m title were dashed by Honda, the Olympic and world 200m butterfly silver medallist.

Japan's three-time world champion and Asiad title-holder Seto made a fast start with Wang challenging.

But Honda paced himself and produced a sizzling final 100m to win a first medley title, touching in 4:11.40 ahead of a fading Seto, who had swum a 4:07.00 this year but had nothing left in the tank. Wang was a distant third.

"This is the first time in my life that I feel beyond exhausted," said Seto. "I cannot even stand right now, I need to lie down now."

World bronze medallist Peng Xuwei clocked 2:07.28 to win the women's 200m backstroke ahead of defending champion and fellow Chinese Liu Yaxin, with South Korea's Lee Eun-ji third.

Li Bingjie, who had already bagged 1500m gold and 200m silver, added the 400m freestyle crown in a new Asian Games record 4:01.96 with teammate Ma Yonghui and Japan's Waka Kobori trailing in her wake.

China's Fei Liwei touched first to win the men's 1500m before their red-hot relay team had the crowd roaring to close the night.

Their formidable 4x100m medley lineup of Qin Haiyang, Xu Jiayu, Wang Changhao and Pan Zhanle powered home in 3:27.01 to lower their own Asian best by two seconds. - AFP

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Asian Games , Swimming , Third Day


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