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Wu's Historic Swim Victory
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China's new swimming success, Wu Peng, secured an historic victory in the 200-metre butterfly at the World Short-course Championships yesterday.

The 19-year-old from Hangzhou of east China's Zhejiang Province clocked 1 minute 52.36 seconds, a championship record, beating Moss Burmester of New Zealand and Nikolay Skvortsov of Russia into second and third place.

His gold was one of three won by the host team and one of five medals from the five-day event.

It was only the second time ever that Chinese men have triumphed in a swimming tournament since Wang Yiwu's 200m breaststroke victory 11 years ago during in 1995 in Brazil.

Wu's victory was all the more impressive because will power was used to help him overcome a toe bone fracture which happened just before the race.

"We have definitely proved ourselves on the international stage," said a delighted Wu.

"It's not only me as my teammate Zhang Lin can also do it," added Wu, pointing to the swimmer who took a bronze in the men's 1,500m freestyle. Yury Prilukov of Russia won the arduous event in a championship record time of 14:23.92, followed by Park Tae-hwan of South Korea.

"I think Asian swimmers have a better chance in long-distance swims compared with European and American athletes," said Wu who wads a bronze medal winner in the event at the last tournament held two years ago in Indianapolis.

Wu, with Zhang and backstroke star Ouyang Kunpeng who settled for fourth place in the 200m last night, are seen as China's medal hopes for the men's team at the Beijing 2008 Games.

Chinese swimmers delighted the local crowd last night with gold medals from Qi Hui (women's 200m breaststroke) and Yang Yu (women's 200m freestyle). Qi also won gold in the 200m and 400m individual medley.

China finished with a recordĀ five gold, one silver and six bronze medals to rank third in the medal table.

(China Daily April 10, 2006)

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