It was reported earlier this morning that two-time world champion Sun Yang had opted to withdraw from the men’s 1500 free, failing to show up for his preliminary heat.
The Chinese team has since given a brief statement on Sun’s decision, tweeted by our own Loretta Race.
Chinese team statement on Sun Yang 1500 withdrawal, per Xinhua: pic.twitter.com/Q6xJiN20iZ
— Loretta Race (@RettaRace) July 29, 2017
The statement reads, per Xinhua: “Sun competed in several events with high intensity here during the past days. For the sake of his health and preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Sun has decided to withdraw from the 1500m contest here.”
This move wasn’t a big surprise, as Sun has slowly gravitated away from the mile, and hasn’t done it in an international final since 2013. He had a mysterious no-show at the 2015 Worlds, which stirred up controversy, but he cited a heart condition as the reason, and then he failed to advance to the Olympic final last summer.
Sun was dominant in winning the 400 free on day 1 and the 200 free on day 3, but he didn’t have the gas to last in the men’s 800m final, falling to 5th place in 7:48.87. This looks like it could be the end of Sun in the 800/1500, as the 200/400 appears to be taking over his main focus after such success over the last few years.
Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine (14:44.11) and Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy (14:44.31) were the top two qualifiers out of the heats this morning.