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World champion Xu Jiayu takes 3rd backstroke gold in Jakarta Asiad

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-08-24 10:19
China's Xu Jiayu competes during the men's 200m backstroke at the 2018 Asian Games August 23, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

JAKARTA, Aug - Turning three silvers from Incheon to a trio of golds in Jakarta, world champion Xu Jiayu of China savored his sweet victories as the backstroke specialist added 200m title to his collection at the 2018 Asian Games here on Thursday.

Xu, the reigning world champion in 100m, collected both 50m and 100m during the first four days at the Games, surged ahead from the beginning and met little challenge in the 200m, winning in a personal best of one minute 53.99 seconds, which could place No. 3 in the world of the year.

"My plan was to swim as fast as I could in the first 100m and set my own pace. I am getting more experienced than I was four years ago. I am confident that I can break the long-time Japan's dominance of the backstroke," said Xu, who finished as runner-up three times in all the individual backstrokes.

"I has been competing from the first day until now, the fifth day, and I felt tired but I realized my dream step by step, closer and closer. My goal coming to the Games was to try to win five gold medals. I believe in myself that I can fight until the last event, the men's medley relay tomorrow."

This time, Japanese veteran Irie Ryosuke, the defending champion in 50, 100, 200, had to accept three silvers as he clocked 1:55.11 in the 200m, and Sunama Keita was third in 1:55.54.

Xu, also a member of the winning 4X100m mixed medley relay team, took the Asian Games as a springboard to the Tokyo Olympic Games. "So far I have won four gold medals, but my goal is the Tokyo Olympics," Xu said.

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