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China's double Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang is proving so popular that swimming organizers have been forced to enforce tough media restrictions when he appeared at a domestic sporting event.
Sun Yang, center, walks past a crowd of media and fans after winning a gold medal at the 200m freestyle at the 9th University Games of China in Tianjin, on Sept 12. [Photo/Xinhua]
The Chinese swimming star has been besieged by fans and journalists since he claimed gold in both the men's 400m and 1,500m freestyle at the London Games.
But the 20-year-old was fenced off from most media interviews by organizers during the ongoing 9th National University Games in Tianjin.
The swimming competition, which is held in natatorium of the Tianjin Polytechnic University, imposed tough restrictions on press wanting to cover Sun's events.
Only media with a registered press card, valid ticket and an official letter from the organizing committee for each individual competition were allowed in the press area.
The move restricted the number of media covering the event to six people, according to one staff member.
Another administrator claimed the regulation was to ensure the competition ran smoothly.
However, most media covering the event questioned the ruling, arguing even international competitions don't create such stringent regulations.
Security in Tianjin Polytechnic University has been strengthened and most interview requests were denied.
As the biggest star at the college students' games, Sun created a storm when he arrived in the city on Sunday night.
A website claimed his mother was rude to photographers who wanted to picture him after a training session on Tuesday. He said nothing to reporters after training and left the venue as quickly as possible with his mother.
But the frenzy didn't dampen Sun's winning streak as he went on to win gold in the 200m freestyle with 1:47:15 for Zhejiang province.
The world and Olympic champion will compete in five preliminaries and six finals during the Tianjin games, which run from Sept 8-18.
Sun Yang reacts after winning a gold medal at the 200m freestyle at the 9th University Games of China in Tianjin, on Sept 12, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]