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SIDEBAR Olympic spirit lacking between medallists Horton and Sun

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - There seemed to be a distinct lack of Olympic spirit between men‘s 400-metre freestyle winner Mack Horton and silver medallist Sun Yang on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.

While other swimmers congratulate each other upon touching the wall, the Australian Horton and China‘s Sun barely exchanged glances after the former won a breathtaking race by under two tenths of a second.

The bad blood between the men dates to an incident in the training pool which Horton articulated earlier Saturday - and then didn‘t hold back in explaining his reasons for being dismissive of Sun, a double Olympic champion.

"It kind of got played up in the media a little bit," he said. "He just splashed me to say ‘hi‘ and I ignored him because I don‘t have time or respect for drug cheats.

"He wasn‘t too happy about that so he kept splashing me and I just got in and did my thing."

Horton‘s anger comes from the fact that in addition to Sun‘s two Olympic and seven world championship golds, he is also the holder of a three-month doping ban for testing positive for the stimulant trimetazidine in 2014.

In an Olympics overshadowed by the Russian doping scandal, the 20-year-old Horton‘s comments could have easily been forgotten - had he not been racing in the next lane to Sun in the 400m final just a few hours later.

Any extra pressure he had created did not show as Horton backed up his talk with a brilliant win in 3 minutes 41.55 seconds to claim the biggest victory of his career.

"In another big final, it‘s about touching the wall first and that‘s what I did," he said. "I had my eye on everyone else in the field.

"It hasn‘t really sunk in yet. I have a couple more races this week so I need to relax a little bit and focus on those but it‘s very exciting."

Horton did attempt to play down the animosity between the pair but it probably wasn‘t coincidence that Sun did his lap of honour around the pool several yards behind Horton and bronze medallist Gabriele Detti of Italy.

"I don‘t know if it‘s a rivalry specifically but more about athletes who have tested positive in the sport," Horton said.

And Sun‘s reaction when asked about his relationship to Horton was to the point.

"I don‘t talk to him very much," he said bluntly.

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