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Records tumble in short-course swimming programme at AIMAG


25 Sep 2017
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 25, 2017: Two dozen records were beaten or equalled during the four-day short-course swimming programme at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Competing in front of packed spectator stands each night at the state-of-the-art Aquatics Centre at Ashgabat’s Olympic Complex, swimmers from across the region responded by re-writing the record books.

In total, 23 AIMAG records were broken and one more was equalled during the competition. Of the 30 different swimming events, new records were set in 19 of them, with some having events seeing their records multiple times.

There were another five records set on the last night competition on Monday, including two from China, which finished as the most successful nation with a total of 29 medals, made up of 11 gold, 13 silver and 5 bronze medals.

Seven teams won at least one gold medal in the pool with Korea finishing second on the final medals table with 5 golds and 13 medals in total, followed by Hong Kong (4 gold, 14 total), Chinese Taipei (3 gold, 6 total), Kazakhstan (3 gold, 6 total), Thailand (2 gold, 9 total) and Vietnam (2 gold, 6 total). Uzbekistan (6 total) and India (1 total) also won medals, making nine teams in total reaching the podium.

The most successful individual swimmer was China’s Sun Meichen, who won four gold and three silver medals. The 18-year-old capped her busy schedule by breaking the AIMAG record to win the women’s 100 metres freestyle in 53.31 seconds on Monday, then returned to the water less than an hour later to help China win a silver in the 4x100m medley relay.

"I feel very honoured to get a gold medal and break a record for my country," she said. “I have really enjoyed competing at Ashgabat 2017. The facilities and the crowds have been amazing.” Wang Peng and Wang Lizhou, teammates in China’s men’s relay, both finished with three gold medals each while Hong Kong backstroker Stephanie Au, Hong Kong butterflyer Chan Kin Lock, Chinese Taipei freestyler.

An Ting-yao and Korean backstroker Jeong Dongwon also won three golds each. A further eight swimmers won two golds each. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came here, but I am very happy with my results,” said Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, won completed the women’s 100m-200m individual medley double.

Thailand’s Jenjira Srisa-Ard, also a dua gold medal winner, said her success in Turkmenistan capital would help in the future. “I have been training for Ashgabat 2017 for eight months and all those efforts finally paid off. This is my best show at an Asian event," she said. “I am now more confident about big events. Even though Asian Games competitions will be held in a long course pool, my confidence has now grown manifold.”

There were countless swimmers from developing swimming nations that did not win medals but said they benefitted greatly from competing at such a high level and were able to set national records and set personal best times.

“It’s my first time ever being at the Indoor and Martial Arts Games. I think it’s great,”  said Marshall Islands swimmer Colleen Furgeson. " I likes this more than (2016) Rio (Olympics) just because I felt more welcomed here. In Rio it wasn’t like that. I love these Games, it's been a great experience.”
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