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Chinese swimmer Ning Zetao: "I've tried my best despite failing to reach final"
   2016-08-10 21:42:21    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Huang Yue

Chinese competitive swimmer Ning Zetao has failed to reach the final of the men's 100m freestyle at the Rio Olympic Games, managing sixth place in his semifinals, and placing 12th overall.

In an interview after the competition, Ning said he had tried his best and performed to his usual level.

"I'm really happy and satisfied. It is not easy, every step of the way. I'm very proud to be here at the Olympic Games," Ning said.

- Eye candy for fans -

Born in 1993, the 23-year-old swimmer has become a heartthrob for thousands of fans, due to his handsome appearance and incredible physique.

Ning Zetao's personal weibo account has nearly six million followers [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]


- Rio Games results -

Ning clocked 48.37 seconds in the semifinals of the men's 100m freestyle, ranking in sixth place in his semifinals.

Previously in the heats, he ranked 14th with a time of 48.57 seconds.

Early on August 8, Ning and his teammates He Jianbin, Lin Yongqing and Yu Hexin clocked 3:15:06 in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay heats. However, the result was declared null and void, because the second swimmer in the team jumped too soon and went before the first swimmer had finished his lap.

- Rise to Fame -

Ning Zetao cut a striking figure at the 17th Incheon Asian Games in 2014, when he broke the record in the final of the men's 100m freestyle with a result of 47.70 seconds, a result which also made him the first Asian swimmer to break the 48-second barrier.

In the Chinese National Swimming Championships held in October 2014, Ning continued his dominance in freestyle sprints. He broke his previous Incheon Asian record of 47.70 in the 100m freestyle with a result of 47.65 seconds.

Ning shot to fame after winning the gold medal in the 16th FINA World Aquatics Championships in 2015. In the 100m freestyle, he won first place with a result of 47.84 seconds, marking a milestone achievement in Chinese swimming, as prior to Ning's victory, no Asian swimmer had ever advanced to the final or won medals in this event at the FINA world championships.

- Disputes -

As well as achieving acclaim, the Chinese swimmer has been a source of controversy.

Before the Rio Games, rumors swirled that Ning Zetao had been disqualified from the Rio Games over commercial disputes with China's national governing body of swimming.

But he later appeared in national uniform at a ceremony held in Beijing to introduce the Chinese Olympic delegation, quashing such rumors and declaring his Olympic spot.


It is Ning's first time competing at the Olympic Games, and many Chinese netizens have voiced their tolerance and respect towards the young swimmer, and passed on their blessings despite his 'failure' to reach the final. Some have even criticized the media's misnomer, "yao zhe" (which means someone dies young) used in some reports to describe his performance.

Ning has stayed mentally strong.

In an interview after the 100m freestyle heats, a reporter offered Ning a way out to avoid embarrassment, asking the swimmer if he wasn't feeling well, but Ning was frank and denied the possible 'excuses' the reporter offered. Ning replied that he felt fine and had tried his best.

Ning even joked about the mysterious "green" diving pool at the Olympics in a later post on his Weibo account and wrote, "The real strong heart is a clear conscience."

His Weibo biography says, "Keep focused and don't slow down because of regret. Smile, forgive, forget, and then move on."

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