At this year’s Hangzhou Asian Games, the friendship between Hwang Sun-woo (20, Gangwon Provincial Office) and China’s ‘divine star’ Fan Zhanle (19) stood out. In the reporter’s mixed zone, they patted each other and felt each other’s warmth.

In the men’s 200m freestyle final at the Asian Games held at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center swimming pool on the 27th, Hwang Sun-woo took the top spot with a new competition record (1 minute 44.40 seconds), and Fan Zhanle, who won the silver medal (1 minute 45.28 seconds), stood by Hwang Sun-woo at the award ceremony. I raised my hand and honored him. About 6,000 fans gathered at the scene cheered for the two Korean and Chinese swimming stars.

Even on his way out after receiving the medal, Van Zhanle showed off his deep friendship with Hwang Sun-woo by taking a commemorative photo with the Korean coaching staff. Hwang Sun-woo also responded after the race, saying, “I am happy to have had a great race with the great Fan Zhanle.”

It is an expression of respect for a good competitor and a partner who will share the swimming stage together in the future. Some say it is reminiscent of the old friendship between Park Tae-hwan and Sun Yang. Park Tae-hwan (34) and Sun Yang (32) competed fiercely in the 2010s, dividing Asian swimming.

The first time Hwang Sun-woo and Fan Zhanle met was two years ago at the 2021 Abu Dhabi (Short Course World Championships) competition. At the time, Hwang Sun-woo won the gold medal in the 200m freestyle, but Fan Zhanle was just appearing on the world stage. At this time, Fan Zhanle did not seem to be a competitor to Hwang Sun-woo.

Hwang Sun-woo, who had no rivals in Asia for a while in the 100m and 200m freestyle, had a strong rival named Fan Zhanle appear in earnest this year.

Fan Zhanle set a new record at 47.22 seconds, 0.34 seconds shorter than the previous Asian record of 47.56 seconds for the 100m freestyle held by Hwang Sun-woo at a domestic competition in China last May. In the 200m freestyle, Fan Zhanle also began to achieve results approaching Hwang Sun-woo’s record.

The two ‘Asian rivals’, Hwang Sun-woo and Fan Zhanle, roared in their respective ‘main events’ at this competition.

In this Asian Games, while Hwang Sun-woo won the 200m freestyle with a new competition record (1 minute 44.40 seconds), Fan Zhanle won the 100m freestyle with a new Asian record (46.97 seconds). It was announced that he had an advantage over Hwang Sun-woo, who won the bronze medal (48.04 seconds) in the 100m freestyle.

Hwang Sun-woo was born in 2003, and Fan Zhanle was born in 2004, so strictly speaking, Hwang Sun-woo is the ‘older brother’. In this competition, Hwang Sun-woo won two gold medals, two silver medals, and two bronze medals, including winning the 200m freestyle and 800m freestyle swimming relay. Pan Zhanle collected three gold medals, three silver medals, and one bronze medal.

Hwang Sun-woo raised his voice about Fan Zhanle, saying, “I am proud that Fan Zhanle is an Asian player,” and “Rather than thinking of him as a competitor, I see him as a close younger brother who will move forward together.”

Fan Zhanle also said, “I have the same thoughts,” and added, “I hope that not only the Chinese and Korean players, but also the Japanese players will achieve good results.” 벳사랑

Meanwhile, Korea and China have clashed in many international multi-sports competitions over various judgment disputes and unsportsmanlike play. Rather than being a place for unity, sports often became a kindling of feelings of hatred toward the opposing country.

The refreshing ‘sportsmanship’ shown by Hwang Sun-woo and Fan Zhanle in this competition has become a symbol of Korea-China sports friendship. Hwang Sun-woo said, “I want to lead Asian swimming with Pan Zhanle,” and added, “I like Pan Zhanle.” Fan Zhanle also did not hide his affection, saying, “Hwang Sun-woo is a good friend.”

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