Budapest, Hungary: Olympic champion Mack Horton set up a showdown with Chinese superstar Sun Yang on Sunday after the Australian squeezed through the heats into the men’s 400M freestyle final at the World Aquatic Championships.
Horton dethroned Sun as Olympic champion over 400M at last year’s Rio Games, branding the Chinese superstar a “drugs cheat” for serving a three-month doping ban in 2014 after taking a stimulant.
The pair will lock horns at the worlds in Budapest, but neither were fastest in the morning heats.
Austria’s Felix Aubock clocked 3:44.19sec with Sun second fastest at 0.36secs behind with Horton fifth fastest, at 1.41 back, of the eight finalists.
“I felt OK in the morning and I took the heats as a warm-up. I’ll try my best in the final, but I didn’t set any goal for the evening,” said Sun.
Horton admitted he had a few nervous moments after finishing third in his heat, but did enough to secure a berth in the final.
“The plan was just to make the final. You usually go for the top two, so when I was third, I was a little bit worried, but it was ok,” admitted Horton.