Source: Xinhua via China Daily
BEIJING – Former world swimming champion Zhang Lin has already accepted the fact that he was ruled out of China’s squad for the London Olympic Games and moved to set his sights on the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
The vice-president of the China Swimming Association, Shang Xiutang confirmed on Sunday that Zhang had been left out of the Chinese Olympic squad as the 2008 Olympic silver medalist and 2009 world champion failed to reach the Olympic A standard in both the men’s 200m and 400m freestyle in a series of trials.
“I had realized that I would have little chance (to go to London) after the National Youth Championships. But I still had some illusions as the roster had not been announced. Now it was confirmed, and I will let it go and move on,” Zhang told Xinhua on Tuesday.
“At first, I was upset because I couldn’t accept that my efforts were not rewarded. But now I am relieved. It is a pity that I cannot compete in London, but I have tried my best,” he added.
Zhang grabbed a silver medal in the 400m freestyle at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, China’s first-ever Olympic medal won by a male swimmer.
A year later, he broke the 800m freestyle world record during the Rome world championships to become China’s first male swimming world champion. Men’s 800m freestyle is not an Olympic event.
But Zhang has been at a low ebb since the 2010 Asian Games where he failed to win gold. He failed to reach the Olympic A standard in neither the National Championships nor the National Youth Championships in April.
Shang said it was a difficult decision to leave Zhang out, as Zhang was such a good swimmer and had won glories for his country.
“It’s a hard decision, and that’s why we took so much time to decide,” said Shang Sunday.
Zhang said he has not thought about retirement. “I have never thought about retiring,” said the 25-year-old. “There are a lot of swimmers older than me. (Michael) Phelps is 27, and (Ryan) Lochte is 28. American Janet Evans who is making a comeback is 40. I am still young, so I have no reason to quit.”
“Although I cannot take part in the London Games, I will try my best to swim in the next Olympic Games four years later. I love swimming and I will not give up,” he added.