China’s Pan Zhanle set the 100 metres freestyle world record at the swimming World Championships in Doha on Sunday with a stunning leadoff swim in the 4x100m relay to power his nation to the world title.
Pan clocked 46.80 seconds, eclipsing the previous mark of 46.86 set by David Popovici of Romania, as the opening day of the event finished with a bang.
“Breaking the world record is an honour for me,” said Pan, who powered China to the relay title ahead of runners-up Italy and the United States.
“This is a motivation for both young and old swimmers. I believe I can go faster than today’s time.
“It is truly a magical night.”
Pan’s swim at Doha’s Aspire Dome pool makes him favourite for the individual 100 freestyle title and the gold medal at this year’s Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I’m lucky to have awesome team mates and we did really well today. It’s just the first day and I’ve been feeling very excited,” he added.
“This is just a start... I’ll keep working hard for the Paris Olympics.”
The 19-year-old flirted with record pace at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year.
He became the first Asian swimmer to break the 47 seconds barrier in the event and clocked an incredible 46.65 in a relay leg. A record can only be set in a leadoff leg in a relay.
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