BUDAPEST, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese swimming ace Sun Yang failed to defend his 800m freestyle title as he finished fifth at the 17th FINA World Championships here on Wednesday.
"I fought hard throughout the race, but I was unable to kick off the sprinting move, because I was quite tired," said Sun.
The three-time winner was restrained to the third or fourth place after 400 meters, before he found it pretty hard to claw back in his familiar manner, and slid a place further after Norway's Henrik Christiansen.
Sun finally clocked 7 minutes and 48.87 seconds to sit fifth.
"My leg felt quite sore during the last several laps, and I found it hard to make my turnaround move," commented Sun, who already clinched gold medals in 400m and 200m freestyle in Budapest.
"Probably my opponents thought that I might fail on my sprint today, so they just sped up from the start, and I had to follow them. Then after 600 meters, I felt very bad about my move," he added.
Italy's Gabriele Detti made a decisive sprint in the last 50 meters to take away the gold with 7 minutes and 40.77 seconds, a new European record.
Wojciech Wojdak of Poland finished runner-up at 7:41.73. Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri, 1500m freestyle Olympic gold medalist in Rio, was placed third at 7:42.44.
Sun will also compete in 1500m free in the Hungarian capital.