• Kyodo


Takeshi Matsuda won the men’s 200-meter butterfly at the Asian Games on Saturday with a time that was better than Micheal Phelps’ — at least for 2010.

Matsuda struck his first career Asian Games individual gold medal with the world season-best time of 1 minute, 54.02 seconds, eclipsing the time Phelps had at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships this past August in Irvine, California by 0.09.

Matsuda led a Japanese 1-2 finish ahead of Ryusuke Sakata, who clocked 1:55.23.

“To set a season-best time was one of my goals at these Games, and this is my first title since I made my Asian Games debut eight years ago, so I’m thrilled,” the 26-year-old said.

Matsuda took bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the event won by Phelps, one of the U.S. superstar’s eight titles in the Chinese capital.

“I won’t be satisfied with the time I set here because the new swimsuit rules were implemented only this year and things have just started moving in the world of swimming,” Matsuda said. “I’ll try to come up with the best record next year and the following year.”

Earlier at Aoti Aquatics Centre, Yuya Horihata won the men’s 400-meter individual medley as Japan won two of the day’s six gold medal events. China took the other four, all in women’s action.

Horihata touched the wall in 4:13.35 to edge out China’s Huang Chaosheng by 0.03. Ken Takakuwa was a distant third in 4:16.42.

“I fell behind in the first half of the race but I had a really strong breaststroke leg which put me back into contention,” Horihata said.

“I just had to do my best after the Chinese swimmer got away strongly. I’m the first Japanese winner of a swimming gold medal here (before Matsuda). It’s a good feeling and I believe I have fulfilled my responsibility for my national swimming team.”

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