KAZAN, Russia (AFP) - Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri won the world 1,500m freestyle title on Sunday after China's world record holder Sun Yang was a shock withdrawal from the final.
Paltrinieri clocked 14min 39.67sec to claim gold with Connor Jaeger of the United States taking silver at 1.53sec, while Canada's Ryan Cochrane was third at 11.41.
The biggest shock of the night came with the swimmers still on the blocks as Sun failed to show up, leaving the third lane empty without the event's world record holder, Olympic and world champion.
Chinese officials were unavailable to explain why 23-year-old long-distance expert was absent after he had already retained his 400 and 800m freestyle world golds.
Sun was only the third fastest into the final from Saturday morning's heats behind Paltrinieri's quickest time.