Five athletes who could light up the Asian Games swimming competition, which begins on Sunday in Jakarta:

Sun Yang (China) 

China’s Sun Yang celebrates on the podium after the men’s 200m freestyle final during the swimming competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, on July 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

The beefy Chinese has won three Olympic freestyle gold medals and is almost unstoppable when he’s in the mood. Tough as nails, Sun bounced back from losing his Olympic 400m title in Rio two years ago with an emotional victory in the 200m free after being accused by rivals of being a “drug cheat”. Few would bet against him scooping a fistful of gold in Jakarta.

Kosuke Hagino (Japan) 

Japan’s swimmer Kosuke Hagino attends a training session at the Aquatics center during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 16, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Martin BUREAU

A man on a mission after American Chase Kalisz’s recent rise, the Japanese is another who captured gold in Rio, winning the men’s 400m individual medley and taking silver behind Michael Phelps in the 200m IM despite struggling with an elbow injury. Hagino will be favourite to do the medley double for the second successive Asian Games and restore dented confidence.

Rikako Ikee (Japan)

Japan’s swimmer Rikako Ikee competes during the 100m butterfly women final of the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 2018 in Tokyo, on August 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Martin BUREAU

With her ultra-bright smile and tendency to sob tears of joy after winning races, Ikee is her country’s new darling of the pool. The 18-year-old Tokyo Olympic hope melted hearts when she snatched Pan Pacific gold in the 100m butterfly earlier this month. Ikee will be buzzing after also taking silver in the 200m freestyle and is poised for a big week in Jakarta.

Joseph Schooling (Singapore)

Singapore’s Joseph Schooling gestures after winning the men’s swimming 100m butterfly final event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at the National Aquatics centre in Kuala Lumpur on August 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Manan VATSYAYANA

After bursting onto the scene by winning gold in the 100m butterfly at the last Asian Games in 2014, Schooling stunned Phelps in the 100m fly at the Rio Olympics in the great American’s final individual race before retiring. His form has dipped since but his bronze medal at last year’s world championship will have acted as a wake-up call for Singapore’s most famous athlete.

Dmitriy Balandin (Kazakhstan)

Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin bites his gold medal on the podium after he won in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Odd Andersen

Following a breakout breaststroke treble at the 2014 Asian Games, Balandin became Kazakhstan’s first-ever Olympic swimming champion when he won gold in the 200m two years ago. However, he has suffered a hefty Rio hangover and the 23-year-old Almaty native will need to rediscover his mojo to hold off Japanese pair Yasuhiro Koseki and Ippei Watanabe in Jakarta.

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