China's Sun Yang celebrates after winning the men's 200m freestyle final at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju. Photo: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo

GWANGJU  Sun Yang of China defended his title in the 200-metre freestyle at the 2019 swimming world championships on Tuesday but only after Danas Rapsys of Lithuania was disqualified from the race.

Rapsys had a great finish and touched the wall first in Gwangju, South Korea, but he was disqualified for a false start. That allowed Sun to take the title with a winning time of 1:44.93 minutes.

The 2016 Olympic gold medallist Sun, who finished second at the worlds in 2015, added a second title in South Korea after winning the 400-metre freestyle gold on Sunday.

The silver medal went to Japan's Katsuhiro Matsumoto, who was 0.29 seconds behind; while Martin Malyutin of Russia and Duncan Scott of Britain both finished 0.70 seconds adrift to share the bronze.

In the women's 1500-metre freestyle, Simona Quadarella of Italy eased to her first world title in the discipline in the absence of three-time reigning world champion Katie Ledecky.

The 2018 European champion Quadarella, who took worlds bronze in 2017, won in 15:40.79 minutes. Sarah Koehler of Germany was second and 17-year-old Chinese Wang Jianjiahe took bronze.

The path was cleared for the 20-year-old Quadarella after Ledecky withdrew from the final. Having already posted the fastest 1500m freestyle qualifying time, the American also pulled out of the 200m freestyle heats earlier Tuesday due to an illness.

The other finals taking place later Tuesday were in the women's 100m backstroke, 100m men's backstroke and women's 100m breaststroke.