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(Asian Games) Swimmer Park ends Asiad with seven medals

All Headlines 21:04 November 18, 2010

By Yoo Jee-ho

GUANGZHOU, China, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan added two silver medals to his name at the ongoing Asian Games here in southern China, ending his second Asiad campaign with seven medals.

He won silver in the 1,500-meter freestyle race, coming up short in his bid to defend his Asian Games gold from four years ago. Park touched the pad at 15 minutes and 01.72 seconds. China's Sun Yang won the gold at 14:35.43, shattering the Asian record by 10.41 seconds.

Former Asian record holder Zhang Lin of China was further back in third place at 15:22.03.

About 30 minutes later, Park joined teammates Park Seon-kwan, Choi Kyu-woong and Jeong Doo-hee to win silver in the 4x100m medley relay, behind Japan.

China had come in at second place but was later disqualified. That bumped South Korea to second and Kazakhstan ended with the bronze.

Immediately after the 1,500m race, Park blamed fatigue for his slow performance.

"I wanted to at least break my personal best," Park said, referring to the time of 14:55.03 that helped him win gold at the 2006 Doha Asian Games. "But I gave my best. I have no regrets."

He also thanked Sun for providing good competition in Guangzhou. Sun finished runner-up to Park in the 200m and 400m freestyle events.

"Sun is a great swimmer in the 1,500m race and it was an honor to compete against him," Park said.

Park's Australian coach, Michael Bohl, hinted this week that Park may not be fit for distance swimming in the long run and should consider switching his focus to short- to mid-distance events.

But the swimmer himself didn't fully commit to racing in 1,500m event in the future.

"I really don't know what to tell you at this point," Park said.

Also from the pool Thursday, South Korea's Choi Hye-ra swam to bronze in the women's 200m individual medley, behind China's Ye Shi Wen and Wang Qun. Choi Kyu-woong shared the silver medal in the men's 200m breaststroke with China's Xue Rui Peng. They both came in at 2:12.25.

In Guangzhou, Park won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events. He won silver in 1,500m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay and anchored relay squads to bronze medals at the 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x200m freestyle relay.

This is the second straight Asian Games in which Park has won seven medals. At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Park won gold in the 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle events, silver in the 100m freestyle, and bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay.

He is the first male swimmer to win three individual gold medals in back-to-back Asian Games.

With 14 career Asiad medals, Park is also the most decorated South Korean swimmer on the Asian stage.


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