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Park Tae-hwan leaves for U.S., aims for medal in Rio

All News 16:05 July 17, 2016

INCHEON, July 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan on Sunday said he aims to return from the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics with a medal.

Speaking to reporters at Incheon International Airport earlier in the day, the 27-year-old former Olympic champion said he wants to come back home with a smile on his face and stressed he will do his utmost to get ready for the games in the time he has left.

"Every day I think of winning an Olympic medal," he said. He made the remarks as he got ready to board a plane for Florida, where he will train before heading to Brazil late this month.

If Park were to win a medal in Rio, it would be his third straight Olympics to have done so. He won South Korea's first gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver in the 200m event. This was followed by a silver medal each in the 400m and 200m races in the 2012 London games.

Park and his trainers will be in Orlando for about two week so he can get ready for the preeminent sporting event.

On what kind of medal he was aiming for, the swimmer, who only secured his berth for Rio on July 8 after a favorable ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), said he is trying not to become overly tense because doing so could hurt his performance.

"Having trained hard, I would like to win a medal, yet what is more important is for all the hard work I put into swimming to bear fruit," he emphasized.

Park had been suspended from competing for 18 months after he failed a doping test, but even after he served his time, he was barred from competing because of the Korean Olympic Committee's separate ban imposed on those caught for doping. The CAS' decision effectively lifted the restrictions imposed by the local Olympic body, which put Park on the list of swimmers representing South Korea at Rio.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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