SPORTS

Park Tae-hwan qualifies for 4th straight Asian Games

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jun 27, 2018 - 15:55
  • Updated : Jun 27, 2018 - 15:55
The 2008 Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan will compete in his fourth consecutive Asian Games for South Korea, the sport's national governing body said Wednesday.

The Korea Swimming Federation announced a roster of 31 male and 28 female athletes to represent the country at the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia.

Park, who won the Olympic title in the men's 400-meter freestyle 10 years ago, will be racing in his fourth consecutive Asiad.

(Yonhap)

The 28-year-old made his Asian Games debut as a high school sophomore in 2006 in Doha, Qatar, winning three gold medals in the 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle en route to earning the competition's MVP honors.

Four years later in Guangzhou, China, Park captured gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle races.

At the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea's Incheon, Park competed at an arena bearing his name, but his one silver and five bronze medals got wiped out from the record books after his positive doping test.

After the end of his 18-month doping ban, Park entered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro but failed to make it out of the heats in the 100m, 200m and 400m free. He later withdrew from the 1,500m free.

Park has since bounced back, finishing fourth in the 400m free at the 2017 world championships and narrowly missing his fourth career medal at the biennial competition.

In April this year, Park handily won the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1,500m titles at the national team trials.

The 400m free remains Park's main event. In winning the national team trials two months ago, Park finished his 400m in 3:46.50, the seventh-fastest time in the world this year. Mack Horton of Australia leads all swimmers in 2018 with a time of 3:43.76. Park's personal best time is 3:41.53, set at the 2010 Asian Games.

The KSF hasn't yet finalized events for each swimmer. In addition to his individual races, Park is also expected to enter relays.

On the women's side, two rising stars, An Se-hyeon and Kim Seo-yeong, both made the team.

At last year's world championships, An, 22, set national records in both the 100m and 200m butterfly, and finished fourth in the latter, the highest placement ever by a South Korean woman at a major international competition. This will be An's first Asian Games.

Kim, 24, established a new national record in the 200m individual medley and finished sixth in that event. She was the first South Korean, male or female, to reach an individual medley final at the worlds.

Kim will be at her second Asian Games, after getting shut out of medals in 2014.

Also for the women's team, Back Su-yeon will compete at her fourth consecutive Asian Games. The 26-year-old turned heads by winning bronze in the 100m breaststroke at Doha 2006 while still in middle school, though she hasn't matched that early success since. She finished first in the 200m breaststroke at this year's national team trials. (Yonhap)