Park Tae Hwan Wins Bronze Medal

kpopluv, Sept. 22, 2014, 9:31 a.m.

In the end it was bronze, a color that Park Tae-hwan is not so familiar with. The pressure to win three consecutive Asiad gold medals in a swimming pool named after him was immense. Park finished third in the men's 200-m freestyle at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center on Sunday with a time of 1:45.85.  Kosuke Hagino of Japan won the race with a time of 1:45.23, and China's Sun Yang came in second with 1:45.28. 

This race was one of the most anticipated events of this year's Asian Games. It was the first match in two years between Park and Sun since they shared a silver medal in the same distance at the 2012 London Olympics. But surprisingly, it was the youngster from Japan that emerged the winner.

Park, who has six gold medals from the previous Asian Games, was the most confident before the 200-m competition. This may have contributed to the organizers' decision to schedule it as the first final of the swimming events. 

Park started the fastest among the eight finalists with a reaction time of 0.64 seconds. He was in the lead until the 50-m mark with 24.57 seconds. Sun surpassed Park by the 100-m mark and was at the top of the pack with 1:18.30 by the 150-m mark. Park was in second place just 0.04 seconds behind Sun. 

Hagino clocked 1:19.23 when he swam past the 150-m mark, and it seemed that the race for gold was between Park and Sun. Hagino swam the last 50 m in just 26.00 seconds, nearly one second faster than Sun's 26.98. Park, whose strength usually lies in the final spurt, had a slow final 50 m with 27.51.

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