Park and Sun set to square off at Incheon pool

Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:16am EDT
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By Julian Linden

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - With a deep talent pool overflowing with Olympic and world champions, the swimming competition at the Asian Games is shaping up as the most intriguing event in Incheon.

With the added lure of a classic rivalry involving a home-town hero and a sneak preview of the next wave of stars poised to shine at the Rio Olympics, all the ingredients are there for a mouthwatering competition.

China, who named a 61-member swim squad, is again expected to dominate the medals after scooping up the lion's share of the golds on offer at the last Asian Games but face stiff competition from Japan and South Korea.

Park Tae-hwan, whom the Aquatics Center in Incheon is named after, carries the hopes of the host nation.

The 2008 Olympic gold medalist and two-time 400 meters freestyle world champion won three freestyle gold medals at each of the last two Asian Games.

He is chasing an unprecedented third straight treble but faces a formidable challenge from Chinese sensation Sun Yang in what promises to be the highlight of the six-day swimming competition.

Sun won the 400-1,500m double at the 2012 London Olympics but is adding the 200m to his program for Incheon, setting the stage for a titanic battle with the 24-year-old Park, who is a superstar in Korea and has been dubbed "Marine Boy" by media.

"My goal is to post good records at every race," Park told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.   Continued...

Gold medal winner Park Tae-hwan (R) of South Korea stands with silver medal winner Sun Yang of China during the medal ceremony for the men's 200m freestyle swimming event at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, November 14, 2010.   REUTERS/David Gray