Swimming: Park 'afraid to look up' after latest failure

Sun Aug 7, 2016 7:32pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - South Korea's top swimmer Park Tae-hwan apologized to his compatriots after bombing out of another race at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.

"I was afraid of looking up at the scoreboard," he told the Yonhap news agency after finishing last in his 200 meters freestyle heat.

"I didn't want to come out of the pool."

Park's presence in Rio has been controversial, the country's first Olympic swimming medalist winning a late battle to compete after appealing against a doping ban.

The 2008 gold medalist in 400m freestyle failed to qualify for the finals in that event on Saturday after clocking the 10th-fastest time.

On Sunday he was 29th overall in the 200m, a time 2.31 seconds slower than Chinese pacesetter Sun Yang, ending his hopes of winning a medal in the distance for the third Games in a row after silvers in 2008 and 2012.

Park completed an 18-month ban imposed by world governing body FINA in March after testing positive for testosterone ahead of the 2014 Asian Games.

Under a controversial Korean Olympic Committee regulation, he was then hit with an additional three-year ban from the national team the day the FINA suspension expired.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Preliminary - Men's 200m Freestyle - Heats - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Park Tae-Hwan (KOR) of South Korea competes.    REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler