SPORTS

Park Tae-hwan grabs 3rd gold at short course worlds

By 임정요
  • Published : Dec 12, 2016 - 13:03
  • Updated : Dec 12, 2016 - 13:03

South Korean swimming icon Park Tae-hwan has grabbed his third gold medal at the world's top short course competition.

He won the men's 1,500-meter freestyle at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada, on Sunday (local time), with a record time of 14 minutes, 15.51 seconds.

The 2008 Olympic gold medalist broke the meet record, held by Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy since 2014, by 0.59 second. Park also surpassed the Asian record of 14:22.47, set by Zhang Lin of China in Japan in 2009.

Park already won gold in the 200m and 400m freestyle at Windsor.

The short course worlds takes place in 25m pools, half the length of Olympic-sized pools and other international competitions.

Park is making his first appearance at the 25m worlds since April 2006 in Shanghai, and the first at any short course meet since November 2007.

Paltrinieri finished second to Park at 14:21.94, followed by Wojciech Wojdak of Poland at 14:25.37.

Park was second in the heats, and was assigned the fifth lane in the final. He and Paltrinieri competed closely, but Park never gave up the lead after 800 meters.

Park, who won the 2008 Olympic gold in the 400m free, competed in the 100m freestyle about 15 minutes after completing his 1,500m race, but settled for seventh place with a time of 47.09 seconds.

Simonas Bilis of Lithuania won the gold medal at 46.58, edging out Shinri Shioura of Japan by 0.01 second. Tommaso D'Orsogna of Australia was third at 46.70.

The short course worlds is Park's final meet of 2016. He is ending a roller coaster year on a high note.

The 27-year-old served an 18-month doping ban that ended in March. He then challenged the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) at an international court for the right to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in August.

Park was granted his wish barely a month before the Olympics, but had disastrous performances in Rio, where he failed to make it out of the heats in the 100m, 200m and 400m free. Park withdrew from the 1,500m at the last minute.

Park, however, bounced back to capture four gold medals at the Asian Swimming Championships in Tokyo last month. (Yonhap)