South Korean swimming star Park Tae-hwan failed to win his second gold medal at the World Championships in Shanghai on Tuesday after finishing fourth in the 200-meter freestyle with 1 minute 44:92 seconds.
American swimmer Ryan Lochte clocked 1:44.44 to snatch the gold medal of the event, ahead of his countryman Michael Phelps, who finished second with a 1:44:79, while world record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany came third for the bronze in 1:44.88.
South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan shows his disappointment after finishing forth in the 200 m freestyle at the World Championships in Shanghai on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)
Park’s time was just off his personal record of 1:44.80, and less than a second behind the winner Lochte.
At the previous championships in Rome, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist failed to make it into the finals in any race. But this year, having teamed up with Australian coach Michael Bohl, and finishing strong at the 2010 Asian Games, Park was determined to make up for his disappointing 2009 season.
In his first race on Sunday, Park successfully retained the 400 m freestyle title with a stunning finish.
In the 200 m preliminary heat, Park was comfortably through to the final after finishing fourth overall with a 1:46:23 record.
And in the final, swimming in the sixth lane with the German champions in fifth, the American Lotch and Phelps in third and second respectively, Park started brilliantly with the best reaction time of 0.66 seconds. But he had dropped behind the leaders after 50 m, and was unable to close down the gap.
Despite the result, the 22-year-old freestyle swimmer is now looking to add another gold in the men’s 100 m. The preliminary heat is set for Wednesday, and the final is scheduled on Thursday.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org)