Swimmer Park Tae-hwan soon to discuss future plans with Australian coach
Korean swimming star Park Tae-hwan said Wednesday he will soon travel to Australia to discuss his future plans with his coach there.
In a meeting with reporters in Seoul, Park said he will meet with Australian coach Michael Bohl next Tuesday. He added he will fly out to Brisbane on Monday and return on Thursday.
"We will talk about my training schedules and regimen," the 23-year-old said. "I want to catch up and just listen to what he has to say about my future training."
This will be the first meeting between the two since the end of the London Olympics, where Park won silver medals in 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle events. He previously won a gold and a silver at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
In late September, Park was let go by his management agency, SK Telecom, after their five-year deal expired. Park's deal with Bohl also ended after the London Games.
Bohl, who has worked with Australian stars such as Stephanie Rice, has reportedly been approached by Chinese swimmers. Sources close to Park said Bohl will not make up his mind until he hears Park's plans first.
The swimmer on Wednesday reaffirmed his intention to compete at the 2014 Asian Games in Korea's Incheon.
"Since the Asiad will be in our home country, I'd like to help make it a successful event," Park said. "The Incheon Asian Games influenced my decision to resume my training."
Asked about the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Park said he will take his time.
"I will still have two more years after the Asian Games," he said. "It still won't be too late if I start thinking about the 2016 Olympics then."
Retaining Bohl's guidance will be critical for Park's future. The Australian coach is largely credited with turning around the swimmer's career.
Park first made an international splash by winning the men's 400ｍ freestyle at the 2007 world championships. A year later, he captured gold in the 400ｍ and silver in 200ｍ freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was humiliated at the 2009 world championships, however, as he failed to make the finals in all three of the races he entered.
Park then recruited Bohl's help in January 2010 and their work paid dividends later that year with Park's three Asian Games gold medals and seven total medals in Guangzhou.
In 2011, Park won his second world title in 400ｍ free, and added two more Olympic medals in 2012.
One of the country's most recognizable athletes, Park remains the only South Korean with Olympic swimming medals. (Yonhap)