(Asiad) Chinese swimmer Sun Yang throws down gauntlet against Park Tae-hwan
BEIJING, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- China's flamboyant swimming star Sun Yang has publicly thrown down the gauntlet against South Korean Olympic gold medalist Park Tae-hwan at the Asian Games set to start in the South Korean port city of Incheon a week later.
The looming battle between Park, the 2008 Olympic 400m champion, and Sun, who won two gold medals at the 2012 Olympics, is expected to become one of the highlights during the 16-day competition.
In a 15-second TV commercial, Sun told Park in the Chinese language with a somewhat arrogant tone, "Athlete Park, you set a new record at the last Asian Games, but I already broke the record. So, can you challenge my record at the Incheon Asian Games?"
Wearing a swimsuit, Sun also told Park in the Korean language, "Mr. Park, you are great."
The ad was sponsored by 361 Degrees, a Chinese supplier of sports goods, and has been aired by Chinese TV networks, including state broadcaster CCTV, in recent days.
Chinese swimmer Sun Yang (Yonhap file photo)
Although the 23-year-old Sun is China's swimming icon, he drew controversy last year after being jailed for driving his Porsche luxury car without a license. He was suspended from competing by Chinese authorities but was reinstated this March.
Park claimed his first world championship in the 400ｍ freestyle in 2007. Then at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Park made history by taking the gold in the 400ｍ freestyle and added the silver in the 200ｍ freestyle for good measure.
After going through a slump, Park bounced back at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, where he swept up gold medals in the 100ｍ, 200ｍ and 400ｍ freestyle. He became the third swimmer, and the first male, to accomplish the trifecta at the Asiad.
He added two more Olympic medals in 2012 -- silvers in the 200ｍ and 400ｍ freestyle.