By Kim Han-joo
INCHEON, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan said Tuesday that he feels psychologically drained after finishing third in the men's 400ｍ freestyle at the Asian Games Tuesday.
Park grabbed the bronze after finishing the race in 3:48.33, falling behind Sun Yang of China and Kosuke Hagino of Japan. Park came up short of winning his third straight Asian Games gold in this distance.
"It has been psychologically difficult although I have been physically fine. I think I have started getting tired since 200ｍ (freestyle)," said Park, a 24-year-old local icon who carries the expectations of a nation on his shoulders.
The apologetic Park further admitted that he felt extra exhausted for receiving so much attention from the home crowd.
"No matter how hard I tried, it was quite difficult mentally," Park said, occasionally putting on a smile. "It's something I should have overcome, but I wasn't able to do it."
Park, whose every move attracts the attention of the local media, which gave him the nickname "Marine Boy," also said there was too much attention from media both from home and abroad.
"There were times when I could not concentrate as the media paid too much attention since the Asiad is being held here in the Republic of Korea (South Korea)," Park added.
Park, whose next individual race will be the 100ｍ freestyle on Thursday, said he will put forth his best efforts at remaining events at Incheon.
This was Park's third bronze of the Asiad and second in individual races. In Sunday's 200ｍ freestyle, he came in third behind Hagino and Sun.
Park said he appreciated the fans' support and he should have been able to feed off their energy, instead of feeling burdened by their presence.
"I am disappointed, and my job is to do the best (for them)," he said. "Even though the results at Incheon are not as great as expected, I believe they will help me to become a better swimmer."