Incheon: South Korea`s Park Tae-Hwan said he had let the home crowd down after suffering a second major Asian Games disappointment Tuesday when China`s Sun Yang dominated the 400 metres freestyle.
The national pin-up blamed a massive burden of expectation for a poor opening race on Sunday which saw him take third place in the 200 metres freestyle, behind Sun and Japan`s Kosuke Hagino.
He insisted that he had tried desperately to overcome the pressure and bounce back in the longer swim, but it was not to be as he collected his second bronze of the 17th Incheon Asian Games.
The two-time 400m world champion finished more than five seconds behind the towering Chinese and four seconds after rising star Hagino in Incheon`s Munhak Park Tae-Hwan Aquatics Center.
"I had prepared well for the race but it didn`t matter how hard I tried, it was very tough mentally," Park said.
"The weight of expectation got to me a lot. I should have been able to overcome it but in the end I wasn`t able to. It was too difficult," the 24-year-old added.
Hagino, Park and Sun were together at the halfway stage. However, over the final 200 Sun powered home while Park tailed off.
"I kept up with them during the early stages and was looking for to make a final push, but I think I was quite tired during the last stretch," the South Korean said.
"I am disappointed as my job is to do the best (for the South Korean fans)."
Park won three freestyle gold medals at each of the last two Asian Games, in Guangzhou and Doha. He has another chance to redeem himself against Sun in the 1500m freestyle on Friday.
It will be the final race of a triple header between Sun and Park this week.
"Now I must focus own the next event. I will do my utmost to be at my best," he said.