Swimming star Park Tae-hwan left for his first overseas training session of the year in Brisbane, Australia on Monday. He will work under Michael Bohl, Park's coach since 2010, for six weeks and return to Korea at the end of February.
Park took a break after winning two silver medals in the 400-m and 200-m freestyle races at the 2012 London Olympics, as he considered retiring. He later said he could not imagine being happy away from the world of competitive swimming, so he decided to dive back into the sport while pursuing a master's degree in physical education at Dankook University.
He resumed training in Seoul last month and formed his own team of coaching and support staff. As his sponsorship contract with SK Telecom ended in September, Park now has to pay his team's expenses himself.
He will now train for the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. Park, who won three gold medals at two successive Asian Games in Doha in 2006 and Guangzhou in 2010, said he believes he can deliver more winning trophies in front of a home crowd.
It is uncertain whether Park will compete in the World Swimming Championships, which will be held in Barcelona from July 19 to Aug. 4. Son Seok-bae, who heads Park's team, said, "Bohl suggested we make a decision after we see how Park progresses during training." If Park decides to take on the challenge of winning back-to-back world titles in the 400-m freestyle this summer, he must first go through the national tryouts in April.