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News Round-Up: Bohl Takes On Park

Jan 4, 2010  - Craig Lord

South Korea:  Park Tae-hwan is to head to Australia to be coached by Steph Rice mentor Michael Bohl Down Under. The Korea Swimming Federation (KSF) said it has appointed the Australian as a special coach to coach the 20-year-old who excelled in 2008 pants when he became Olympic 400m free champion in Beijing but was washed away in the same suit when racing at the 100% poly world champs in Rome. The suit issue was all but sunk as a ban on bodysuits and non-textile trickery came into force on January 1, 2010. "Bohl will map out a separate plan for Park and train him," said Jeong Il-chung, an executive director of the KSF. "Bohl said that he was watching Park during the Beijing Olympics and the Rome world championship and he will help Park succeed again at the Asian Games." The Australian coach will visit Seoul this week to take a first look at his new pupil.

Australia: Butterfly ace Nick D'Arcy has told local media that Swimming Australia rumours suggest that India is unlikely to host the Commonwealth Games in October this year as planned. "(Australia) were going to be the fallback (host) but apparently there wasn't enough time for that to happen. Now England is supposed to be the fallback. If it is held there it will completely change the complexion of the games." Many venues have yet to be completed in New Delhi while security concerns have prompted some British media to run stories suggesting that England will not compete if the Games go ahead in India. Australia has taken the official position that the Gold and Green team will compete, while emphasising that individual athletes are free to withdraw after selection. The chief of Australia's Commonwealth Games team Perry Crosswhite told Reuters: "I have nothing new to change our view ... everything is on track to go," he told reporters on Wednesday. We will take the best advice we can get and at this stage it (security) is adequate ... I'm not a security expert but they've employed people that are and the reports are good. These days security is a major issue everywhere."

Germany: Franziska van Almsick, 31 and former world 200m freestyle champion in 1994 and record holder between 1994 and 2007,  today flies the flag for all elite athletes in Germany. At the launch of a new series in Bild entitled "Heroes Without Money" ["Held Ohne Geld"], the former multiple European champion - and spokesperson for the Deutschen Sporthilfe support unit - notes that most world-class athletes in Germany put in a 60-hour week in return for monthly support of around 600 euros. Asked why athletes "sacrifice" so much for so little, Van Almsick replies: "The question is false:   athletes don't sacrifice, it is a question of pure passion."

New Zealand: Aussie coach Mark Regan today takes up his new role with Swimming New Zealand, replacing Jan Cameron as director of performance. Cameron, former wife of Don Talbot, has moved in to a general manager role, while Talbot is helping the national programme in a consultancy role. Of late, Regan did a fine job of raising standards and expectations in Denmark, where he served as head coach for seven years.