Kitajima sets sights on 2016 Rio Games

AFP-JIJI

Japan’s four-time Olympic swimming champion Kosuke Kitajima, who missed out on an individual medal at the London Games, says he is keen to line up at the poolside in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

“While younger swimmers are coming up, I want to go to Rio, too,” Kitajima, 30, told a party held in Tokyo on Thursday in honor of Japanese swimmers who collected a record 11 medals in London, according to local media.

Kitajima, who took gold in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished fifth in the 100m and fourth in the 200m in London, but bagged a silver as a member of Japan’s 4×100 medley relay.

In London, Japan got three silvers and eight bronzes but no gold in swimming.

After Kitajima’s failure, 18-year-old Akihiro Yamaguchi set a new 200 breaststroke world record on September 15, vowing to become his successor.

At Japan’s national games, the high school student clocked 2 minutes, 7.01 seconds, breaking the previous world mark of 2:07.28 set by Daniel Gyurta of Hungary on Aug. 1 at the London Olympics.