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World record-holding race walker Suzuki out of Rio Games

Kyodo

Yusuke Suzuki, who owns the men’s 20-km race-walk world record, said Monday he will be unable to qualify for this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 28-year-old Suzuki has withdrawn from the national 20-km race-walking championships to be held on Feb. 21 in Kobe after hip pain hindered his preparations. Suzuki is also planning to skip the other Olympic qualifier, a race-walking meet in his hometown of Nomi, Ishikawa Prefecture, in March.

A medal favorite at last year’s athletics worlds in Beijing after setting the world record of 1 hour, 16 minutes, 36 seconds a year ago in Nomi, Suzuki, however, did not finish his race at the Beijing worlds. Despite treatment and rehabilitation for pubic symphysis inflammation, Suzuki has been unable to regain fitness.

“Although I’ve improved little by little, I’m not at the stage where I can train properly for a race,” Suzuki said in a comment. “Now I’m tackling the challenge of returning to competition, rewriting my record and winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.”

Suzuki finished 36th at the 2012 London Games and won the silver medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.