• Kyodo News


Ryosuke Irie prevailed in the men’s 200-meter backstroke final on Saturday to complete a winning double at the Japan Open.

Irie, tipped to win gold at the world championships getting underway in Rome next month, added to his victory in Friday’s 100 backstroke but was well outside his best, clocking 1 minute 54.09 seconds at Tokyo Tatsunami International Swimming Center.

Takashi Nakano came second in 1:57.74 and Kazuki Watanabe was third in 1:58.67.

“I am happy with this time considering I felt a bit of tiredness from my training camp but I still feel sorry that I couldn’t meet the expectations people had of me here,” said Irie.

“I received warm applause and I wanted to respond. I want to win and break the world record at the world championships.”

Irie smashed men’s 200-meter backstroke world record in Australia last month but swimming’s governing body FINA has not yet approved the mark because of questions surrounding the swimsuit he wore.

The 19-year-old clocked 1:52.86 at the inaugural Canberra swimming meet between Japan and Australia on May 10, slicing 1.08 seconds off the previous world record.

FINA approved 202 of the 348 swimsuits from 21 manufacturers it reviewed while saying 136 other swimsuits, including the Irie’s Descente outfit.

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