• Kyodo


Four-time Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima failed to meet the qualifying standard in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke for Japan’s team to this year’s Asian Games when he finished third at the Japan Open on Thursday.

In the men’s 100 meters, won by Yasuhiro Koseki in a time of 59.91 seconds, Kitajima finished in 1 minute, 0.61 seconds, short of the time needed to make the team for the Incheon, South Korea, continental championships, which starts in September. Naoya Tomita was second in 1:00.46 at Tokyo’s Tatsumi International Swimming Center.

“When I race a good 100, I have a powerful finish, but that wasn’t there,” said Kitajima, who had been training hard since disappointing results at April’s national championships.

Kitajima, who won Olympic gold in both the 100 and 200 at the 2004 Athens Games and again in Beijing in 2008, had a sharp answer when asked if he would try and make the team in the 200 meters.

“Give me a break,” he said. “Even saying I’m going for it (the 200) is tough. If I am able to stay loose, then maybe I can swim a good race.”

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