MADRID – Kosuke Hagino marked his return to competition following elbow surgery with a pair of victories Friday at the Madrid Open.
The Rio Olympic 400-meter individual medley gold medalist, who underwent surgery on his right elbow in September, won the 400 IM in 4 minutes, 15.23 seconds, and also took the 100 backstroke in a time of 56.29.
“I’ve taken a big step forward,” said Hagino, who has been training at a high-altitude camp in Spain since the end of last month.
Hagino competed in three races on the first day of the competition. He clocked 54.58 in the 100 backstroke heats.
“It would have been nice to post faster times but I have been able to get a picture of my current condition. That has given significance to competing (in this event) ahead of the national championships (in April).”
Following nationals, Hagino will compete in the world championships in July in Budapest, where he hopes to win his first gold medal.
Hagino took the silver medal in the 400 freestyle and 200 IM in 2013 in Barcelona, but withdrew from the 2015 meet in Kazan, Russia, after fracturing his elbow.
“If I am going to be taking part, then I want to win,” Hagino said. “I missed the 2015 worlds and was soundly beaten in 2013. Naturally I want to give everything I have.”