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October 23, 2009

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Home » Sports » Swimming

Japan cheers as Kitajima set for a return to pool

JAPAN'S multiple Olympic swimming champion Kosuke Kitajima will return to competition next month, ending a 15-month break since last year's Beijing Games, organizers said yesterday.

The 27-year-old will swim the 50, 100 and 200 meters breaststroke at a November 20-23 event at Tokyo Swimming Centre, raising the prospect of a full comeback.

Organizers said that Kitajima had formally entered the competition, ending more than a year of speculation about his future in the sport that has made him a national hero.

Kitajima skipped this year's world championships in Rome after successfully defending his 100 and 200 meters Olympics titles at Beijing in 2008.

He had been troubled by injuries after his victories at the Athens Olympics in 2004 but punishing spells of high-altitude training and lengthy treatment in an oxygen chamber helped him peak right in time for the Beijing Games.

He had considered hanging up his goggles after Beijing but has hinted he may go on to the 2012 London Olympics after leaving Japan to live in Los Angeles and train under US Olympic coach Dave Salo.

Kitajima recently indicated he may enter next year's Japanese national championships.

They are also hoping to persuade him to race at next year's Pan Pacific championships in California and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, which will be held in November 2010.


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