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Swimming: 'Frog King' hasn't spawned new generation

Published on Apr 14, 2014 5:23 PM
 
Former Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima has urged Japan's young swimmers to step up after a collective flop at the national championships left him wondering if he needs to postpone his retirement. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALBERT SIM

TOKYO (AFP) - Former Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima has urged Japan's young swimmers to step up after a collective flop at the national championships left him wondering if he needs to postpone his retirement.

The "Frog King" won double breaststroke gold at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics but at 31, and expecting his first child with his pop star wife, he is getting ever closer to hanging up his goggles.

However, he may have to remain in competition for a while yet after nobody went inside Japan's 100m and 200m breaststroke selection times for this year's Pan Pacific Championships and Asian Games.

The results left two berths in each distance for the Pan Pacifics, in Australia in August, and the Asian Games in South Korea in September, to be chosen at the Japan Open in June. "I really wanted them to decide the berths here," Kitajima said of his younger rivals at last week's meet in Tokyo.

 
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