Kosuke Kitajima
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Kosuke Kitajima retires after missing Japan Olympic team, reports say

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Kosuke Kitajima, the most decorated breaststroker of all time, retired after failing to automatically qualify for a fifth Japanese Olympic team on Friday, according to several Japanese media reports.

Kitajima, who swept the breaststrokes at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, finished fifth in the 200m breaststroke at the Japanese Olympic Trials in his last shot at automatic selection.

“It’s over,” Kitajima said, according to Agence France-Presse. “I knew my career would end in Rio or here in Tokyo this week. I’ve got no regrets.”

Kitajima, 33, was second in the 100m breaststroke on Tuesday but didn’t meet Japan’s Olympic qualifying standard time in the final. Nor did the first-place finisher.

Kitajima had the fastest 100m breast time at the trials, meeting the standard in the semifinals, but that wasn’t enough for automatic selection.

If Japan wants to enter the 4x100m medley relay in Rio, it will need a 100m breaststroker. The Japanese took silver in the medley relay at the 2012 Olympics, with Kitajima, and sixth at the 2015 World Championships without him.

Kitajima is stronger in the 100m breast than the 200m breast. He made the 2013 Worlds team in the 100m breast but not the 200m breast and failed to make the 2015 Worlds team altogether.

MORE: Ye Shiwen looks Rio bound after Chinese Nationals comeback

Tokyo Olympic torch relay sets date to resume

Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay
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The Tokyo Olympic torch relay will resume on March 25 and follow its originally planned route and schedule, starting in the Fukushima Prefecture.

Organizers are discussing torch relay modifications given the coronavirus pandemic. Possible changes include the number of officials and staff involved and reducing the size of vehicle convoys.

As it stands, the relay will visit all 47 prefectures of Japan with emphasis on the area affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

With the motto “Hope Lights Our Way,” it will visit the three prefectures most affected by the tsunami and earthquake (Fukushima (March 25-27), Iwate (June 16-18) and Miyagi (June 19-21)) for three days each.

The relay leads up to the Opening Ceremony on July 23.

The torch relay originally began last March 12 in Olympia. The Greek portion of the relay, originally scheduled for eight days, was called off on March 13 due to the pandemic after actor Gerard Butler was among the torch bearers in Sparta.

An unexpectedly large crowd gathered in Sparta despite recommendations to the public not to focus on the ceremony.

The flame remained in Greece until it was flown to Japan as scheduled on March 20.

On March 24, it was announced the Tokyo Games were postponed to 2021. The Japan portion of the torch relay was suspended, too, two days before it was to start.

MORE: USA Swimming updates 2020 competition schedule

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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