Kosuke Hagino, star Japanese swimmer, to miss world championships

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Kosuke Hagino, Japan’s lone active Olympic swimming champion, will miss July’s world championships. He withdrew before April’s national championships, citing a lack of desire to compete, and is not at this week’s Japan Open.

Swimswam.com reported earlier that Hagino was missing from the entry lists for the Japan Open, the 2020 Olympic host nation’s last qualifier for swimming worlds.

“Kosuke Hagino will not be competing at the World Championships this year,” a rep from Hagino’s management agency said in an email Friday. “He is taking some time off and will be preparing for next year.”

Hagino, 24, won the sport’s decathlon, the 400m individual medley at the Rio Games. Last summer, Hagino took silver and bronze in the individual medleys at the Pan Pacific Championships, seeing American rival Chase Kalisz sweep the events, just as Kalisz did at the 2017 Worlds.

A large banner in a Tokyo transportation hub displayed the faces of Kalisz, Hagino and another Japanese star, Daiya Seto, promoting their rivalry in the 400m IM before Pan Pacs in the capital city. It was warranted.

Hagino was arguably the world’s best all-around swimmer in 2014 and 2015, after beating Michael Phelps at 2014 Pan Pacs.

Though Hagino missed the 2015 Worlds with a broken right elbow suffered in a bike accident, he rebounded for the 400m IM gold in Rio, topping Kalisz by seven tenths of a second in an Asian record 4:06.05. Hagino hasn’t swum within four seconds of that time since, according to FINA.

“I’ve been unable to achieve the results I had hoped for since the 2017 season,” Hagino said in a March 15 statement, according to media translations. “As the gap between my targets and reality has widened, it has become harder for me to maintain my motivation.

“I have accepted the fact that I am in no condition to focus on the sport, and thus I have made the decision.”

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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