Kosuke Hagino will not be defending his Swimming World World Swimmer of the Year title this year after breaking his elbow during a training camp in France.
At a press conference in Tokyo following extensive consultation with Japanese doctors, Hagino confirmed that he is going to miss the World Championships om Kazan, Russia.
“This is even more regrettable because my form had been getting better,” Hagino said. “I’m very sorry for all those who supported me. All I can do now is to recover with a strong motivation that I’ll win the gold in next year’s Olympics.”
Hagino detailed how the injury happened as well. Reminiscent to some of Ryan Lochte’s injuries in the past, Hagino fell off a bike during the Japanese national team’s training camp in France. He immediately was flown back to Japan, where he was shown to have a fractured right elbow.
Hagino was looking for his first long course gold medal on a truly international stage. While he dominated at the regional Pan Pacific Championships last year with a gold-medal sweep of the IMs, his previous long course best against the entire world had been a pair of silvers in the 400 free and 200 IM at the 2013 Barcelona World Championships.
He has won a world title, but it was in short course competition with a win in the 200 IM at the 2014 Doha World Championships.
With four golds from the 2014 Asian Games under his belt, Hagino was definitely considered a front-runner for the World Swimmer of the Year honors again this year.
Hagino is the latest in a long line of people now missing from the World Championships.
Brittany Elmslie and Kylie Palmer have also withdrawn from the meet. Elmslie is recovering from an operation to remove a growth in her breast, while Palmer is sitting out the meet in the middle of an investigation surrounding a positive drug test.