Kosuke Hagino Moves Focus To 2020 Olympics After Sitting Out Worlds

Kosuke Hagino
Kosuke Hagino has committed to returning to training to attempt to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics; Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

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Kosuke Hagino, whose future in swimming was uncertain after his decision to sit out World Championships this summer, has announced that he is re-committing to the sport with eyes on representing his home country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

In a recent article published online on the website biglobe.ne.jp, Hagino stated he battled “extreme depression” this year and has spent some time in Germany and Europe to reset and find the motivation again to compete. The swimmer stated he has been steadily returning to the pool, and will be returning to Japan full-time in June with a plan to return to competition August 2-4 at the FINA World Cup in Tokyo.

Pending progress, he may delay his return until Japanese Nationals starting September 1. Japanese National Team Head Coach Norimasa Hirai commented both of those meets show that Hagino is serious about his return to the pool.

The Olympic champion will miss this summer’s world championships in Gwangju after withdrawing before April’s national championships, citing a lack of desire to compete. Hagino was also absent at last weekend’s Japan Open, the final qualifying opportunity for Japan.

Hagino has not been the same swimmer he has been since winning the 400 IM on the first night of the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, breaking the Americans’ winning streak in the event that started in 1996. Since then, he had failed to medal in the 400 IM at the 2017 World Championships, placing sixth, some six seconds off his winning time the year before. In 2018 he had the third ranked time in the world in the 400 IM with a 4:10.30, which he swam in a silver medal performance at the Asian Games.

Hagino was also the Olympic silver medalist in Rio in the 200 IM behind Michael Phelps. He won a silver in the 2017 Worlds behind American Chase Kalisz and had the fourth fastest time in the world in the 200 IM in 2018 (1:56.66).

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