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Monday, 17 May 2021

Japan's Olympic swimmers defy altitude fears

Japan's Olympic swimmers will prepare for this year's London Games by undergoing altitude training as planned, despite the death of Norwegian Alexander Dale Oen last week

Reuters, Thursday 10 May 2012
Kosuke Kitajima
Kosuke Kitajima of Japan swims in the men's 200 meter IM during the AT&T Winter National Championships in Atlanta (Photo: Reuters)

World 100 meter breaststroke world champion Dale Oen died after suffering a heart attack at a high altitude training camp in Arizona, prompting Japanese officials to rethink their plans.

However, the Japan Swimming Federation (JSF) told Reuters on Thursday that plans for eight swimmers to train at altitude in France and the United States would "go ahead as planned" following an executive meeting.

Japan's swimmers asked for high altitude sessions in June and July not to be scrapped, local media reported, adding that doctors would be dispatched to monitor the athletes.

JSF director Koji Ueno had initially said Japan "could not send any athletes who have concerns about what happened (to Dale Oen) under any circumstances".

Multiple Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, whose punishing altitude training sessions are well documented, will spearhead Japan's quest in London.

Asia's most successful swimmer is bidding to win the men's 100 and 200 breaststroke double for the third time after taking gold in both races in Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years ago.

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