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Swimming: Slump sinks Rio gold medalist Hagino's nationals hopes

Kosuke Hagino (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese swimmer Kosuke Hagino, winner of the men's 400-meter individual medley at the Rio Olympics as well as a holder of multiple national records, has withdrawn from next month's national championships, his management agency said Friday.

The 24-year-old has put in a string of poor performances recently, including at the Konami Open in February where he pulled out of the 400 IM final after finishing seventh overall in the qualifiers, more than 17 seconds off his personal best time.

He also canceled a training camp at altitude that was scheduled to start on Feb. 19 in Spain.

"I have accepted the fact that I am in no condition to focus on the sport, and thus I made the decision," Hagino said in a statement.

"I need to confront my own (emotions) and come face to face with them," he said.

The nationals take place April 2-8 at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center.

Hagino's withdrawal will make it difficult for him to race at the FINA world championships in July in South Korea as the nationals are a qualifying event.

Hagino holds the national record in the 200 and 400-meter freestyle, as well the 200 IM and 400 IM. He won four total medals at the Rio and London Olympics.

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