Other Sport

Kitajima mourns rivals death

2012-05-02 12:03
Kosuke Kitajima (File)

Tokyo - Two-time double Olympic gold medallist Kosuke Kitajima has said the death of world champion Alexander Dale Oen has left a "big hole" in his heart before their much anticipated duel at the London Games.

"My tears won't stop," the Japanese breaststroke swimmer wrote on Twitter in Japanese late on Tuesday after learning that his Norwegian rival was found dead at a training camp in the United States on Monday at the age of 26.

"In shock over the passing of a dear friend and great rival. RIP Alex," Kitajima, 29, based in the US city of Los Angeles, later lamented in English.

Dale Oen could have stopped Kitajima's bid for a third straight 100m-200m Olympic breaststroke double in London.

"He was a great swimmer. I want to race against him again. That (feeling) had been motivating me. My heart is left with a big hole," Kitajima wrote.

Norway's swimming federation announced that Dale Oen was found dead in a shower at a swimming pool in Flagstaff, Arizona, where the country's Olympic swim team was training.

At the Beijing Olympics, Kitajima beat Dale Oen by 0.29 in the 100m. Dale Oen grabbed silver, becoming Norway's first swimmer to win an Olympic medal.

The Norwegian won the 100m in 58.71 seconds at last year's world championships with Kitajima fourth at 1:00.03.

But Kitajima stormed back at the national championships last month, winning both distances to book tickets to London.

He clocked 58.90 in the 100m, a new national record, to become the second swimmer to duck under 59 after high-tech polyurethane swimsuits were banned in 2010.

Dale Oen trained in Tokyo under Kitajima's coach Norimasa Hirai in late 2009 to learn how his rival was developing himself.

The Norwegian trained in Tokyo again last December when he said he and Kitajima were "very much the same" as swimmers.

"We'd like to race and we'd like to do our best," he told reporters, adding his duel with Kitajima in London would "definitely (be) a big challenge".

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  swimming
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Two Oceans champ confident

2014-04-18 19:03

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

How much of a runner are you?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.