2018 ASIAN GAMES
- Sunday, August 19th – Friday, August 24th (swimming)
- GBK Aquatic Center, Jakarta, Indonesia
- Official Meet Site
With the 2018 Asian Games kicking off with the opening ceremony on Sunday, August 19th, we’re taking a look at the entrants from the key aquatic nations that will be vying for medals once swimming begins. We already let you know about several of the high-profile Chinese athletes that are expected to race, including Olympic champion Sun Yang, young star Li Bingjie and fly maestro Li Zhuhao, but Japan will be bringing its own arsenal of powerful swimming weapons to Jakarta as well.
Fresh off its overall successful performance at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, the nation of Japan reaped 23 total medal at the quadrennial competition held in its home city of Tokyo. Individual Pan Pacs gold medals were won by Yasuhiro Koseki (100m breast), Ippei Watanabe (200m breast), Daiya Seto (200m fly), Rikako Ikee (100m fly) and Yui Ohashi (200m IM/400m IM), with all of these stellar athletes ready to keep the momentum running at the Asian Games.
In Jakarta, Japan will be seeking to put up a fight against China, as the two nations finished 1-2 in the overall medal count at the 2014 Asian Games. China won 47 medals overall to Japan’s 46, although China collected 22 gold to Japan’s 12.
Among Japan’s gold medalists at the last edition of the Asian Games included Ryosuke Irie, who took the top prize in both the 100m and 200m backstroke races, while Kosuke Hagino struck gold across both IMs. Seto was the Asian Games gold medalist in his signature 200m fly race, while Satomi Suzuki was the women’s 50m breast victor.
In 2014, freestyle sprinter Shinri Shioura secured double silver in the form of runner-up finishes in the 50m and 100m freestyle behind China’s Ning Zetao. With Ning not competing here in Jakarta, Shiuora may be able to pull off a victory, depending on how his relaymate and national record holder Katsumi Nakamura performs.
Although Japan will be without its 50 backstroke splinter, 2014 Asian Games champion Junya Koga due to his suspension, new faces will help the nation get on the board in events in which they came up empty-handed last time around. For instance, Japan was medal-less in the women’s 50m and 100m fly events back in 2014, but Olympic finalist and Pan Pacs champion Rikako Ikee is a favorite to take both events. The 18-year-old will also most certainly do damage across the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle event as well, where Ikee has an opportunity to knock off 2014 winners Chen Xinyi and Shen Duo of China.
Ohashi also looks good to take both IM events in Jakarta, as the star is currently ranked #1 in the world in each. She shows no signs of stopping, with her biggest competition most likely coming in the form of Korea’s Kim Seoyeong in the sprint IM.
On the men’s side, Koseki will be looking to take his first Asian Games titles in the breaststroke events, where he is currently ranked 4th in the world in the 100m and 8th in the world in the 200m. Koseki will need to get through his own countrymate in Watanabe in the 200m breast, as his teammate is coming off his dominant win in Tokyo. China’s Qin Haiyang, the reigning World Junior Record holder, will also be in the mix and ready to make his mark on the senior level.
In the 100m breast, the battle will most likely boil down between Koseki and China’s Yan Zibei. The pair’s respective best times this season of 58.96 and 58.97 are separated by just .01, giving us an indication that a monstrous showdown may be on the horizon in Jakarta.