SWIMMING AT THE 2018 ASIAN GAMES
A thrilling battle in the men’s 200m breaststroke came down to the touch, as Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki beat out teammate and reigning world record holder Ippei Watanabe by just .01 in Jakarta tonight. Koseki wound up collecting a winning time of 2:07.81 to Watanabe’s 2:07.82, while Chinese standout Qin Haiyang rounded out the top 3 in 2:08.07.
Missing from the race, however, was 2016 Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan. We reported yesterday how the 23-year-old was indeed expected to compete in an effort to defend his breaststroke sweep from the 2014 Asian Games, but was ultimately missing from the 200m event’s start lists.
We’ve since confirmed that Balandin has been suffering from a lower leg injury, one which he feared would be aggravated should he contest the longest breaststroke event. Instead, the Kazakhstani will race just the 50m and 100m events.
A spokesman for the athlete told Reuters, “He had a recent injury and a recent recovery so his coach decided not to risk his health in the 200. Dima will swim in other events, the 50m, the 100m and probably the medley relay.”
Balandin will face Koseki, Watanabe, Haiyang and others in the 100m event tomorrow, while the 50m sprint takes place on Friday. Thus far, his home nation has come up empty in terms of hardware, so he’ll be striving to give Kazakhstan its first swimming medal of these Games.