The men’s 400m IM gold medalist in Rio, Japanese powerhouse Kosuke Hagino, will be returning to competition earlier than expected after having undergone post-Olympic elbow surgery.
Hagino underwent endoscopic surgery last September to remove the extra bone on his right elbow, which was broken in June of 2015 while the star was at a staging camp for the FINA World Championships. He was originally slated to make his recovery debut at the Japanese National Championships in April, but has since decided to make next month’s Campeonato Open Absoluto C. Madrid his comeback competition, testing out his elbow a month earlier than his nation’s World Championships qualifying meet.
Having resumed full-scale practice about 2 months ago, the 22-year-old says there seems to be a ‘dramatic difference’ in the condition of his elbow. While training at a camp in Spain, the Toyo University student old local reporters that his backstroke feels especially strong since undergoing surgery. Hagino already proved himself as the next great weapon in Japanese swimming, having scored 400m IM gold, 200m IM silver and another silver as part of the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay in Rio. He was a finalist in the individual 200m freestyle and has very effectively dabbled in the 200m backstroke event in the past.
The multiple Japanese national record holder will be graduating from Toyo University this Spring and transition into a full-time, professional swimmer, having earned his first sponsorship. As part of its ‘Chase Your Dream’ campaign and support of the overall Olympic Movement, Bridgestone Corporation has entered a 5-year partnership with Hagino.
Campeonato Open Absoluto C. Madrid is scheduled for March 10th – 12th and Hagino is expected to compete in 5 individual events, including both IM races. Teammate and fellow 2016 Olympic medalist Daiya Seto is also expected to compete in Madrid.