(Reuters) - Four-times Olympic breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima is set for retirement after missing out on qualifying for a fifth Olympics at the Japanese swimming trials.
The 33-year-old, who won 100 and 200 meter breaststroke gold at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, could only clock a time of 2 minutes 9.96 seconds to finish fifth in the 200m and outside of the required time to make the Rio Olympics.
Kitajima, who also won Olympic silver at the London 2012 Games and two bronze in Athens and Beijing in the 4x100m medley, was given a warm applause after leaving the Tokyo pool on Friday at the national championships.
"The result was not good but I was able to swim once again with a feeling of determination to go to the Olympics. It hurts but I gave it my best shot," he was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.
Triple world champion Kitajima had already missed out on a spot in the relay team at the Aug. 5-21 Games in Brazil but said he was undecided on retirement plans.
"My aim was to make the Olympics. That is over now and I would not be able to give a proper answer if I spoke for the next few minutes about what I am going to do next, so I'd like to be allowed to refrain from commenting," he said.
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)