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Aquatics | International

Japan's Irie books place at Olympics

Japan's Ryosuke Irie earned his place in the London Olympics by winning the men's 100-metre backstroke at the national swimming championships in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old, who won a silver medal at the Shanghai world championships last year, clocked 52.91 seconds to beat 2009 world champion Junya Koga into second in 54.14 and Yuki Shirai into third in 54.22.

Koga missed the cut line by only five hundredths of a second.

"I feel relieved. But I'm not satisfied with my time, because top swimmers in the world are faster," said Irie.

"I tried to set a new national mark since Kosuke (Kitajima) did it yesterday. But anyway, I feel relieved," he added.

World 200m butterfly silver medallist Takeshi Matsuda, Satomi Suzuki and Mina Matsushima also won a place at the London Games.

Matsuda cut the qualifying time by clocking 1:45.96 to win the men's 200m freestyle, beating Yuki Kobori and Sho Sotodate.

"Although I qualified for the freestyle, my main focus is tomorrow's butterfly. I'm looking forward to it," said Matsuda.

Suzuki and Matsushima made a one-two finish in the women's 100m breaststroke in 1:06.80 and 1:07.54, respectively.

"It's my dream to go to the Olympics," said a delighted Suzuki, 21.

Matsushima said: "I was anxious to watch the board, but I'm glad that I was second when I looked at it. I expect I will be more tense in the Olympics, but I'll do my best not to be beaten by pressure."

The top two swimmers who cut the qualifying time are eligible for the Olympics.


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