October 22 - Japan's four-time Olympic swimming champion Kosuke Kitajima (pictured) will return to competition next month, ending a 15-month break since last year's Beijing Games.


The 27-year-old will swim the 50, 100 and 200 metres breaststroke at an event at the Tokyo Swimming Centre on November 20-23, raising the prospect of a full comeback.


Kitajima skipped this year's World Championships in Rome after successfully defending his 100m and 200m Olympics titles at Beijing in 2008.


He had been troubled by injuries after his victories at the Athens Olympics in 2004 but punishing spells of high-altitude training and lengthy treatment in an oxygen chamber helped him peak for Beijing.


He had considered hanging up his goggles after Beijing but has hinted he may go on to the 2012 London Olympics after leaving Japan to live in Los Angeles and train under United States Olympic coach Dave Salo.


Kitajima recently indicated he may enter next year's Japanese national championships and Japanese officials are hoping to persuade him to race at at next year's Pan Pacific Championships in California and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.