July 4 - Japanese swimming star Takuro Fujii, who claimed a bronze medal at Beijing 2008, said that all of the nation's athletes are behind the Tokyo bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, and are watching closely to see if it is successful.
The 27-year-old from Osaka (pictured top) is one of Japan's biggest medal prospects at London 2012 and he is currently finalising his preparations for the Olympics this summer here at Basildon Sporting Village (pictured below), which the Japanese swimming team have chosen as their training camp for the Games.
But the butterfly specialist admits that he already has one eye on the Tokyo 2020 bid with the Japanese capital fighting against Istanbul and Madrid for the right to stage the Games.
"For any swimmer, the Olympics are the most important event you can get," Fujii told insidethegames.
"For the host nation, it is an event that unites the country and makes them become one great nation.
"Everyone around the world is so excited about the sport and the athletes at the Olympics but it is even bigger for the host nation.
"So I think I speak for all the athletes from Japan when I say I want us to win the bid for the Games.
"I truly hope win can win the bid and I hope I will be there in 2020 if we do win.
"I'm not sure if I will be there as a swimmer because that is a long way off, but even if I am not swimming anymore I would still love to be there and supporting because it would be a great event for Tokyo and Japan."
The successful 2020 candidate will be announced at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires in September next year and Japan's London 2012 swimming team manager Koji Ueno believes a successful showing from his athletes this summer could help the Tokyo bid for the event.
"Obviously we would love to have the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in our country and I think it would be particularly good for swimming," he said.
"Swimming is one of the biggest Olympic sports in Japan and having a home Games would encourage more and more young people to take it up.
"But our focus right now is on London 2012 and I think if we can be successful at these Games and win lots of medals, we will help the Tokyo 2020 bid by showing that we are a country that can compete and win against the best athletes in the world."
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