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Injury Foils Van Den Hoogenband’s Plans

May 27, 2005

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Dutch Olympic swimming champion Pieter van den Hoogenband won’t swim at the world championships in Montreal in July because he is still recovering from a hernia operation.

``Doctors have warned me that I’d be taking an irresponsible risk if I took part,″ he wrote Friday in a weekly column in the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

He said he was swimming well after the operation but ``not at full speed. I avoid fast starts and turns. If I test myself explosively, I could do irreparable damage to my body.″

Van den Hoogenband won two gold medals in Sydney, setting world records in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle. He defended his 100 title with gold in Athens last summer. In all, he has four gold, 10 silver and five bronze medals in world competitions.

He said he was sorry to miss Montreal but was now focusing on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

``In China I want to become the first swimmer in history to win gold three consecutive times in the royal event, the 100-meter freestyle,″ he wrote. ``Besides that, I have it in the back of my head that I want to improve my world record at that distance.″

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