LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Kosuke Kitajima will get one last chance to complete the elusive golden treble after booking his place in the final of the men's 200 metres breaststroke at the London Olympics.
Kitajima won the breaststroke double at Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years later and is locked in a race with Michael Phelps to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three Olympics.
When Phelps failed to win a medal in the 400 medley on Saturday, Kitajima got the opportunity to become the first but he missed the podium altogether in the 100 final.
Phelps seemed certain to reach the milestone in Tuesday's 200 butterfly final but suffered a shock defeat, opening the window for Kitajima although he faces a stiff challenge.
He finished fifth overall with a semi-final time of two minutes 09.03 seconds, almost a second behind Britain's Michael Jamieson, the fastest qualifier and Hungary's Daniel Gyurta, the world champion in 2009 and 2011, who was second.
"If I have a chance to win gold I'll try my very best to get it," Kitajima said.
"For the final I want to get my best record and start with good feelings."
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)