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With Tokyo 2020 looming, Japan aims high at Asian Games

AP  |  Tokyo 

With the less than two years away, Japanese athletes will be using the to build confidence as they prepare to host the world on sport's biggest stage.

The has set an ambitious target of 30 gold medals for the 2020 Olympics, almost double the national record.

The most gold medals has won at the Summer is 16 in 1964 at and in 2004 at

At the Rio de Janeiro in 2016, claimed the sixth-highest number of gold medals with 12.

The Asian Games, being held Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 in the Indonesian cities of and Palembang, are an important stepping stone.

While can always count on medals in traditional Japanese such as and karate, the will give the country a chance to gauge preparations in they haven't always dominated.

Nowhere is this more evident than in where Japan's 4x100-meter relay team has set its sights on the gold medal at in 2020.

Considering the team of Yoshihide Kiryu, Aska Cambridge, and won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics, that's no longer a far-fetched dream.

At the Asian Games, they'll face a stern challenge from China's 4x100 relay, silver medalists at the 2015 world championships and another Olympic medal contender.

"We're aiming for the gold medal in Indonesia," Yamagata said at a recent training camp.

"We want to use the to build confidence toward next year's world championships and in 2020."

Cambridge, whose father is Jamaican and mother is Japanese, competes in both the 100- and 200-meter sprints as well and is one of the rising stars in Japanese

"We can feel the excitement building," said.

"There are a lot of runners in the 100 (at the Asian Games) who can run under 10 seconds so I expect it will be a very tough race."

Five new have been added to the program for Tokyo 2020, and will feature several of those.

Japan has established itself as a global powerhouse in bouldering, one of three disciplines in sport climbing, and will be aiming to dominate the event in

and are also returning to the Olympic program in Tokyo and, while Japan has always been a medal contender, will provide a good test run after a long absence from international competition.

and haven't been contested in since in 2008 and Japan is hoping to take home the gold medal in both events in two years' time.

Another area where Japan is expecting an impressive medal haul is in the pool.

Kosuke Hagino and teenage star are among 22 swimmers going to for Japan.

Hagino collected four gold medals and was awarded the MVP award at the 2014 edition of in Incheon,

The 18-year-old Ikee competed in seven disciplines, including relays, at the Rio Olympics. She is the junior world record holder in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly long-course events.

Japan placed third overall at behind and and is aiming to increase its medal haul from to

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 10 2018. 13:55 IST