In Track and Field

Modified on August 29, 2009 In 2011
Murofushi wins first World gold
It's the first gold this time at the World Athletic Championships in South Korea's Daegu. In the hammer throw on Aug 29, Koji Murofushi's swing reached 81.24 meter. It's the first time a Japanese wins the gold outside the marathon.

In 2009
Top Japanese athletes in the World Athletic Championships
A new star in women's marathon
It was a hot match between China's Xue Bai and Japan's Yoshimi Ozaki in the women's marathon. But in the end Ozaki could not keep up. She clocked 2 hours 25.25 minutes to win the silver. It's in the women's marathon at the championships Japan's 10th medal. This racerecorded high TV rating in Japan of 27.9 percent. Javelin thrower wins first ever medal for Japan
Yukifumi Murakami was practically unknown. But that's been changed. On Aug 23, he hurled 82.97 meters. With this record, he took the bronze medal. It's the first medal for Japan in the javelin throw. Men's marathon runner 3rd as team
Men's marathon runners have not been as strong as the women's. But Nobuhiko Sato came in 6th in the race on Aug 22 in Berlin. He clocked 2 hours 12.5 seconds. Finishing 11th was Masaya Shimizu. And 14th was Satoshi Irifune. These 3 men enabled Japan to be 3rd as a team.

In 2005
Tamesue wins 3rd medal at World Championships
In Helsinki on Aug 9 Dai Tamesue ran the 400 meter hurdle final. It was in pouring rain. He finished 3rd and clocked 48'10, winning the bronze for the 2nd championships in a row. He said he dedicates this medal to his father who he lost from cancer 2 years ago.

In 2003
Japan's first short distance medal
For the first time in the history of the Olympics and the world championships together, a Japanese clinched a medal in the short distance race. On Aug 29, Shingo Suetsugu clocked 20.38 seconds to finish third. It's a great feat for a Japanese. He said after the race that his leg felt like they're about to be torn apart but he tried not to give up.

Murofushi finishes World with bronze
Koji Murofushi had hurt himself when he banged his right elbow hard when he fell during practice on Aug 15. Until the accident, many in Japan regard as the top candidate to win the gold. He managed to settle for the bronze by throwing the hammer a distance of 80.12 meters on Aug 25. It's Murofushi's 2nd championship medal. As a result Murofushi's ticket to the Olympic Games in Athens next year was assured He's the first Japanese to qualify.

Murofushi wins with world's 3rd best record
Koji Murofushi won the hammer throw event on June 29 in the international track and field meet. His throw measured a new Japan record of 84.86 meters. It's the 3rd best in the world and this year's best. T The world record is held by Yuri Syedikh who represented the Soviet Union in 1986 at 86.74 meters.

In 2001
Top Japanese athletes in the World Track and Field Championships in Edmonton
Murofushi at last shows his ability
Koji Murofushi,the 26-year old son of former "Asian ironman" as he's called in Japan, Shigenobu Murofushi at last won a medal in the hammer throw. He hurled 82.92 meters to finish second. Koji held this year's world record. He exceeded his dad's Japan record in 1998.
Tamesue makes history
23 year old student of Hosei University Dai Tamesue marked a wonder record. He finished the men's 400 meter race 3rd clocking a Japan record of 47.89 seconds. It's the first time that a Japanese has won a medal at the world championships' track race. Tamesue raced in the Sydney Olympics, but that time he fell in the preliminary race.
Tosa is runner up in marathon
2 Japanese were closely following Romania's Lidia Simon. But Yoko Shibui could not keep up and fell behind around the 37th kilometer. Just near the tracks, Simon went ahead to leave Reiko Tosa behind. Simon won. Tosa finished just seconds behind clocking 2 hour 26.06 minutes. It's the 3rd straight medal for Japan's woman marathon at the World Championship on Aug 12. Shibui was 4th.

In 1999
World Indoor Championship in Athletics,Maebashi-Japan '99
The biannual track and field event, World Indoor Championship, opened for the first time in Asia on Mar.5. The Emperor formally announced the inauguration the event at its venue, Green Dome Maebashi-- in the afternoon with the Empress by his side. About 500 athletes from 114 countries are entered in the events. Japanese track runner, Koji Itoh, showed great races already on the opening day. He broke the Japanese record in the 200 meters in the 1st leg. He proceeded to the final on Mar. 6 but finished 5th.

In 1998
Itoh is Asian Games MVP
28-year old Koji Itoh who won 3 track competitions at the 13th Asian Games in Thailand was selected MVP on Dec. 20--that's the day of the closing ceremony. He raced for the gold in the 400 meter relay, the 200 meter, and on Dec. 13, Itoh finished the 100 meters in exactly 10 seconds. He broke not only the Japan record, but the Asian record at the Asian Games. In the 100 meter final the next day, he couldn't run faster. Still he won the gold medal clocking 10.05 seconds.
Michiyo's Note: The clock showed 9.99 in the qualifying race. Many was overexcited that an Asian beat the 10 minute line. However, the time was later changed to 10 minute flat. That announcement disappointed many.

Hammer throw national record is broken by the son
23-year old Koji Murofushi hurled the hammer to 76.65 meters at a national track and field competition in Gunma on Apr. 26. He broke the Japanese record which was held by his father Shigenobu Murofushi for 14 years. Koji was born of the 5 time Asian Games champion and a Romanian javelin thrower. He's won the national championships from 1995 to 97.

In 1997
Top Japanese athletes in the World Track and Field Championships in Athens
Suzuki wins gold
The women's marathon was conducted under a tough condition. The temperature soared to 34 degrees celsius. So the leading group of runners already dismantled around the 10th kilometer. At the 28th km point, Japan's Hiromi Suzuki became the lone runner to take the lead. 28-year old runner clinched the gold medal in the women's marathon on Aug. 9. She clocked 2hrs. 29min. 48sec. Suzuki ran the 10,000 meter at the Atlanta Olympic Games but ranked only 16th. Suzuki is training under Coach Yoshio Koide from this May. Koide used to coach Yuko Arimori, medalist of women's marathon at the Atlanta and Barcelona Olympic Games. Another Japanese, Takako Tobise came in 4th in her 2nd ever marathon.
Michiyo's Note: It's terrible that I missed the race! I couldn't find it on TV in the USA. But I was surprised how dramatically the women's marathon was treated in the US newspapers. They said that Suzuki has made history by running the women's marathon in Athens. A sad side to this was that no spectators were allowed in the Marble Stadium, because the stadium of the candidate city of the 2004 Olympics was bombed the day before the race.

Japan's first medal at the World Championships in Athens
Japan's top long distance runnerMasako Chiba did it! The 21 year-old skinny woman ran the 10,000 meters final on Aug 5 and came in third, clocking 31 min.41.93 sec. Chiba had become the only Japanese medal winner in any track event for 69 years. That's since Kinue Hitomi who clinched the silver medal in the women's 800 meter event at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games. She's also the first among Japan's 54 member delegation to clinch a medal. Atlanta Olympic gold medalist, Fernanda Ribeiro of Portugal finished second, while the winner was a newcomer to the international sports scene-- 19 year old Sally Barsosio of Kenya.
Michiyo's Note: If you hear Chiba speak, it'll be difficult not to notice her thereafter.

Japan's great triple jumper is dead
The man was accredited greatly for Japan's golden era in the triple jump, Chuhei Nambu died on July 23. He was 93. Nambu clinched the gold medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games as well as the bronze in the long jump. After retirement, he worked as a sports journalist for Mainichi Newspaper, and later on taught at a number of universities. His jump record of 7 m 98 was not broken by another Japanese for 39 years.

Japan's first indoor medalist
Olympian, Shunji Karube ran the 400 meter final at the World Indoor Championships in Paris on Mar.9. He came in the goal following Sunday Bada of Nigeria and Jamie Baulch of the UK. Karube broke the Japan record with 45.76 seconds. It's the first time ever that an individual Japanese clinched a medal in an international indoor track and field competition. Karube himself seemed surprised at the feat he's achieved. Karube is the gold medalist of the 400 meter hurdles at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games.
Michiyo's Note: If you get a chance, take a good look at Karube. He is quite a fox!

In 1996
Toto Super International Track and Field Meet
World's top athletes have met in Tokyo for Toto Super International Track and Field Meet on September 15. World recorder holders Donovan Bailey in the men's 100 meters, triple jumper Jonathan Edwards and other Olympic medalists including Gail Devers competed. The participants didn't seem to be too keen on breaking records in this event.

Japan's ace sprinter is suspected of drug use
The most devastating occurrance for Japan's top sprinter Yoshitaka Ito. Early in May, it was announced that a banned substance was found in his urine sample. This was after the International Amateur Athletic Federation conducted a random anti-doping test in March. Although Ito went to Montreal to undergo a second test, he again tested positive for a kind of steroid called methyltestosterone. Ito will not be able to take part in any event for 4 years.

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