Murofushi ends season in style

Kyodo

Olympic gold medalist Koji Murofushi wrapped up his 2004 season in style Thursday with a throw of 83.15 meters for his best effort this season in winning the men’s hammer throw at the Seiko super track and field meet.

In his final competition this season, Murofushi sealed his fourth victory in five years in the annual meet at International Stadium Yokohama by eclipsing his season-best of 82.88, while rewriting his own meet record of 82.08 set in 2001.

Hungary’s Krisztian Pars took second with a throw of 78.79 and Olympic silver medalist Ivan Tikhon of Belarus came third with 77.68.

After surpassing the 80-meter mark in four of his first five tries, national champion Murofushi fouled in his final throw as the hammer landed on the 100-meter track.

“Of course the meet was important but I was looking forward to receiving my gold medal today,” Murofushi said in reference to a post-event award ceremony organized by the Japanese Olympic Committee to present him with the gold stripped from Hungary’s Adrian Annus, who violated doping rules.

The one-day event attracted 49,810 fans for the most in the 17-year history of the meet.

In the men’s 100 meters, Justin Gatlin, who won the gold at the Athens Games in 9.85 seconds for the world’s fastest time this season, held the lead from start to finish and set a new meet record with a winning time of 9.97.

Fellow American Scott Leonard finished runnerup in 10.14 and Nobuharu Asahara took third for the second straight year in 10.20 in the race in which five of the nine finalists had clocked under 10 seconds in the past.

In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Dai Tamesue overcame a late charge mounted by Jamaican Kemel Thompson and crossed the finish line first in 48.59. Thompson finished second in 48.72.