Murofushi highlights world championship squad

Kyodo News

Reigning Olympic champion Koji Murofushi and 400-meter hurdler Dai Tamesue are among 72 Japanese athletes selected to compete in next month’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Osaka, the Japan Association of Athletics Federations said Monday.

Hammer thrower Murofushi will be making his seventh straight world championship appearance at the Aug. 25-Sept. 2 event at Nagai Stadium.

Murofushi and Tamesue, who won bronze at the 2005 championships in Helsinki, and nine others were newly added to the list after qualifying through the national championships this past weekend in Osaka.

Sprinter Nobuharu Asahara was named to the squad after a selection committee meeting Monday. Murofushi will tie former 50-km race walk national champion Fumio Imamura for the most consecutive appearances at a world championships.

The JAAF had already announced the names of 10 qualified marathon runners — five men and five women — in March but said Monday that Wataru Okutani has pulled out of the men’s event as he is not fit enough to compete. Okutani will be replaced by reserve runner Tomoyuki Sato.

Toshinari Suwa, Satoshi Osaki, Tsuyoshi Ogata and Mitsuru Kubota make up the rest of the men’s marathon team, while the women’s team features Reiko Tosa, Mari Ozaki, Yasuko Hashimoto, Kiyoko Shimahara and Yumiko Hara.