Double Asian Games champion Chisato Fukushima was named athlete of the year by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations on Wednesday.
“In the past, this honor has gone to athletes who have won medals overseas,” the 22-year-old Fukushima said. “Next year and the year after that, I hope I can perform worldwide like the recipients of this award before me.”
Fukushima became the first Japanese woman to sweep the 100 and 200 meters at last month’s Asian Games. She set national records at both distances this season.
Also recognized for outstanding achievement by the JAAF were javelin throwers Yukifumi Murakami, who won the men’s competition in Guangzhou, China, and women’s champion Yuki Ebihara.
Ebihara was the first Japanese to win the women’s javelin throw in 28 years.
“I never thought the javelin would get so much credit,” Murakami said. “I hope I can be honored next year as well.”
“I want to become more popular than Murakami-san,” Ebihara added.