Murakami to be Olympic captain

Kyodo

Men’s javelin thrower Yukifumi Murakami will captain the Japan team at the London Olympics and women’s wrestling champion Saori Yoshida has been chosen as the flag bearer, Kyodo News learned Monday.

Murakami, the 2009 world bronze medalist, also captained Japan at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, two years ago. Yoshida, the two-time defending Olympic gold medalist at 55 kg, has been handed her task for the first time.

“I heard about being captain today. I’m really surprised,” said Murakami,who will make his third consecutive Olympic appearance.

“Two years ago, I was able to use my experience as captain at the Asian Games in Guangzhou to motivate me to win the gold medal. Hopefully, it will inspire me this time, too. This is a great honor, and I humbly accept it,” he said.

Yoshida was flag bearer at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

“It is an honor to be given this task. I feel nervous, but I am happy that I will be able to lead the Japanese delegation,” Yoshida said. “I want to walk proudly with my head held high. I am happy I will be in the spotlight. I am also definitely determined to win my third straight gold medal.”

Japan will celebrate its 100th anniversary participating in the Olympics from its inaugural appearance at the 1912 Stockholm Games. An Olympic delegation ceremony is scheduled for July 21 in Tokyo before the London Games kick off on July 27.

“I believe they feel the weight of history, and I am sure they will be up to the challenge of fulfilling their duties,” said JOC senior director Noriyuki Ichihara.