• Kyodo

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World silver medalist Koji Murofushi on Sunday won the hammer throw competition at the Grand Prix II meet in Prague with a new Japan record of 84.86 meters — the world’s best mark this season.

News photo Koji Murofushi celebrates after recording the best hammer throw of the year and the third
best of all time with a distance of 84.86 meters at the Grand Prix II meeting in Prague on
Sunday.

With an 81.76 throw, Murofushi was the only one in a field of nine who cleared the 80-meter line in his first try before going on to set the third-best throw ever in his fifth attempt, eclipsing his own national record of 83.47 set in July 2001.

“I couldn’t believe it. I thought it barely reached 83 meters. The throwing circle was slippery, but I took advantage of that. I pretended it was just another practice, where I always try and think of ways to better my personal record,” the 28-year-old said.

The nine-time national champion is Japan’s gold medal hope in the World Championships to be held in Paris in August as well as in next summer’s Athens Olympics, where he will aim to rewrite the world record of 86.74 set by Yuri Syedikh of the then Soviet Union in 1986.

“This is an amazing record. He hasn’t been injured this season and he is moving quite well, so I thought that he’d be able to throw over 84 meters this year but I had no idea that he’d come so close to 85,” said father and coach Shigenobu Murofushi.

His father held the Japanese national record of 75.96 before Koji broke it in 1998. “Koji has moved closer to equaling the world record held by Syedikh. This is definitely a record he can be praised for,” the older Murofushi said.

Elsewhere for Japan, Nobuharu Asahara placed fifth in the men’s 100 meters with a time of 10.26 seconds and Dai Tamesue clocked 49.81 and was fifth in the men’s 400-meter hurdles.

In other competition, American Stacy Dragila won the pole vault with a leap of 4.51 meters.

Another American, Jon Drummond, won the 100 meters in 10.10 seconds, while Ron Bramlett won the 100 hurdles in 13.27.

John Godina of the United States, a three-time world champion, won the shot put with a throw of 20.74 meters, while countryman Adam Nelson was second with a throw of 20.71.

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