Two-time national champion Fumikazu Kobayashi broke the Japanese record Saturday in the men’s 1,500 meters with a 3 minute, 37.42 second showing at an international athletics competition in Belgium, Japanese athletics officials said Sunday.

Kobayashi, running in a B-class race at the IAAF Grand Prix II meet in Heusden, finished fifth and shaved 0.82 second off the previous national mark set by Takashi Ishii in 1977, which had been the oldest Japanese record in athletics until Saturday.

No Japanese athletes will compete in the men’s 1,500 at the Athens Olympics later this month.

Elsewhere in Olympic news: Yuka Murofushi, taking part in her last competition before the Athens Olympics later this month, renewed the Japanese national record in the women’s hammer throw at 67.77 meters on Sunday.

Murofushi, who set a national record twice in June, stretched her best mark by 1.09 meters at the Sprint Challenge Cup, a domestic event for top sprinters.

She is the younger sister of Koji Murofushi, world bronze medalist and 10-time national champion in men’s hammer throw, who also participated in Sunday’s event.

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