Murakami retains Asian javelin title


World bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami won the men’s javelin with a personal-best throw of 83.27 meters at the Asian Athletics Championships on Sunday.

Murakami bettered his previous mark by 12 centimeters and successfully defended his title at the championships at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium.

South Korea’s Park Jae Myoung took second with an 80.19-meter effort and Ivan Zaitcev of Uzbekistan was third with 79.22.

“I’m not happy with this personal best because that throw would’ve been two or three meters longer,” Murakami said, explaining that his javelin veered somewhat to the left.

“I’ll try to throw 85 meters at the upcoming world championships and compete with the world’s best guys.”

Murakami is 18th in the world rankings this season.

Chisato Fukushima proved her Asian No. 1 billing by winning the 200 meters, the only individual event she entered in the four-day meet, in 23.49 seconds.

“I’m just glad I won,” said Fukushima, who won a 100-200 double at the Asian Games in China’s Guangzhou last November. “But things didn’t go too well for me, and I could definitely go faster than that.”

Gretta Taslakian of Lebanon was a distant second in 24.01. Saori Imai placed third in 24.06.

Qatar’s Femi Seun Ogunode clocked 20.41 seconds to win the men’s 200 meters, the event he won at the Asian Games. Japan’s Hitoshi Saito was second in 20.75.

Former Olympic champion Liu Xiang of China won the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a meet record of 13.22.

The women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase title went to Minori Hayakari, who crossed the finish line in 9 minutes, 52.42 seconds, also a meet record.

Japan won all four relay titles on the final day — the men’s and women’s 4×100 and 4×400 races.

The host country finished with 11 gold medals in the meet, which doubled as the final qualifier for the world athletics championships starting Aug. 27 in Daegu, South Korea.