Murakami, Fukushima head team


World javelin bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami and Asian sprint queen Chisato Fukushima were among 50 named to Japan’s world athletics championships team on Monday.

Former Olympic gold medalist Koji Murofushi will make a Japanese record ninth appearance in the men’s hammer throw. Japan sent a delegation of 57 to the 2009 world championships in Berlin, where it won two medals — Murakami’s bronze and a silver by Yoshimi Ozaki in the women’s marathon.

“I know I’ll be counted on to do just as well as I did last time,” said Murakami, who threw a personal best of 83.27 meters at the Asian athletics championships on Sunday. “But first and foremost, I want to make sure that I actually get to the final.”

The Japan Association of Athletics Federations expects to improve on its medal haul at the Aug. 27-Sept. 4 event in Daegu, South Korea. Japan has never won more than four medals (in 2003) at a single championships.