LONDON – So far, so good.
Koji Murofushi, the reigning world champion, qualified second for the men’s hammer throw final Friday at Olympic Stadium.
The 2004 Olympic gold medalist had a season-best toss of 78.48 meters to finish atop Group A in qualifying.
Hungary’s Krisztian Pars had the top toss (79.37 meters) in the Group B. The final will be held on Sunday evening.
Armed with a Ph.D in the biomechanics of the hammer throw, the iconic Murofushi, 37, flung the object 77.18 meters on his first toss before reaching 78.48 on his second attempt.
Slovakia’s Primoz Kozmus had a mark of 78.12 on his first and only throw. A qualifying standard of 78.00 was an automatic entry mark for the final.
Murofushi is listed ninth among 12 competitors on the start list for Sunday.
Ukraine’s Olexiy Sokyrskiyy is ranked third (77.65) entering the final.
“I thought I threw pretty well,” said Murofushi. “The first throw was good enough, but I’m glad I threw a second time because I managed to get a better feel for the circle.”
Murofushi won the Athens gold after Hungary’s Adrian Annus was stripped of his medal due to failing a doping test. In Greece, he had a toss of 82.91. Four years later, he placed fifth (80.71) in Beijing.
Battling injuries for a few years after the 2008 Olympics, he returned to form to win the world title in Daegu, South Korea, last summer with a throw of 81.24. His career-best toss is 84.86, set in 2003.
Pars was miffed with event organizers after qualifying.
“There was a 30-minute delay at the beginning and I had to wait another 30 minutes when I went out,” he said. “This had a great impact on my performance. I’m satisfied with the result although I had to warm up twice.
“I am absolutely dissatisfied with the organization,” he stated.
Also Friday, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson was the fastest qualifier in the men’s 400-meter hurdles in 48.33 seconds.
Kerron Clement of the United States was second in 48.48, a season-best time, while Cuba’s Omar Cisneros was third in 48.63.
Later Friday, American Carmelita Jeter placed first in round one of the women’s 100 in 10.83.
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare zoomed to the finish line in 10.93 second and two-time defending 200 champion Veronica Campbell Brown of Jamaica was third in 10.94 seconds.
Chisato Fukushima was 32nd overall (11.41 seconds).