by Brett Larner
Following Yoshimi Ozaki's silver medal in the women's marathon, little-known Yukifumi Murakami earned Japan its second medal of this year's World Championships with a bronze in the men's javelin. Coming into the qualification round with a PB of 81.71, only the eighth-best in the field, Murakami shot to attention when he threw 83.10 on his second attempt, earning him the number two ranking going into the final and making him the first Japanese athlete in decades to make a javelin final.
With the national eye abruptly turned toward him, Murakami took the pressure in stride and again broke his pre-Championships PB with a throw of 82.97 to edge out Latvia's Vadims Vasilevskis for the bronze. Apart from the great hammer thrower Koji Murofushi, Murakami's medal was Japan's first-ever field medal. With this unexpected success he will return to Japan a star alongside Ozaki.
2009 Berlin World Championships - Top Results
1. Andreas Thorkildsen (Norway) - 89.59
2. Guillermo Martinez (Cuba) - 86.41
3. Yukifumi Murakami (Japan) - 82.97
4. Vadims Vasilevskis (Latvia) - 82.37
5. Tero Pitkamaki (Finland) - 81.90
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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