Friday, August 3, 2012

Japanese Olympic Team Profiles - Jumps and Throws

by Brett Larner

Japan's field contingent at the London Olympics is small, but every member is a world-level medalist, national record holder or national collegiate record holder.  Most eyes will be upon 2011 Daegu World Championships and 2004 Athens Olympics men's hammer throw gold medalist Koji Murofushi (Mizuno), who has previously indicated the intent to retire following London.  Murofushi was on top of his game in Daegu, but this spring he was lying low, taking his record 18th-straight national title with a throw of only 72.85 m.  Such a minimal-effort performance raised concerns about his fitness, but Murofushi typically brings his best to the major championships and, if fit, should move up far in the standings from his low-level seeded position.

If any other Japanese athletes are likely to figure into the top of the competition it will be in the men's javelin throw, where 2009 Berlin World Championships bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and his successor to the national title, collegiate record holder Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.) both qualified after a thrilling succession of meet record throws at June's National Championships/Olympic Trials.  Dean and Murakami now stand as the all-time Japanese #2 and #3 and are just outside the worldwide top ten for the year.  Both are still improving, Dean perhaps on a steeper curve, and with strong performances could build on Murakami's surprise medal in Berlin.  Murakami has reportedly been suffering injury issues since his PB at the Trials, so Dean may well be the better bet.

Men

Pole Vault
Seito Yamamoto
University: Chukyo University
Born Mar. 11, 1992

SB/PB: 5.62 m - NUR

Major Results:
national champion, 2012


Hammer Throw
Koji Murofushi
Sponsor: Mizuno
Born Oct. 8, 1974 in Aichi

SB: 81.24 m   PB: 84.86 - NR

Major Results:
national champion, 1995-2012
gold medal, 2011 Daegu World Championships
gold medal, 2004 Athens Olympics
bronze medal, 2003 Paris World Championships
silver medal, 2001 World Championships


Javelin Throw
Genki Dean
University: Waseda University
Born: Dec. 30, 1991

SB/PB: 84.28 m (all-time Japanese #2) - NUR

Major Results:
national champion, 2012
silver medal, 2010 Moncton World Jr. Championships
National H.S. champion, 2009

Yukifumi Murakami
Club: Suzuki Hamamatsu AC
Born: Dec. 23, 1979

SB/PB: 83.95 (all-time Japanese #3)

Major Results:
national champion, 2000-2010
gold medal, 2009 Guangzhou Asian Championships
bronze medal, 2009 Berlin World Championships
bronze medal, 1998 Annecy World Jr. Championships


Decathlon
Keisuke Ushiro
Club: Suzuki Hamamatsu AC
Born: July 24, 1986

SB/PB: 8073 - NR

Major Results:
national champion, 2010-2012
national university champion, 2008


Women

Pole Vault 
Tomomi Abiko
Club: Shiga Lake Stars AC
Born: Mar. 17, 1988 in Shiga

SB/PB: 4.40 m - NR

Major Results:
national champion, 2008, 2010-2012
national university champion, 2006-2009
7th, 2006 World Jr. Championships


Javelin Throw
Yuki Ebihara
Club: Suzuki Hammatsu AC
Born: Oct. 28, 1985

SB/PB: 62.36 - NR

Major Results:
national champion, 2006, 2008-2012
9th, 2011 Daegu World Championships
bronze medal, 2006 Asian Championships
5th, 2004 World Jr. Championships

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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