Koji Murofushi competing in Osaka (Courtesy of Osaka GP) © Copyright
General News

Koji Murofushi back in Japan with a new record

Hello everyone, how are you all doing?

After two competitions in Europe, in Czech Republic and in Greece, I am back in Japan. The weather is not good here in Japan, however.  It is raining every day (which is expected because it is a rainy season now), but I am happy that I can eat Japanese food. 

On June 29, I competed at Josef  Odlozil Memorial meet in Prague, Czech Republic.  I threw 84.86m (Asian record) in Prague, which was quite surprising.   So far this season, I have been very consistent, throwing 82m to 83m range in all my previous competitions (82.36m in Toyota, 82.95m in Osaka GP, 82.67m in Toyota. and 83.29m in national championships in Yokohama).  Considering the weather, the condition of the throwing circle and my competitions in Prague, I thought that it was possible for me to throw near my personal best (83.47m from 2001).  However, 84.86m throw was beyond my expectations, and I could not quite contain my emotion afterwards. 

Coincidentally, before I left Japan for Europe, both my sister (Yuka who throws a discus and a hammer) and my friend had the same dreams, in which I recorded an 84m throw.  However, I did not expect such a dream to turn into reality.   

In the competition, after slowly improving to 82.13m in the first four rounds, my record throw of 84.86m came in the fifth round.  On my sixth and the final throw, I tried to throw the hammer exactly the way I did on my fifth throw.  I wanted to re-live the motion of the record throw and to reinforce what my body had learned on the movement required to produce the 84m throw. 

After the competitions, I was a tourist and had nice time in Prague.  I found that Czech people were very nice and very kind.  The city appeared to be built around the Vltava (Moldau in German) River.  I would like to mention that we Japanese know about Moldau River because we learn about it through Smetana’s music, which was taught in junior high school music class.  What I saw in the town was quite contrasting atmosphere between the daytime and the night, highlighted by the view of the castle and bridges over the Moldau River.  I thought the view of the town at night with all the lights was quite beautiful. 

After the competitions in Prague, I traveled to Budapest, Hungary to train in Nep Stadion (the venue of 1998 European Championships in Athletics, where Hungarians Tibor Gecsek and Balazs Kiss finished one-two in the hammer throw).  The purpose was to get ready for my next competition in Greece.  Thanks to Tibor Gecsek, the hammer thrower who retired at the end of the last year, my training at Budapest was quite successful.  Tibor was quite busy, however, because he was involved in the organization of the upcoming 2004 World Indoor Championships in Athletics. 

My next competition was in Rethimno in the Greek island of Crete on July 6.  Because I was welcomed so warmly, I felt that I must do my best.  I won the competition with 82.57m.

After the competition in Greece, I flew back to Japan, and everyone gave me a great welcome at the Nagoya International airport.  Everyone being so happy for me reinforced my desire to continue to do my best in the future.  Incidentally, I would like to mention that the number eighty-four (84) has special significance in my family.  The name of my grand mother is Yatsuyo, which is written in Chinese character (Kanji) as 84, the numeral eight (8) followed by the numeral four (4). It may be said that my throws have now caught up with my grandmother’s name.  

I have not yet decided on the venue of my next competition.  For now I would like to concentrate on training. 

Finally, I would like to write about another aspect on the physics of hammer throwing.  The distance the hammer travels in air, of course, depends on the initial conditions at the time of the release by the thrower.  The initial conditions which determine the distance the hammer travels in air, as in the case of any flying object are, initial velocity of the hammer, its release angle (the angle between the initial velocity vector and the horizontal (ground)), and its release height (above the ground).  The most important initial condition is its initial (release) velocity.  With other parameters being the same, higher the initial (release) velocity further the hammer travels before hitting the ground.  According to the research conducted by Ralf M Otto, the initial (release) velocity of the hammer, when Yuriy Sedykh recorded his world record, was 30.7m/second.  It was the fastest initial (release) velocity ever recorded.  Converting to the more familiar term, the hammer was moving at 110Km/hour when it left Yuriy’s hand.

We hammer throwers strive to increase this initial (release) velocity of the hammer.  It is our continuing theme.