Athletics: Japan hammer champ relishes Olympic challenge

TOKYO - Japan's world hammer throw champion Koji Murofushi has said he is thrilled at the chance of competing for a second Olympic gold this year, and may even continue his career until the next Games.

"It feels great and thrilling that I can throw in London. My life has never been so full as now," the 37-year-old told Japanese media in San Jose, California, where he has been preparing for his fourth Olympics.

He said that he aimed to compete at the 2013 world championships in Moscow, and held up the prospect of taking part in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Asked if he would compete in the Games in Brazil, he responded: "I will think about it after London. I think I can make that challenge depending on how I do."

He referred to his father Shigenobu, who earned the nickname the "Iron Man of Asia" after winning the hammer throw gold medal at the Asian Games five times and remaining in competition until the age of 41.

The senior Murofushi held Japan's national record for 23 years until his son broke it.

"I have the Iron Man's blood in my veins. I am following in his footsteps," said the younger Murofushi, who won the world title in Daegu, South Korea, last year with a throw of 81.24 metres.

Murofushi, now an assistant professor of sports science at Chukyo University in Nagoya, also has two world championship medals in his collection - the 2001 silver and the 2003 bronze.

He won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics after he finished second to Adrian Annus but the Hungarian was disqualified for refusing a doping test. His personal best is 84.86m he recorded in 2003.

"If I can constantly throw over 80 metres, I will be close to a medal," he added.

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