Haruka Kitaguchi Claims Victory in Tokyo, Sets Sights on Paris Olympics

Haruka Kitaguchi Tokyo victory

Tokyo (AFP) – Haruka Kitaguchi, the reigning women’s javelin world champion from Japan, demonstrated her growing form as she clinched victory at the Golden Grand Prix in Tokyo on Sunday, setting the stage for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The 26-year-old athlete unleashed a final throw of 63.45 meters, propelling herself into first place, ahead of Colombia’s Flor Denis Ruiz Hurtado with 62.06 meters and New Zealand’s Tori Peeters with 61.26 meters.

Kitaguchi’s victory in Tokyo follows her thrilling triumph last year in Budapest, where she became the first Japanese woman ever to secure a world championship title in a field event. Her success continued with a win at the 2023 Diamond League finals, underscoring her ambition for further achievements at the Paris Games in just over two months.

Reflecting on her performance, Kitaguchi remarked, “I’ve dedicated the past two weeks to refining my physical conditioning, and it feels like I’m regaining my peak form. While I’m pleased with the win, I aimed to hit the 63-meter mark earlier in the competition.”

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Having competed in her second Olympics three years ago in Tokyo, where she finished 12th, Kitaguchi eyes a podium finish in Paris. Despite her stellar performance, she acknowledged the competitive landscape, stating, “Today’s throws may not suffice for an Olympic medal in Paris, but I’m committed to intense preparation over the next few weeks to elevate my performance.”

Kitaguchi’s pursuit of excellence extends beyond personal glory; she aims to popularize javelin throwing in Japan. Encouraged by the enthusiastic turnout at Sunday’s event, she expressed gratitude, saying, “The vibrant crowd here today created an electrifying atmosphere, reminiscent of international competitions. Their support fuels my determination.”

As Japan’s leading athletics medal contender in Paris, Kitaguchi remains poised to captivate audiences not only on the global stage but also at next year’s world championships in Tokyo.

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