Haruka Kitaguchi Javelin Japan Representative Eyes Paris Olympics Gold | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Haruka Kitaguchi Javelin Japan Representative Eyes Paris Olympics Gold

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Heading to the Paris Olympics with clear vision!

Continuously throwing over 60 meters and winning at the first domestic match, the “Mito Invitational Track and Field”!

Following the DL Suzhou event, he improved his record to 61m in the final 6 throws, which is his specialty, as expected. Expectations for gold at the Paris Olympics!

“It was good to exceed 60 meters from the first throw, and I felt relieved. But the truth is, I wanted to throw a little more. There’s a real feeling that my sense and throwing aren’t quite syncing up, and there are parts that just don’t fit comfortably, so I end up thinking ‘I want to do this’ or ‘I want to do that’ just before throwing. It’s like, in sprinting terms, it’s like thinking between ‘On Your Marks’ and ‘Set’. “

Haruka Kitaguchi (26), a javelin thrower in track and field, recorded 61.83 meters to win at the Mito Invitational Track and Field, her second competition of the season and the first domestic match on May 5th. Following the Diamond League Suzhou meet (China) on April 27th, where top world athletes gathered, she started off well towards the Paris Olympics with consecutive victories. Nevertheless, her reflective remarks at the beginning likely stem from her understanding of the situation she’s in.

Last August, she won Japan’s first-ever gold medal in field events at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. In September, she extended her own Japanese record to 67.38 meters, and throughout the year, she ranked in the top 10 globally with five recorded performances. Kitaguchi is indeed a strong contender for the gold medal at the Paris Olympics.

“It will be tough to compete for a medal with just 61 meters at the Olympics,” Kitaguchi tightens her resolve. What’s in her mind is the state of throwing without thinking about anything.

“If I think about something at the moment of throwing, I feel like I’ll stop. I want to throw with a feeling of rushing through. With all my strength— I think practicing throwing without thinking about anything is necessary too.”

Her next competition is the Seiko Golden Grand Prix on May 19th at the Tokyo National Stadium. After that, she’ll return to Europe, where her training base is, to prepare for the Olympics.

“There were improvements compared to the Suzhou meet, and I know that if my condition improves, the records will come, so I want to adjust without rushing. I hope I can return to the good condition I was in last year. I want a medal in Paris, and preferably gold, right? (laughs)”

Confidence shines through her radiant smile.

She made a peace sign in front of the camera after her second consecutive win this season, but she was not satisfied with her record and said, “I’m not happy at all,” to tell the truth.

From the May 24, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text by Masao Kurihara Masao Kurihara PHOTO Tsutomu Kishimoto / PICSPORT

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