[NOTES on a SCORECARD] Javelin Star Haruka Kitaguchi’s Unforgettable Summer

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Haruka Kitaguchi, who made history in July with her bronze medal in the women’s javelin at the World Athletics Championships in the United States, added to her tally on August 6 when she won the League encounter diamond in Chorzow, Poland with a throw of 65.10 meters.

Kitaguchi’s win was his second of the Diamond League season, following his triumph at the Paris tie in June. Japan’s record holder in the javelin at 66.00, Kitaguchi stepped onto the podium again on August 10 at the Diamond League event in Monaco where she came second behind Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber.

The 24-year-old from Asahikawa, Hokkaido, is moving in the right direction with just two years until the 2024 Paris Olympics. the world championships, she is not a flash in the pan. She won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Cali, Colombia in 2015 at age 17.

Kitaguchi’s bronze in Eugene, Oregon may be just a footnote to many now, but his sheer, spontaneous joy at earning this honor embodies to me what the sport is all about.

She shot 63.27 on her final attempt on July 22 to earn a podium spot with gold medalist Barber (66.91) and silver medalist Kara Winger (64.05). United States.

Kitaguchi, who trains with coach David Sekerak in the Czech Republic, cried with joy when it became clear she had become the first Japanese woman in history to medal in a throwing event at the championships in the world or at the Olympics. She was so emotional after her achievement that she continued to cry even during her post-competition interview.

It was the kind of beautiful moment those who watch will never forget and illustrated that sport is at the heart of excellence and the satisfaction that comes with it.

Money is good, fame is good, but succeeding in the arena is what matters most to athletes. Nothing beats the joy of succeeding in competition.

Kitaguchi posted a heartfelt message on Twitter after reclaiming her bronze medal on July 22.

“Thank you for your support!” Kitaguchi wrote. “I am very happy to be able to write history. Even if I was told that I was different from the others, I am happy to have followed my own path. The challenge will continue. Thank you for your support.”

Triathlete Miyazaki dies in training accident

Every time a young person dies it is a tragedy, but especially when the individual is just beginning to blossom. Such was the case of Tsudoi Miyazaki, a 25-year-old triathlete from Toyama prefecture, who died while cycling near Orleans, France, on July 27, just days after competing in a Cup event. of the world in Pontevedra, Spain.

Miyazaki won the Japan Under-23 Triathlon Championships in 2019 and was expected to be one of Hinomaru’s top medal hopes in the event at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

World Triathlon said in a press release announcing Miyazaki’s death that local authorities in France were investigating the accident.

Japan Sumo Association moves Into the 21st century

The Japan Sumo Association recently launched an English-language YouTube channel, “Sumo Prime Time”, to help promote the sport overseas. Talk about too long, this is something that should have been done 10 years ago.

The JSA is a typical example of a bureaucratic sports organization that for years could not see the forest for the trees. For a very long time, he posted a message on his official website that said, “There is no English spoken in this office.

National interest and participation in sumo has been declining for years, primarily due to the sport being dominated by foreigners. Trying to develop the sport outside the country is a logical and wise move, as foreigners associate this ancient and traditional sport with Japan.

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The struggles on the ground in Osaka continue

Naomi Osaka’s athletic performance continues to decline. The four-time Grand Slam champion, who parted ways with her coach last month, lost in the second round of the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, California on August 5 to fellow American Coco Gauff in straight sets ( 6-4, 6-4).

Osaka then traveled to Toronto for the National Bank Open where she withdrew from her first round match against Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the second set due to a back injury while leading 7- 6 (7-4), 3-0.

Osaka, 24, who has struggled to get into shape for months, has lost in the first or second round of the last three tournaments she has played in, which is not encouraging given that the US Open n is only a few weeks away.

Matsuyama Out of St. Jude Championship as drama prepares for future

Hideki Matsuyama withdrew from the FedEx St. Jude Championship (August 11-14) due to a neck injury. Matsuyama, 30, still hopes to play in the BMW Championship (August 18-21) in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Tour Championship (August 25-28) in Atlanta.

The real news will come after the Tour Championship ends when Matsuyama could announce that he has joined LIV Golf. Rumors have been swirling for weeks that the Ehime Prefecture native has already signed to join the fledgling tour for a staggering sum of around 50 billion yen (nearly $375 million).

Kikuchi’s mediocrity continues with the Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi was bombarded in a start against the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 8, giving up three home runs and five earned runs over five innings in a 7-4 road loss. The loss dropped the left-hander’s record to 4-6 this season with a 5.13 ERA.

One has to wonder what lifespan Kikuchi, 31, has in MLB. The Iwate Prefecture native’s career record is 19-30 in four seasons with a 5.00 ERA.

Kikuchi, a former Seibu Lions ace, earns US$12 million (1.6 billion yen) this season in the first year of a three-year, $36 million (4.8 billion yen) contract. ) with the Blue Jays. He basically earns $1 million a month, but the numbers to justify that salary just aren’t there.

New pressure arena in Nagoya

The ground was laid July 27 for a new 15,000-seat arena in Nagoya that will host basketball, figure skating, concerts and other events. The Aichi International Arena will be located in the city’s Kita-ku, a 13-minute subway ride from Nagoya Station, and is expected to open in summer 2025.

The project is funded by a consortium that includes Maeda Corporation, NTT Docomo, Anschutz Sports Holdings and Chubu Nippon Broadcasting.

It’s great to see investment in new arenas in a country that badly needs it. Hopefully the city of Sapporo will benefit from a similar new venue to replace the outdated Makomanai Ice Arena (built in 1970) if it wins the right to host the 2030 Olympics.

Yuna Kim will marry singer Rim

Congratulations to retired South Korean skating star Yuna Kim, a gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, who recently announced that she is engaged to singer Koo Wo Rim.

Kim hung up her skates in 2014 after the Sochi Olympics where she was awarded silver in controversial circumstances. Kim, 32, has been dating Rim, 27, for three years after meeting at an ice show, her agency All That Sports revealed in a statement.

Kim’s battles with three-time world champion Mao Asada helped propel skating’s popularity in Asia before Yuzuru Hanyu came onto the scene.

Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a seasoned sports journalist and one of the world’s leading figure skating experts. Find Jack’s articles and podcasts on his author page, hereand find him on Twitter @sportsjapan.

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