Haruka Kitaguchi captured her first world javelin throw title Friday, making her only the third Japanese woman to win a gold medal in the history of the world athletics championships.
Kitaguchi climbed to the top from fourth place with her sixth and last throw of 66.73 meters. She also became the first Japanese in athletics to earn a place at next summer’s Paris Olympics as she met the Olympic qualifying standard set by Japan’s athletics governing body.
Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi competes en route to winning gold in the women’s javelin throw final at the world athletics championships in Budapest on Aug. 25, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi (C) celebrates after winning gold in the women’s javelin throw final at the world athletics championships in Budapest on Aug. 25, 2023, alongside Flor Denis Ruiz Hurtado (R) of Colombia and Mackenzie Little of Australia, who won silver and bronze, respectively. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
The 25-year-old from Hokkaido picked up her second consecutive world championship medal, following last year’s bronze. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Kitaguchi settled for 12th place.
“I’m too excited to understand the situation,” Kitaguchi said. “My body feels so light. I feel like being in the air about 3 centimeters above the ground.”
Colombia’s Flor Denis Ruiz Hurtado finished second with a throw of 65.47 meters. Australia’s Mackenzie Little was third with a throw of 63.38 meters.
Asked how she felt when she made her last throw, Kitaguchi said, “I don’t remember at all. I have to watch the video. I got too noisy. I only remember I screamed.”
In the past, Junko Asari and Hiromi Suzuki won the women’s marathon at the 1993 and 1997 world championships, respectively.
Among Friday’s other events, Japan advanced to the final of the men’s 4×100-meter relay by placing third in Heat 1.
Noah Lyles of the United States won his third straight 200-meter crown in 19.52 seconds, adding to the 100-meter gold he won last Sunday.
Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson claimed her second consecutive 200-meter title in a meet-record 21.41 seconds.
Japanese javelin thrower Haruka Kitaguchi (bottom) and her Czech coach David Sekerak (top C) celebrate after her victory at the world athletics championships in Budapest on Aug. 25, 2023. (Kyodo)