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Olympic hero hammers home Tokyo bid

india Updated: Sep 30, 2009 22:56 IST

Tokyo hosting the 2016 Olympic Games would serve as a role model for the rest of the century, Japan's 2004 men's hammer Olympic champion Koji Murofushi told AFP on Wednesday.

Murofushi, who also took bronze in the 2008 Games in Beijing, said it was something the International Olympic Committee could pass on to the future generations of athletes should Tokyo beat rivals Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid in the vote by the 100-plus IOC members in Copenhagen on Friday.

"Rio de Janeiro might be bidding to become the first South American city to host the Olympics but we are considering huge dreams," the charismatic Murofushi told AFP.

"Firstly with regard to improving the environment and also as a role model of a Games to give to the IOC who can then hand it on as an example to future generations of athletes for the rest of the century.

"It will bring with it a lot of meaning and valuable lessons for the Olympic Movement."

Murofushi, whose father was the previous Japanese hammer throw record holder and a five-time Asian Games champion whilst his Romanian mother was a top class javelin thrower, said that the Games in Tokyo would restore something which he believed was missing from the competition at the moment.

"Training of athletes has improved as has the nutritional side," said Murofushi, who on both occasions he won Olympic medals has been promoted because others who finished higher have been caught doping.

"However, there is something missing and I believe that is the purity of the Ancient Greek philosophy surrounding the Games. This is something we would restore."

Murofushi, whose grandmother was a sprinter but even aged 89 still manages 10 push-ups a day having fallen in love with it when she saw it on television, said that promoting Tokyo round the world had given him great pleasure.

"I have already got so much out of sports and this is a great chance to repay that and give it back to the next generation of athletes," said Murofushi, who is a two-time world championship minor medallist and two-time Asian Games champion.

Murofushi, whose father Shigenobu carried the torch in his home city when Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics, said that victory on Friday would be a nice early birthday present for him (he turns 35 on October 8) and even more so for his father as it is his 64th birthday on the day of the vote.

However, he said that should Tokyo win it would even trump his Olympic gold medal.

"It is very hard to say, but I think that it would be more huge than a gold medal," said Murofushi, who believes he will make the 2012 Games in London but not the following one.

"Here I am selling the Olympic Games not participating in it.

"Everyone has a dream."