| Tokyo: Japan is aiming for a top five finish at the London Olympics 2012 with its athletes fired up in an effort to rewrite the country`s history in the Games.
Securing a place in the top five means Japan will have to win at least 15 gold medals.
Last time in Beijing, Japan only got nine gold medals and finished eighth. Japan`s Olympic Committee this time have geared up for its new target and prepared a lot, including widening the athletes` age range.
Japan`s two-time double Olympic champion, 29-year-old Kosuke Kitajima, earlier this month secured his fourth appearance in the Games, winning his qualifying race at the national swimming championships in Tokyo.
Kitajima said he gained more confidence as he improved his personal best record, but "it`s not enough to compete against the top swimmers in the world, I`ll do my best to improve further", he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Japan men`s marathon team has also been finalized and will be made up of Arata Fujiwara, Ryo Yamamota and Kentaro Nakamoto.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) earlier announced its latest medals prediction for this summer`s London Olympics, saying Japan will rank eighth with 11 gold medals.
The ranking, which is different than Japanese Olympic Committee`s own target, was made based on results in Olympic sports, world championships and other major competitions in 2011.
The prediction said Japan will win gold medals in men`s hammer throw, gymnastics, judo and wrestling.
Also, Japan women`s football team, which just won the Women`s World Cup in 2011 for the first time, was a potential gold medal winner.
First Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 15:33