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Kusu Runs Steeplechase World-Leading Time, Yabuta and Yoshimura Break National Records, Tanaka Just Misses Fukushi's NR - Kitami and Liege Highlights

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw the fourth meet in this year's five-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series, this time in the town of Kitami. The program included the little-raced 2000 m steeplechase as a tuneup for Monday's series-closing Abashiri meet, and in both the women's and men's races the national records went down. A top collegiate steepler while at Kyoto Sangyo University, Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) ran 6:27.74 to break the women's record. In the men's race 1500 m specialist Yasunari Kusu (Ami AC) surprised many by breaking the Japanese national record with a world-leading 5:31.82 despite little experience in the steeple.

The women's 3000 m in Kitami was more explicitly set up as a national record attempt, with four of the ten fastest Japanese women ever over the distance lined up to gun for the great Kayoko Fukushi's 8:44.40 record dating back to 2002. From the gun it was out at NR pace, with pacers Hellen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) an…

Japan Tops Universiade Medal Count With 33 Golds

A global celebration of university student sports, the closing ceremonies for 30th anniversary Summer Universiade took place July 14 in Napoli, Italy to bring 12 days of competition across a range of collegiate sports. Japanese athletes took part in all 15 categories of competition, winning a total of 33 gold medals to rank #1 worldwide in the medal count standings. Japanese athletes also won 21 silver medals and 28 bronze for a total of 82 medals overall, also ranking #1. Russia scored 82 medals total but had 22 golds, with China 3rd at 22 golds and 43 medals overall. The U.S.A. was 4th.

Just before the start of the closing ceremonies, Japanese delegation leader Ichiro Hoshino gave a positive evaluation of the teams's performance, saying, "I believe that our athletes in each area of competition carried their weight to help achieve this excellent result, and that that will provide momentum in Tokyo 2020." The next Summer Universiade takes place in Chengdu, China in 2021…

Hokuren Distance Challenge First Half Roundup

Most Japanese distance teams head north to Hokkaido for the summer to escape the heat and get ready for ekiden season. Part of that summer is the Hokuren Distance Challenge, a series of track meets in different towns across the island geared toward producing fast times, a domestic alternative to the European circuit. It's been a cooler and wetter summer than usual this year, but with the Doha World Championships coming later in the calendar that in normal years this time around the HDC has expanded from four to five meets. The first three meets in the series have come and gone, and with the two biggest still to come here's a summary of some of the better results so far.
Hokuren Distance Challenge Chitose MeetChitose, Hokkaido, 7/6/19
complete results

Women's 3000 m A
1. Hellen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 8:48.73
2. Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki TC) - 9:01.54
3. Momoka Kawaguchi (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:16.01
4. Nao Yamamoto (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:17.31
5. Sara Miyake (…

Japan Sweeps Half Marathon and Men's 20 km Race Walk Medals at Napoli Universiade

Japan pulled off three medal sweeps in the last two days of track and field competition at the 2019 Napoli Universiade, taking all three individual medals and the team gold medals in the men's 20 km race walk and both the women's and men's half marathons.

Koki Ikeda kicked off the medal rush Friday with a 1:22:49 win in the men's 20 km race walk, opening more than 30 seconds on teammates Masatora Kawano and Yuta Koga. The next morning the Japanese women followed the walkers' lead, waiting until the third time around the three-lap course to drop the competition. Just 19, 2019 National University Half Marathon champion Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) was really impressive over the last two kilometers, seeming to be going at an all-out sprint and opening more than 20 seconds on Rika Kaseda (Meijo Univ.) and Yuki Tagawa (Matsuyama Univ.) for the win in 1:14:10.

#ユニバーシアード2019
男子ハーフマラソン

スタジアムで表彰待ちをしていたら伊藤くんが繰り上げで3位になった情報が入ってビックリ😳
中国人選手が指定の場所以外で給水を取ったので失格になったのですが、そのシーンを観てて給水…

Kitaguchi Lands Javelin Silver at Napoli Universiade

Following up the pair of silvers and single bronze medal on the first two days of track and field competition at the 2019 Napoli Summer Universiade, women's javelin national champion Haruka Kitaguchi (Nihon Univ.) was the only Japanese athlete to win a medal on the third and fourth day of the international competition, throwing 60.15 m to take silver behind Lithuanian gold medalist Liveta Jasiunaite's winning 60.36 m throw.

A gold medalist in the men's 4x100 m at the 2017 Universiade, Jun Yamashita (Tsukuba Univ.) was 0.03 from a bronze in the men's 200 m this time around, running 20.58 (+0.5 m/s) behind Ireland's Marcus Lawler. Paulo Andre Camilo (Brazil) won gold in 20.28. Masaki Toyoda (Hosei Univ.) was also 4th in the men's 400 m hurdles, running 49.27. Alison Santos (Brazil) led all three medalists under 49 seconds with a 48.57 for gold.

The three other Japanese finalists over the third and fourth days all finish 6th through 8th in their events. Track and…

Goshima and Abe Score 10000 m Silver at Napoli Universiade

Japan picked up three meals in the first two days of athletics competition at the 2019 Napoli Summer Universiade in Italy, including silver medals in both the women's and men's 10000 m. After three aborted starts thanks to problems with the starting gun Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) got things moving on July 8 in the women's 10000 m, losing out in a close finish 34:03.31 to 34:04.65 to China's Deshun Zhang, with teammate Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka Univ.) just as close behind her in the bronze medal position.

Sub-28 man Hiroki Abe (Meiji Univ.) kept it going on the 9th with a silver in the men's 10000 m in an even closer finish behind South African Mokorane Milton Kekana, 29:29.43 to 29:30.01. Hakone Ekiden First Stage king Kazuya Nishiyama (Toyo Univ.) was off his game, finishing just 8th over 40 seconds back from Abe in 30:10.65.



In the other two finals featuring Japanese athletes on the first two days of the Universiade, Japan's finalists both took last place. …