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National Champion Saku Chosei H.S. Head Coach Masaru Takamizawa on the Pros and Cons of Further Restricting International Athletes at the High School Level

by Dai Yamazaki The "foreign student problem" is always a hot topic in the ekiden world, and this season will see big changes to the rules in high school ekidens. There has always been a lot of trial and error when it comes to international students in the ekidens, but what do the coaches on the front lines of competition think about these changes? We talked to Masaru Takamizawa , head coach of last year's National High School Boys Ekiden champion Saku Chosei H.S. which ran the fastest time in the race's 74-year history while using an all-Japanese lineup. The major rule changes regarding the use of non-Japanese athletes in high school ekidens were announced at the end of last year. Non-Japanese runners first appeared on the scene in high school running in the early 1990s and have been the source of constant debate since then. Restrictions have gradually tightened. In 1995 a rule limiting teams to one non-citizen in their starting lineup was announced. In 2008 non-Ja
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Sasaki Runs 8:39.15 at Hokushinetsu, 2nd-Fastest High School 3000 mSC Ever

On the final day of the Hokushinetsu Region National High School Championships qualifier Sunday at Niigata's Denka Big Swan Stadium, Saku Chosei H.S. 3rd-year Tetsu Sasaki won the boys' 3000 m steeplechase in 8:39.15, the 2nd-fastest time ever by a Japanese-born high schooler. A day earlier Sasaki had run 9:06.93 in his qualifying heat. In the final he was out fast from the gun, but although he missed both the high school record of 8:32.12 set by Saku Chosei teammate Soma Nagahara and Nagahara's 8:36.06 meet record at last year's Hokushinetsu Regionals, Sasaki's time took over 10 seconds off the 8:50.04 PB he set at May's Nagano Prefecture High School Championships, the race in the video above. It also made him the fourth Japanese-born high schooler to break 8:40 in the 3000 mSC, just bettering the former high school record of 8:39.37 set by Tokyo Olympics 7th-placer and future national record holder Ryuji Miura . Born in Aichi, Sasaki joined the TSM club t

Yamagata Breaks 100 m U20 NR, Yanagita 9.97 at National University Individual Championships

At the high school, university and corporate league levels, national championships on the track are at an odd time in the Japanese calendar. After regional championships in May, college students and corporate leaguers don't have their national championship meets until September right after summer mileage base building for ekiden season. High schoolers have their regional meets in June, then their Nationals in August. The National University Track and Field Individual Championships , aka the All Japan University Track & Field Challenge Meeting, happens more when you'd expect, ever mid-June in Kanagawa, but without a team component, no relays, no team scoring, and missing a few events, it's not a major event and doesn't usually bring in much of the main collegiate talent. Two weeks out from the outright National Championships, this year was an exception at the Individual Championships with seven new meet records. The biggest out of them was in Saturday's women'

National Track and Field Championships Entry Lists

Entry lists are out for Japan's National Championships at the end of the month in Niigata. Top three there with the standard or inside their event quota is the primary way for people who haven't yet to score places on the Paris Olympics team, and it's notable that three people with the standard, Abdul Hakim Sani Brown in the men's 100 m, Ryuji Miura in the men's 3000 mSC, and Shunsuke Izumiya in the men's 400 mH, are giving Nationals a miss. One effect of their absence is that it improves the chances that other people are going to make the Paris quota on points, especially in the 100 m and steeple where Sani Brown and Miura are the only ones with the standard and likely to still be that way post-Nationals. Whether that's intentional only they can say, but it's interesting that one outcome of the World Athletics world rankings system is that in a way it encourages top talent to skip their National Championships to help out their teammates. But the mos

Aomori Athletics Association Censured Over Former Director's Use of Funds to Buy Home Appliances

On June 10th the Aomori Prefectural Sports Association handed down a warning to the Aomori Athletics Association after a former AAA director who resigned in April this year had improperly used funds to buy home appliances for personal use in 2019. The director, who had been in charge of accounting at the AAA, conducted a bank transfer of over 180,000 yen (~$1650 USD at the time) from the AAA account to pay for the appliances. The director was found to have created false documents to cover the purchase, which was conducted online. The fraud was discovered in May, 2019 after other members of the AAA executive board investigated, and the director repaid the full amount the next month. These details of the case had been kept internally among the executive board for the last five years. In the APSA censure issued this week, it directed the AAA to take action to ensure proper management and operation procedures. source article: https://www.aba-net.com/news/news-115299.html translated and

Yuta Koga Aiming for Gold Medal in Olympic Debut

Two months out from his Olympic debut in the Paris Olympic Games in the men's 20 km race walk, Yuta Koga talked to media during a practice session in Naruto on June 10 about his hopes for his first Olympics. A native of Fukuoka, Koga, 24, belongs to the Otsuka Seiyaku corporate team. At the 2023 Budapest World Championships he was the top Japanese placer at 12th. In February this year he chopped almost a minute off his PB to finish 3rd in 1:17:47 and secure his place on the Paris team. "I'd been shooting for the Olympics for a long time, so when I made it I was half happy and half just relieved," he said. "Now I've got more of a sense of responsibility and awareness. At this point I'm in the base phase of what you'd call the training pyramid. The pace of my workouts isn't that fast, but I'm going long to build up leg strength and endurance, and then we'll add speed to that. I want to aim high, set high goals, and work toward achieving th

Breaking Down the Potential Japanese Team in Paris pt. 2

An update on standings for Japan's potential team at this summer's Paris Olympic Games. Final team nomination in most cases depends on a top 3 finish at the National Track and Field Championships, but as of this writing events where Japan could or will field three athletes having cleared the Olympic standard are the men's 110 mH, men's 400 mH, men's 20 kmRW and women's marathon. Other events that will or are likely to have a complete squad of three athletes include the men's 100 m, men's 200 m, men's 400 m, men's high jump, men's marathon, women's 5000 m, women's 10000 m, women's javelin throw, and women's 20 kmRW. Main changes from last week: Koki Ueyama moved up to 36th of 48 in the men's 200 m quota, passing Shota Iizuka for #2 Japanese man. Yuta Sakiyama was 2nd in the men's javelin throw at the Josef Odlozil Memorial in Prague and broke into the Paris quota at 32nd of 32. Misaki Morota was 2nd in the women

Toyo's Ishida and Waseda's Yamaguchi Lead Entries for National University Men's Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier

On June the KGRR released the entry lists for the Kanto Region qualifying race for the Nov. 3 National University Men's Ekiden. Taking place June 23 at Kanagawa's Sagamihara Gion Stadium, the Kanto Region qualifier consists of four heats of 10000 m, with participating school fielding two runners per heat and scored on the total time of its eight entrants. The seven fastest teams will go on to November's Nationals. Going for its 11th-straight Nationals appearance, Tokai University is led by 3rd-duo Hisaya Hanaoka , who was a standout at last month's Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships, and Judah Hyodo . Tokai's combined time of 3:48:37.21 for its eight entrants makes it the fastest in the field, an average of 28:34.65 per runner. 4th-year Yuto Kajitani and 3rd-year Makoto Takewari also feature in Tokai's lineup. Missing the podium at Nationals last year, Toyo University is back at the Kanto qualifier for the first time in two years. In the