Wednesday, October 7, 2015

High Schooler Shimada 9:01.87 to Win National Sports Festival Junior Women's 3000 m

by Brett Larner
videos by Ekiden News

Just over a week after breaking into both the all-time Japanese junior and high school girls’ 3000 m top ten with a 9:01.23 best at Saitama’s Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, 2015 National High School Championships 3000 m runner-up Miho Shimada (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) was back with another big run to cap the 2015 National Sports Festival at Wakayama’s Kimiidera Park Field on Oct. 6.

After a slow 3:10 opening 1000 m Shimada effortlessly pulled away, dueling with Kenyan Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) as she pushed the pace well under 3:00/km.  Shimada's relentless attack was enough for the win in 9:01.87 just off her fresh new best, Margaret dropping nearly 3 seconds behind for 2nd in 9:04.55. National High School Championships 4th-placer Shinobu Koyoshigawa (Sera H.S.) moved up one spot to take 3rd in 9:14.34, while National High School champion Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) could manage only 10th in 9:24.72.

The junior boys’ 3000 m was much closer, with the top three finishing within 0.75 seconds of each other.  Haruki Nago (Kurashiki H.S.), whose team won the season-opening Nihonkai High School Boys Ekiden just two days earlier, emerged from the melee to win in 8:23.19 over Taiki Inoue (Suma Gakuen H.S.) and Kosei Tanaka (Kobayashi H.S.).

National Sports Festival
Kimiidera Park Field, Wakayama, Oct. 2-6, 2015
click here for complete results

Junior Women’s 3000 m
1. Miho Shimada (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) – 9:01.87
2. Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 9:04.55
3. Shinobu Koyoshigawa (Sera H.S.) – 9:14.34
4. Naruha Sato (Eda H.S.) – 9:14.60
5. Rika Kaseda (Narita H.S.) – 9:16.35
6. Kanami Sagayama (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) – 9:17.58
7. Hana Omori (Kojokan H.S.) – 9:17.80
8. Ryo Koido (Meisui H.S.) – 9:19.87
9. Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) – 9:23.27
10. Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) – 9:24.72

Junior Men’s 3000 m
1. Haruki Nago (Kurashiki H.S.) – 8:23.19
2. Taiki Inoue (Suma Gakuen H.S.) – 8:23.89
3. Kosei Tanaka (Kobayashi H.S.) – 8:23.94
4. Chihiro Ono (Tsurusaki Kogyo H.S.) – 8:27.41
5. Koki Ishida (Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) – 8:28.56

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

First of the Big Three - Izumo Ekiden Entry Lists

by Brett Larner

The Izumo Ekiden has released the entry lists for this year's race on Monday, Oct. 12. The season-opening race on the Big Three men's university ekiden season calendar, Izumo returns for its 27th year after being canceled just before the race last year when a major typhoon hit the area.  Ten of the best men's university teams from the Tokyo area start their trip to the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden in Izumo alongside six schools from other parts of Japan, four regional select teams, and, from the U.S. an Ivy League Select Team, all racing over six stages totaling 45.1 km.  Click the chart below for complete entry lists and rankings for the top twelve teams in the field.

Five of the top seven teams are missing their best runner, among them 2015 Hakone Ekiden course record setter Aoyama Gakuin University. Despite the absence of 4th-year Daichi Kamino, a 1:01:21 half marathoner, AGU is ranked #1 in the field overall and, with a course record-setting Izumo win in 2012 behind it when Kamino and the other 4th-years were just starting out, it looks like the solid favorite.  2013 winner Komazawa University is almost dead-even with Yamanashi Gakuin University for 2nd, YGU missing its star Kenyan Enock Omwamba but bringing in 1st-year reserve Dominic Nyairo for his university ekiden debut.  2011 winner Toyo University and 2010 course record setter Waseda University are likewise almost even at 4th in the rankings, Waseda missing captain and 2014 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Koki Takada.

Meiji University, Tokai University and Chuo Gakuin University occupy the next tier of contenders for the 8-deep podium, Meiji running without sub-28 man Ken Yokote and Tokai lacking several key seniors.  The Ivy League Select Team, featuring an overwhelming Princeton presence, comes in ranked 9th and will need a better-than-average run to make the podium.  The Ivies aside, Kyoto Sangyo University is the top-ranked school from outside the Tokyo area at 12th but is well within range of Josai University and Daito Bunka University and could pull off a rare top 10 finish.

JRN will be on-site throughout the weekend to cover the race for Meter magazine and the Tracksmith website.  Look for coverage here and at both Meter and Tracksmith, uniform sponsors of the Ivy League Select Team.  Catch the live nationwide broadcast on Fuji TV starting at 12:55 p.m. on the 12th.

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, October 5, 2015

Kurashiki H.S. and Okazaki Gakuen H.S. Win First Kurayoshi Ekiden Titles

by Brett Larner

Okayama prefecture's Kurashiki H.S. and Aichi's Okazaki Gakuen H.S. took their first-ever wins at the season's first big nationwide high school ekiden in Kurayoshi, Tottori on October 4.  In the 35th edition of the boys' race, Kurashiki, splitting its team into A and B squads, started slow, its B-squad 21st and A-squad 25th after the 10.0 km First Stage.  The A-squad moved up to 14th on the 3.0 km Second Stage, and with a stage best by its third runner Maeda it moved up to 3rd at halfway.  Kurashiki A's next three runners juggled between 1st and 2nd places, and with a 38-second lead over Kyushu Gakuin H.S. for the 5.0 km anchor stage it looked safe for the win.

Safe, that is, until Kurashiki A anchor Koga ran only the 12th-best time on the final stage, while behind him Kyushu Gakuin anchor Ueda bore down with a stage best 15:15.  It looked like it would be close, but in the end Koga had the margin he needed and broke the tape in 2:06:55, Kurashiki's first time winning in Kurayoshi.  Ueda was just 5 seconds behind him in 2:07:00.  Saikyo H.S. A was 3rd in 2:07:13, while 2014 National High School Ekiden Sera H.S.' A-squad finished 6th in 2:07:50.  Kurashiki's B-squad was strong enough to land in 10th in 2:09:08, making its chances look good for challenging Sera at Nationals in December.

The girls' race, celebrating its 30th running, was a three-way battle the entire way between 2013 National High School Ekiden champion Toyokawa H.S., 2012 national champion Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. and the relatively unheralded Okazaki Gakuen girls.  Toyokawa's Sarumida led on the 6.0 km First Stage, but a stage best by second runner Kawaguchi put Okazaki Gakuen into the lead where they stayed through the Third Stage.  Ritsumeikan Uji's fourth runner Nishiuchi in turn ran a stage best to move two seconds into the lead over Okazaki Gakuen going into the 5.0 km anchor stage.  There Okazaki Gakuen's Mitsube brought her best, outrunning Ritsumeikan Uji's Yamamoto by 20 seconds to give Okazaki Gakuen its first win in 1:09:59.  Ritsumeikan Uji took 2nd in 1:10:17, Toyokawa 3rd a short distance back in 1:10:27.  Running without most of its big names including the Takamatsu sisters, 2014 national champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. was only 9th in 1:11:51.

35th Nihonkai High School Boys Ekiden
Kurayoshi, Tottori, 10/4/15
7 stages, 42.195 km, 126 teams
click here for complete results

Team Results
1. Kurashiki H.S. A (Okayama) - 2:06:55
2. Kyushu Gakuin H.S. (Kumamoto) - 2:07:00
3. Saikyo H.S. A (Yamaguchi) - 2:07:13
4. Saku Chosei H.S. (Nagano) - 2:07:39
5. Hotoku Gakuen H.S. A (Hyogo) - 2:07:43
6. Sera H.S. A (Hiroshima) - 2:07:50
7. Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. A (Hyogo) - 2:07:54
8. Omuta H.S. A (Fukuoka) - 2:08:50
9. Rakunan H.S. (Kyoto) - 2:09:02
10. Kurashiki H.S. B (Okayama) - 2:09:08

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (10.0 km) - Sakaguchi (Rakunan H.S.) - 29:44
Second Stage (3.0 km) - Ikeda (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. A) - 8:32
Third Stage (8.1075 km) - Maeda (Kurashiki H.S. A) - 24:07
Fourth Stage (8.0875 km) - Nishida (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 24:18
Fifth Stage (3.0 km) - Akazawa (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. A) - 8:39
Sixth Stage (5.0 km) - Mwaura (Kurashiki H.S. B) - 14:05
Seventh Stage (5.0 km) - Ueda (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 15:15

30th Kurayoshi High School Girls Ekiden
Kurayoshi, Tottori, 10/4/15
5 stages, 21.0975 km, 102 teams
click here for complete results

Team Results
1. Okazaki Gakuen H.S. (Aichi) - 1:09:59
2. Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. - (Kyoto) - 1:10:17
3. Toyokawa H.S. A (Aichi) - 1:10:27
4. Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. A (Hyogo) - 1:10:41
5. Kashiwa Nittai Prep H.S. (Chiba) - 1:11:07
6. Kamimura Gakuen H.S. (Kagoshima) - 1:11:15
7. Katsura H.S. A (Kyoto) - 1:11:32
8. Isahaya H.S. (Nagasaki) - 1:11:45
9. Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. A (Osaka) - 1:11:51
10. Sera H.S. (Hiroshima) - 1:12:13

Top Stage Performances
First Stage (6.0 km) - Sarumida (Toyokawa H.S. A) - 19:08
Second Stage (4.0975 km) - Kawaguchi (Okazaki Gakuen H.S.) - 13:14
Third Stage (3.0 km) - Matamura (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 10:09
Fourth Stage (3.0 km) - Nishiuchi (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 10:00
Fifth Stage (5.0 km) - Kitagawa (Kashiwa Nittai Prep H.S.) - 16:36

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ndiku Leads Weekend Track Results in Setagaya

by Brett Larner
video by Ekiden News

Two-time World Junior Championships 3000 mSC gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) led the weekend's track results, running just off his six-year-old 5000 m PB to win Tokyo's Setagaya Time Trials 5000 m A-heat by a wide margin in 13:13.16.  Ndiku outran all competition by more than 13 seconds, leading 22 men under 14 minutes including 7 other Japan-based Africans.  22-year-old Shota Shinjo (Team Honda) was the top Japanese man at 9th in 13:45.45, like Ndiku just missing his PB.

Southwest of Tokyo at the 70th anniversary National Sports Festival in Wakayama, this year's 10000 m national champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) won a close race over 5000 m national champion Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and top collegiate Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.), outkicking them by 0.7 seconds to take the national title in 15:33.51.  Onishi held off Nabeshima in a photo finish for 2nd, 15:34.21 to 15:34.23.

In the junior men's 5000 m, Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.), 13:50.51 at age 16 and 8:01.95 for 3000 m last month just after his 17th birthday and after finishing 5th as the top non-African in the 3000 m at July's World Youth Championships, let go with a hard kick over the last lap to drop Kenyan John Kariuki (Aomori Yamada H.S.) and top Japanese rivals including Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) for the win in 14:09.21.

Setagaya Time Trials
Kinuta Park Field, Tokyo, Oct. 3, 2015
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat 21
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:13.16
2. Joseph Chacha (Subaru) - 13:26.25
3. Samuel Mwangi (Konica Minolta) - 13:27.66
4. John Maina (Fujitsu) - 13:31.24
5. Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) - 13:32.51
6. Joseph Mumo (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:36.66
7. Joseph Onsarigo (ND Software) - 13:39.50
8. Mamiyo Nuguse (Yasukawa Denki) - 13:42.46
9. Shota Shinjo (Honda) - 13:45.45
10. Kei Fumimoto (Kanebo) - 13:47.65

National Sports Festival
Kimiidera Park Field, Wakayama, Oct. 2-6, 2015
click here for complete results

Senior Women's 5000 m
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:33.51
2. Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:34.21
3. Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 15:34.23
4. Hanae Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 15:34.59
5. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:36.10
6. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:38.53
7. Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 15:42.72
8. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) - 15:58.19
9. Yuko Kikuchi (Hokuren) - 16:04.60
10. Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 16:15.21

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 14:09.21
2. Kakeru Nakamura (Saikyo H.S.) - 14:10.34
3. Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) - 14:11.40
4. John Kariuki (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 14:11.83
5. Tomoki Ota (Hamamatsu Nittai Prep H.S.) - 14:12.32
6. Kazuya Nishiyama (Tonodai Prep Daini H.S.) - 14:14.37
7. Yuta Kanbayashi (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 14:14.86
8. Jun Kato (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:15.34
9. Junnosuke Matsuo (Akita Kogyo H.S.) - 14:16.98
10. Takato Suzuki (Ryutsu Keizai Prep Kashiwa H.S.) - 14:24.71

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, October 2, 2015

University Ekiden Season Kicks Off

by Brett Larner

October marks the start of the best part of the Japanese year, university ekiden season.  The key races among these road relays are big, high-level and massively popular with live nationwide broadcasts, and now that university women have finally achieved parity with the men at three major ekidens it's better than ever.  A quick guide to the season's main races, with detailed previews to follow.

Technically the women's season began last weekend with the regional qualifiers for the first of their big three races, the Oct. 25 Morinomiyako Ekiden in Sendai.  Serving as the National University Women's Ekiden Championships, Morinomiyako has been dominated by Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University for years and there is little sign of that changing.  The second main race on the women's calendar is its newest addition, the Nov. 29 Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden.  Still finding its feet, so far Irohazaka has proved popular with its unusual one-way uphill course that mirrors the most famous ekiden stage in Japan, the legendary Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage.  The season-ending National University Women's Invitational Ekiden has struggled to find a permanent home but its current incarnation seems to have hit the target with a new course in the foothills of Mt. Fuji that, unsurprisingly, supplies its new name of the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden.  With a new race date on Dec. 30 Mt. Fuji joins the long-running men's ekidens on Jan. 1-3 to make four days of live TV ekiden mania over the course of five at the New Year holidays, a good move for everyone involved.

The entire university men's year revolves around two of those days, the Hakone Ekiden on Jan. 2 and 3, but the season itself begins with the Oct. 12 Izumo Ekiden in Shimane.  Short and fast by Japanese standards, following the sudden demise this year of the International Chiba Ekiden Izumo is now the sole remnant of any kind of international aspect to the ekiden thanks to the presence of the American Ivy League Select Team.  The Japanese teams include the top ten from last season's Hakone Ekiden plus invited teams from across Japan.  49 schools in the Tokyo-centered Kanto Region not running Izumo line up a week later in Tokyo's Show Kinen Park for the world's greatest 20 km road race, the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifier where they are scored by the total times of their top ten finishers, the ten fastest schools making the cut for Hakone.

Nov. 1 is the date for the second of the men's big three races, the National University Men's Ekiden Championships near Nagoya.  Longer in distance than Izumo, Nationals again feature most of the best Kanto-region schools, notably four-time defending champion and course record holder Komazawa University, with top schools from the rest of the country.  It's a banner day for any non-Kanto school that can crack the top ten.  Two weeks after Nationals, most of the 20 schools in the Hakone field send the majority of their rosters to Saitama to run the Ageo City Half Marathon so that coaches can pare down the contenders for their final Hakone lineup of ten starters and six alternates.  In recent years the NYC Half Marathon invite available to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in Ageo has also attracted some of the country's top university stars, who previously had usually sat Ageo out given that their places at Hakone were already secure.

December consists of final training, mental and physical, for the peak of the season, Japan's greatest road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden.  Two days, ten stages of roughly half marathon distance including the Fifth Stage with over 800 m of climb and the Sixth back down, all with a live TV audience in the tens of millions.  There is simply nothing else like it in the sport anywhere else in the world.  In March, 2012, Aoyama Gakuin University head coach Susumu Hara told JRN that with his incoming class of first-years AGU would win Hakone in 2016.  In December, 2014 with that group of runners now third-years he again told JRN that while the team could win the 2015 Hakone Ekiden it wasn't a big deal if they didn't as their senior year in 2016 would be the culmination of his long-term development plan.  AGU then duly rocked an incredible course record win at Hakone 2015 that made the team and in particular Fifth Stage star Daichi Kamino into national celebrities.  What can they do this time?  Needless to say, the anticipation levels are high.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Year Out From Olympics, JAAF Seeks to Solve Problems by Creating New Committees and Dangling Carrots

translated by Brett Larner

At a meeting of its board of directors Sept. 30 in Tokyo, the JAAF made the decision to establish a new Strengthening Promotion Committee.  The new committee will have authority over the existing Strengthening Committee.  JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata, 56, commented, "Up to now our strengthening activities have focused on producing the best performances at a particular time, but from now on we want to consider strategy through a variety of eyes and minds."

Citing the Japanese performance at August's Beijing World Championships, where the national team's total of one bronze medal and two top eight performances fell far short of JAAF projections, the board approved the resignation of Strengthening Committee chairman Yasuhiro Harada.  The promotion of vice-chairman Kazunori Asaba was also approved pending the outcome of committee restructuring.  Along with Toshihiko Seko, Naoko Takahashi and Koji Murofushi, outside experts including coaches and gold medalists in a variety of disciplines were named to the executive committee made up of roughly ten people.

Within the JAAF's restructuring less than a year before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics lies a strong sense of crisis.  Newly-formed divisions include a Medical Science Information Committee and Women's Division within the Strengthening Committee.  Whether either will be able to effect dramatic change is unknown. 

Alongside the committee shuffling, the board also approved a new bonus structure for medals at the Rio Olympics.  A gold medal there will be worth 20 million yen [~$165,000 USD at current exchange rates], double the size of the carrot dangled before London Olympians.  Will this have any effect in producing medalists? 

The amount of the medal bonus depends on the medal's color and will be paid out through a combination of the relevant discipline's association, teams and sponsors.  Along with the 20 million yen gold medal bonus, silver medalists will receive 10 million yen [~$83,000 USD] and bronze medalists 8 million yen [~$66,000 USD].  In comparison, at the London Olympics cycling gold medalists received a 30 million yen bonus [~$380,000 USD at that time's exchange rate] while gold medalists in swimming received just 2 million yen [~$25,500 USD].  The JAAF bonuses are in addition to JOC bonuses of 3 million yen [~$25,000 USD] for gold, 2 million yen [~$16,500 USD] for silver and 1 million yen [~$8000 USD] for bronze.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hakone Ekiden's Star Fourth-Years Commit to Nation's Corporate Teams as Final College Ekiden Season Begins

translated and edited by Brett Larner

As university ekiden season begins with the Oct. 12 Izumo Ekiden, their job hunting in its final stages, fourth-year runners from all the major universities are deciding their future paths one by one.  The biggest star of the 2015 Hakone Ekiden, the "Third God of the Mountain" Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin University) will go on to 2013-14 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's champion Konica Minolta, while 30 km collegiate national record holder Yuma Hattori (Toyo University), targeting the marathon at next year's Rio Olympics, plans to join 2015 New Year Ekiden winner Toyota.  The country's best university runners plot their courses from Hakone beyond to the world stage early.

Kamino's super-fast run up the Fifth Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden powered Aoyama Gakuin on to the win and new legend status.  The chance to run with one of the runners he respects most, Tsuyoshi Ugachi, all-time Japanese #6 for the half marathon and #7 over 10000 m, was one of the reasons Kamino chose the powerhouse Konica Minolta team which features a number of other high-potential young runners like Masato Kikuchi, all-time Japanese #3 over the half marathon, and Keita Shitara, all-time #10 for the half.  Alongside his talented new teammates Kamino will chase his dream of "a medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics."

The "most popular" of this year's fourth-year class is Hattori.  Hattori holds the 30 km collegiate national record of 1:28:52 and won the Second Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden, its most competitive leg.  His extensive experience and ambitious attitude toward competing in the marathon earned him high marks from corporate team scouts, from whom he received countless offers.  Putting "the environment where I will become the strongest" as his ultimate criterion, Hattori selected the Toyota team.  Next year he aims to run the Rio Olympics marathon as "Toyota's Hattori."

Last year the Asahi Kasei team pulled off a stunning recruiting coup, pulling in seven of the best graduating runners including two sets of twins, Kenta Murayama (Komazawa University) and Kota Murayama (Josai University), and Hiroshi and Takashi Ichida (both Daito Bunka University).  Topping the recruiting drive for quantity of new talent this year is Fujitsu.  Its incoming members include Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.), the only Japanese collegiate to break 28 minutes for 10000 m this spring, Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin University), this year's Kanto Region 5000 m and 10000 m champion and 3000 mSC national champion and the runner AGU head coach Tsutomu Hara called "the strongest current Japanese university athlete," Tokai University captain Ryo Shirayoshi and Juntendo University captain Hiroki Matsueda.  After last year's mass influx of talent Asahi Kasei will bring in only Soka University ace Shuhei Yamaguchi.

Kamino's teammate at AGU Yusuke Ogura, the 2015 World University Games half marathon gold medalist, will join Yakult team.  Waseda University captain Koki Takada will follow former Waseda head coach Yasuyuki Watanabe to the Sumitomo Denko team, where Watanabe took over in April this year, reuniting the pair's master and pupil relationship.  Former Kyushu Gakuin H.S. teammates Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin University) and Shota Miyagami (Tokai University) will return home to join the Kyudenko team.  Miyagami said that the chance to train alongside Kubota, who he called "both a rival and a friend," again was one of his reasons for choosing Kyudenko.  Kenyan star Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin University) also plans a future in Kyushu at the Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki team alongside his former YGU teammate Hiroto Inoue.

Placing 2nd on the Ninth Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden and planning to tackle the marathon either at the Tokyo Marathon next February or the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon in March, Shin Kimura (Meiji University) will head to the Honda team along with 2014 National University Half Marathon champion Hideto Yamanaka, who recently quit the Nittai University team where he was part of its 2013 Hakone Ekiden-winning lineup.

Something of a novelty is Juntendo's Shoi Inada, who will start working for Kotobukiya, designers and manufacturers of anime-related figurines and toys.  Juntendo head coach Akira Nakamura supported Inada's choice, saying, "This is the perfect company for Inada.  He will be the only athlete there but I hope that he can find success and develop through the training he comes up with himself.  As a new style of corporate athlete I hope that he becomes one of Japan's best athletes."

The Hakone Ekiden was founded in 1920 with the goal of "cultivating world-class athletes."  The mission to live up to those ideals, should they choose to accept it, awaits this year's graduating seniors after their final time down Hakone's hallowed roads on January 2nd and 3rd.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Yamamoto's Pole Vault Meet Record Tops Final Day of National Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
click here for Day One results and report 
click here for Day Two results and report

Seito Yamamoto (Team Toyota) broke one of the oldest standing meet records at the National Corporate Track and Field Championships on this year's final day of competition, clearing 5.70 m to break the 5.62 record set back in 1999 by Fumiaki Kobayashi (Miki House).  Kobayashi passed all the way to 5.30 m, clearing it and 5.50 m on his first try to seal the win.  Going straight to 5.70 m, it took him three attempts to clear it but the record was his.  The women's 4x400 m almost saw another meet record as the Junanaju Ginko team was just 0.03 off the 3:47.38 record it set in 2010 with a lineup including current third runner Mai Yamada.

In distance action, Hiram Ngatia (Team Toyota) ran the fastest time in the three evenly-stacked men's 5000 m, 13:23.65, for the Heat Three and overall win.  1500 m champ Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) had the slowest winning time, 13:38.75 in Heat One, with 1500 m runner-up David Njuguna (Team Yakult) getting payback with a 13:38.51 win in Heat Two.  Former Komazawa University star Shogo Nakamura (Team Fujitsu) was the fastest Japanese man of the day at 13:45.58 in Heat Two.  Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Team Starts) outran 2014 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) for the win in the women's 5000 m A-heat 15:15.42 to 15:21.14, with Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) rounding out the podium in 15:33.89.

63rd National Corporate Track and Field Championships Day Three
Nagaragawa Field, Gifu, 9/27/15
click here for complete results

Men's 100 m Final +0.5 m/s
1. Seiya Kusano (Liniart) - 10.43
2. Sota Kawatsura (Mizuno) - 10.49
3. Yuichi Kobayashi (NTN) - 10.50

Women's 100 m Final +0.4 m/s
1. Nodoka Seko (Joba Club Crane) - 11.60
2. Saori Kitakaze (Hokkaido HiTec AC) - 11.75
3. Megumi Shimizu (Niigata Albirex RC) - 11.77

Men's 400 m Final
1. Tomoya Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 46.65
2. Hideyuki Hirose (Fujitsu) - 46.80
3. Kazushi Kimura (Shidenko) - 47.23

Women's 400 m Final
1. Asami Chiba (Toho Ginko) - 54.00
2. Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 54.08
3. Manami Kira (At Home) - 54.47

Men's 800 m Final
1. Masato Yokote (Fujitsu) - 1:49.55
2. Yasuhiro Nakamura (Evolu) - 1:50.03
3. Wataru Okamoto (Hoki Board of Education) - 1:50.41

Women's 800 m Final
1. Fumika Omori (Lotte) - 2:08.53
2. Mariko Okita (Niigata Albirex RC) - 2:08.86
3. Aki Tasaka (Yogashi Georges) - 2:09.65

Men's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) - 13:38.75
2. Daniel Kepkemoi (Toyota Boshoku) - 13:42.85
3. Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) - 13:44.67
4. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) - 13:45.79
5. Akihiko Tsumurai (Mazda) - 13:47.23

Men's 5000 m Heat 2
1. David Njuguna (Yakult) - 13:38.51
2. Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) - 13:45.58
3. Yuta Takahashi (DeNA) - 13:47.81
4. Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 13:50.90
5. Kazuma Ito (Sumitomo Denko) - 13:58.70

Men's 5000 m Heat 3
1. Hiram Ngatia (Toyota) - 13:23.65
2. Patick Muwaka (Aisan Kogyo) - 13:48.44
3. Yasunori Murakami (Fujitsu) - 13:49.73
4. Yuki Takamiya (Yakult) - 13:51.33
5. Keita Baba (Honda) - 13:52.46

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Taishi Sakamoto (Toyota Kyushu) - 14:23.59
2. Takaya Arake (Asahi Kasei) - 14:24.60
3. Satoshi Kondo (Toyota) - 14:28.24

Women's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Sumina Kuroda (Toto) - 15:54.81
2. Nami Hashimoto (Denso) - 15:58.18
3. Mao Kuroda (Wacoal) - 15:59.20
4. Asahi Takeuchi (Uniqlo) - 16:00.65
5. Naoka Akutsu (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:01.33

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Starts) - 15:15.42
2. Sally Chepyego (Kyudenko) - 15:21.14
3. Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:33.89
4. Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) - 15:37.68
5. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) - 15:40.82

Men's 110 mH Final -0.7 m/s
1. Yuta Notoya (New Mode) - 13.80
2. Hideki Omuro (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13.83
3. Hiroyuki Sato (Hitachi Kasei) - 13.85

Women's 100 mH Final +1.7 m/s
1. Hitomi Shimura (Toho Ginko) - 13.40
2. Airi Ito (Sumitomo Denko) - 13.41
3. Sayaka Kishi (Car Paint Kishi) - 13.50

Men's 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Mizuno - 3:07.36
2. Sumitomo Denko - 3:07.64
3. Arrows Japan - 3:10.21

Women's 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Nanjunana Ginko - 3:47.41
2. Toyota - 4:14.09

Women's High Jump
1. Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Univ. Staff) - 1.81 m
2. Yuki Watanabe (Milite Techno) - 1.78 m
3. Moeko Kyoya (Shiriuchi H.S. Staff) - 1.78 m

Men's Pole Vault
1. Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) - 5.70 m - MR
2. Naoya Kawaguchi (Iwase H.S. Staff) - 5.30 m
3. Ryo Tanaka (Wakayama Prefecture Board of Education) - 5.30 m

Men's Triple Jump
1. Daigo Hasegawa (Hitachi ICT) - 16.49 m -0.5 m/s
2. Kazuyoshi Ishikawa (Nagano Yoshida H.S. Staff) - 16.35 m +0.6 m/s
3. Nobuaki Fujibayashi (Ritsumeikan Univ. Staff) - 15.93 m +0.7 m/s

Women's Triple Jump
1. Kaede Miyasaka (Maki Sports) - 13.06 +0.8 m/s
2. Mayu Yoshida (Gifu H.S. Staff) - 13.03 m +1.5 m/s
3. Arisa Nakao (Yuwakai) - 12.89 m +1.1 m/s

Men's Shot Put
1. Satoshi Hatase (Alsok) - 17.44 m
2. Daichi Nakamura (Ochiai J.H.S. Staff) - 17.29 m
3. Takanao Suzuki (Okuwa) - 17.22 m

Women's Discus Throw
1. Ayumi Sakaguchi (S.T.T.) - 52.33 m
2. Ai Shikimoto (Niigata Albirex RC) - 50.68 m
3. Nozomi Kusaka (Omitama SC) - 48.63 m

Women's Hammer Throw
1. Akane Watanabe (Maruwa) - 64.92 m
2. Masumi Aya (Maruzen Kogyo) - 64.86 m
3. Wakana Sato (Toho Ginko) - 57.37 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Genki Dean (Mizuno) - 77.13 m
2. Yuya Koriki (Tottori Pref. Gov't) - 75.11 m
3. Fumitaka Saito (Gero Special Needs H.S. Staff) - 74.55 m