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Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…
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Nittai University Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe Fired Over Abuse Scandal

On Sept. 12 Nittai University announced that it will fire ekiden team head coach Masaaki Watanabe, 55, over the current power harassment scandal surrounding him. According to the university's public relations office, interviews by the alumni association with five current and one former team member reported multiple acts of violence by Watanabe including kicking athletes' legs and grabbing them by the chest.

The interviews also reported that Watanabe verbally abused and threatened student athletes and attacked their character. When runners fell off pace during workouts he was reported to have shouted, "Get the hell out of this university!" and, following the runners in a car, "I am going to f*cking run you over and kill you." Injured team members were also reported to have been subject to verbal humiliation by Watanabe, including, "Look at this f*cking cripple," and "You f*cking deserve it." Watanabe admitted the accusations but said tha…

Tokyo Olympics Marathon Start Time May Move Earlier if Daylight Saving Time Not Introduced

In an interview with reporters on Sept. 10, Tokyo Olympic Games organizing committee chairperson Toshiaki Endo indicated that the introduction of daylight saving time and other measures to combat the expected heat at the Games are still under discussion, and that the LDP study group tasked with examining the idea will hold a session to hear dissenting opinions on Sept. 27. He indicated that in the event it proves impossible to introduce daylight saving time, it would likely be necessary to move the start times of the marathon and other events even earlier than the currently planned 7:00 a.m. Endo also announced that a bipartisan project team will meet for the first time next week to discuss ways to deal with the recent wave of power abuse scandals that have emerged across a wide range of Japanese sports authority associations.

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translated by Brett Larner

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Following the Japanese success early Saturday at the IAU 100 km World Championships, Japanese athletes lined up in races across Europe over the weekend.

At Saturday's Prague Grand Prix 10 km, Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) followed up her 2:26:13 marathon debut in Paris with a 9th-place finish in 32:26. 2:08:48 at February's Tokyo Marathon, Kenji Yamamoto (Mazda) was ineffectual in the men's race, nearly a kilometer behind winner Rhonex Kipruto at 17th in 29:21. Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu), twin brother of half marathon and marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, was 23rd in 30:17 with Yuta's teammate Masaya Taguchi (Honda) overtaken by the top three women to finish 24th in 30:25.

On the track, Jakarta Asian Games men's 200 m gold medalist Yuki Koike had the best Japanese placing on the first day of the Continental Cup in the Czech Republic, finishing 4th in the 200 m in 20.57 (-1.6 m/s). Kosei Yamaguchi was next-best in the men's 3000 m steeplechase at …

Shiojiri Breaks Steeplechase Meet Record - National University Track and Field Championships Day Four Highlights

Jakarta Asian Games men's 3000 m steeplechase bronze medalist, national champion and Rio Olympian Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) ended his university track career with one of the better of his many great performances, breaking the National University Track and Field Championships meet record set by Moroccan Aziz Driouch in 1999 by 2 seconds to win in 8:31.98. As at the Asian Games he frontran the entire race, but where he was outkicked in Jakarta over the last lap this time he opened a lead of 13 seconds over runner-up Taisei Ogino (Kanagawa Univ.).

The home to Shiojiri's teammate in Rio and women's meet record holder Anju Takamizawa, Matsuyama University extended its domination of Japanese collegiate women's steeplechase, taking the top three spots in the final. 3rd-year Kako Okado took the national title in 10:02.04 just over 5 seconds off Takamizawa's record, with 1st year duo Manami Nishiyama and Moka Ouchi going 2-3.

Apart from the steeple, the women's…

Japan Dominates IAU 100 km World Championships

The Japanese men and women dominated the 2018 IAU 100 km World Championships in Sveti Martin na Muri, Crotia on Saturday, winning both team gold medals and the individual men's gold and silver and women's bronze medals.

Finishing in the inverse order they did at June's historic Lake Saroma 100 km, the men went 1-2-4-6, Lake Saroma 4th placer and defending world champion Hideaki Yamauchi winning the race outright in 6:28:05 and Lake Saroma 3rd-placer Takehiro Gyoba taking silver in 6:32:51. Two-time Comrades Marathon champ Bongmusa Mthembu of South Africa, 2nd to Yamauchi last time out, was the only non-Japanese athlete to make the men's podium, beating Lake Saroma runner-up Koji Hayasaka by just over two minutes to take bronze in 6:33:47 to Hayasaka's 6:36:05. All three scoring Japanese men broke 4:00/km to give the men's an incredible score of 19:37:01, nearly an hour faster than the silver-earning South Africa team. Germany had the distinction of taking the …

Walsh Ties 400 m Meet Record - National University Track and Field Championships Day Three Highlights

After a disappointing 5th-place finish in this year's Jakarta Asian Games 400 m, Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) brought the highlight of the third day of the 87th National University Track and Field Championships as he tied the meet record 45.75 to win the 400 m national title. It was a very close race with newcomer  Rikuya Ito (Waseda Univ.) pushing Walsh to the record and finishing 2nd in 45.79. Just a 2nd-year, Ito looks set to take over as Japan's top collegiate 400 m runner following Walsh's graduating next spring. 3rd-year Mitsuki Kawauchi (Kinki Univ.) may give him a challenge for the title next year, close behind this time in 3rd in 45.96.

In the women's 5000 m 1st-year Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Meijo Univ.) outkicked her older competition in a slow race to complete a 1500 m / 5000 m national title double in 16:06.83. Her male counterpart Josphat Ledama Kisaisa (Obirin) also pulled off a double, dropping Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon) as he did in the 10000 m to a…

University Coach Who Lost High School Position After Abusing Students Accused of Abuse

Following revelations of power harassment in scandals involving the Nihon University football team coaching staff, the amateur boxing and gymnastics association and other bodies of authority across the Japanese sports world, on Sept. 7 the tabloid magazine Friday reported accusations of power harassment abuse by Masaaki Watanabe, 55, head coach of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Nittai University. "I never want to see that guy's face again," the magazine quoted one former team member as saying. "As long as he's the head coach I can't run for this team. I really wanted to run Hakone one more time. If anyone would hire me I wanted to keep running for a corporate team. But instead I've come to hate running itself."

On Sept. 7 Nittai University responded to the abuse allegations against Watanabe, 55. According to the university's Public Relations department, the school is currently in the process of verifying the facts of the situation and plans to questi…