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Nittai Time Trials, National Corporate Track and Field Championships and Other Long Weekend Highlights

The first Nittai University Time Trials meet of the season and the National Corporate Track and Field Championships delivered most of the weekend's pre-Doha World Championships action on the track.

At Nittai, Australian Melissa Duncan (Shiseido) and Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) tuned up for Doha with a head-to-head race over 3000 m, Duncan taking it by 0.40 in a sprint finish with a 9:05.45. The men's 10000 m was reasonably quick, with newcomer Razini Lemeteki (Takushoku Univ.) running a PB of almost two minutes to lead the top three under 28 minutes in 27:51.91.

But the most interesting result came in the women's 5000 m A-heat, where amateur club runners Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto) went 1-2 in another sprint finish, outkicking 2016 Gold Coast Marathon winner Misato Horie (Noritz), 2:23 marathoner Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and every other corporate leaguer in the field to do it. Yamaguchi, who ran a PB of 2:33:09 last weekend for 4th…

Ushiro Allowed to Compete at World Championships

At one point "misselected" by the JAAF to represent Japan at the World Championships beginning Sept. 27 in Doha, Qatar, Asian decathlon champion Keisuke Ushiro (33, Kokushikan Club) has been allowed to compete. The JAAF made the announcement on Sept. 20 that Ushiro was one of five athletes being added to Japan's roster. On his Twitter account Ushiro wrote, "I'm sorry to have made so many people worry about this, but I'm happy to say that today I got word that I'll be able to go to the World Championships. I'll do everything I can to be ready so I can get as close as I can to realizing my dream of medaling. Thank you all for your support."

As the 2019 Asian Championships gold medalist and 2019 national champion, the JAAF announced Ushiro as a member of the Doha team in June. But on Sept. 17 the IAAF informed the JAAF that Ushiro would not be allowed to compete due to not having cleared the qualification standard. The situation forced JAAF execut…

JAAF Executive Asaba on Mishandling of Ushiro's World Championships Team Nomination: "We Were Naive. The Level of Our Organization is Low"

At a Tokyo-area press conference on Sept 18, JAAF executive Kazunori Asaba explained the circumstances surrounding decathlon champion Keisuke Ushiro (Kokushikan Club) having his place on the Doha World Championships team cut. Ushiro had not cleared the World Championships qualification standard of 8200 points, but in April he won the gold medal at the Asian Championships. It was assumed that as area champion he would be qualified to participate in the World Championships, and when he won June's National Championships the JAAF told him he would be on the Worlds team.

Regarding the area champion's qualification for the World Championships, the IAAF states, "Area champions in individual events held at the World Championships automatically qualify regardless of whether they have achieved the qualification standard. This is not applicable to the 10000 m, 3000 m steeplechase, combined events, field events or road events, in which their participation subject to the approval of …

Asian Decathlon Champion Ushiro Cut From Doha Team After JAAF Guaranteed Him Spot Three Months Ago

On Sept. 17 it was learned that men's decathlon national champion Keisuke Ushiro (33, Kokushikan Club) has had his guaranteed spot on the Japanese national team for the Doha World Championships later this month eliminated. Ushiro won the gold medal at April's Doha Asian Championships, then won June's National Championships.

Under their published regulations for national representation in Doha, the JAAF guaranteed him a spot on the World Championships team for these accomplishments. But according to an involved party, IAAF regulations stipulate that the participation of area champions in certain events is dependent upon approval of the relevant technical delegate, and this appears to be the case in this instance. Ushiro has not cleared the World Championships qualification standard.

Ushiro did not attend the official Doha national team sendoff event held the same day in Tokyo. No explanation of the cancellation of his place on the team was offered to attendees at the event…

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials TV Broadcast Earns 29.9% Viewership Ratings

For the first time, the TBS and NHK television networks collaborated to produce a joint broadcast of Sunday's Marathon Grand Championship Olympic marathon trials. TBS covered the men's race and NHK simultaneously broadcast the women's race, with both networks sharing the same feed before the start and switching between each others' footage mid-race to show updates on the other gender's race. According to Video Research Inc., TBS' broadcast of the men's race earned viewership ratings of 16.4%. NHK's broadcast of the women's race scored ratings of 13.5%, giving the joint broadcast a combined rating of 29.9%.

The men's race began at 8:50 a.m. and the women's race at 9:10. Both networks' broadcasts began at 8:00. NHK commentator Masanori Aiba, a member of popular boy band Arashi, and TBS announcer Shinichiro Yasuzumi appeared together onscreen to jointly introduce the races. Aiba said, "This is the first-ever collaborative broadcast th…

Marathon Project Team Leader Seko on the MGC Race: "It Was Perfect"

A day on from the Marathon Grand Championship, Japan's 2020 Olympic marathon trials event, JAAF marathon development project team leader Toshihiko Seko, 63, spoke to media about the race, which broke from the tradition of the JAAF choosing national team members from multiple races to at last have the contenders all race head to head in a single competition.  "It takes at least six months to prepare for the Olympics," he said. "If you don't know whether you're on the team it creates a lot of uncertainty and worry. That's not going to be the case this time. The MGC was perfect. We came together in humility to put it together." With a laugh he added, "I want a 100 million yen [~$925,000 USD] bonus for it. All we got was the burden of responsibility."

Seko, who in his prime earned the reputation of being the nation's "TV ratings generator marathon man," eagerly anticipates a resurgence of popularity for the marathon thanks to th…

Ito and Watanabe Break Junior National Records at National University Track and Field Championships

Most of the weekend's focus was on the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials in Tokyo, but at the same time the National University Track and Field Championships were going on to the southwest in Gifu. The highlights of the meet were a pair of junior national records, one in the men's triple jump by Riku Ito (Kindai Kogyo Univ.) who jumped 16.34 m (+0.6 m/s) for the win, and another in the women's hammer throw by Momoko Watanabe (Tsukuba Univ.), whose 60.49 m throw was good for 2nd behind winner Miharu Kodate (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.).

The women's triple jump also saw a meet record, with winner Kanna Kawai (Osaka Seikei Univ.) jumping 13.65 m (+0.3 m/s). The highest-level race of the meet was probably the men's 4x100 m relay, where Tsukuba University led the top three under 39 seconds in 38.73.



88th National University Track and Field ChampionshipsNagaragawa Field, Gifu, Sept. 12-15, 2019
complete results

Men

100 m Final-0.0 m/s
1. Akihiro Higashida (Tsukuba Univ.) - 10.…