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National Track and Field Championships Preview - Sprints and Hurdles

The sprints and hurdles are where Japan is at its strongest outside the marathon. With everything pointing toward next year's Tokyo Olympics it's an interesting repetition of history that the two most exciting events right now are the same ones that saw Japan's first-ever Olympians back in 1912, the men's marathon and the men's 100 m.

And all hail the new king in the 100 m. Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Univ. of Florida) is the national record holder and heavy-duty favorite to take the win at this weekend's National Track and Field Championships. If he wins he's guaranteed a spot at the Doha World Championships. Likewise for his predecessor as NR holder, Yoshihide Kiryu (Nissay) and the newest addition to the top level of Japanese sprinting, Yuki Koike (Sumitomo Denko). The currently #2-ranked Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) is sadly a DNS, leaving it pretty much up to these three guys. But there's so much depth these days that even if one of them craps out Japan sho…
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National Track and Field Championships Preview - Middle and Long Distance

The 2019 National Track and Field Championships start Thursday. With the 10000 m having been held last month in hopes of maximizing people's chances of hitting the standards for the Doha World Championships instead of doubling in the 5000 m, from 800 m to 5000 m, including the 3000 m steeplechase, the only event that has people already with the Doha standard set to toe the starting line is the women's 5000 m. It's also the only event that has African pacers lined up. Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki TC), Tomoka Kimura (Shiseido) and Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) have all cleared the 15:22 Doha standard inside the window, and if any of them wins she'll be named to the team. Others will have to wait until September for the JAAF's final decision. 10000 m national champion Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) is the one who could ruin it for them, not holding the standard but having run 15:10.91 last year. Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) and Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) s…

National Track and Field Championships Preview - Throws

Continuing on from yesterday's National Track and Field Championships jumps preview, today we look at throws. It's Japan's relatively weakest area, with the only real contenders to make the Doha World Championships coming in the women's and men's javelin throw.

In the women's javelin, Haruka Kitaguchi (Nihon Univ.) is the only athlete in the throws, female or male, to have cleared the Doha standard, her 64.36 m in May ranking her #9 worldwide as of this writing. A win at Nationals will be good enough to guarantee her a spot on the national team. Two other women, last year's 3rd-placer Risa Miyashita (MPE) and Orie Ushiro (Niigata Albirex RC), are just outside the worldwide top 32 and could break through if they can deliver PB performances. Last year's top two Marina Saito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Yuka Mori (Nikoniko Nori) are also in range, making the women's javelin one of the best events at this year's Nationals.

Defending men's champion…

Tokyo Kokusai University Qualifies for Its First-Ever National University Ekiden With Kanto Region Win

Tokyo Kokusai University made history Sunday night at Kanagawa’s Sagamihara Gion Stadium, winning the Kanto Region Qualifier for November’s National University Ekiden to make the national championship ekiden for the first time.

One of the wave of new programs to break onto the Hakone scene in recent years, won by a margin of just 13 seconds for the combined times of its eight runners in four heats of 10000 m, downing major established schools like Meiji University, Waseda University and Nittai University to take the top spot. A big part of that was first-year Vincent Yegon, who won the most competitive heat in 28:04.56 to give Tokyo Kokusai an edge on cumulative time. But with a margin of more than 2:40 over the final qualifying team, 5th-place Chuo Gakuin University, the rest of the team pulled its weight and would have almost certainly qualified even without the boost from Yegon.

Chuo University was the unlucky 6th-placer at less than 18 seconds behind Chuo Gakuin, about 2 seconds p…

National Track and Field Championships Preview - Jumps

Japan's National Track and Field Championships kick off this Thursday in Fukuoka. It's the start of an important cycle for Japan, with national representation at this fall's Doha World Championships on the line in the lead-up to next year's Tokyo Olympics. Anyone who has cleared the Doha standard in their event will make the team if they win at Nationals, with other qualifiers and hgh-ranked athletes having to wait until mid-September to learn their fates. Over the next four days JRN will break down the favorites in each event.

In the jumps, not a single athlete in any event on the women's side looks to have a realistic chance of making it to Doha without a big PB in the next couple of months. All four of last year's women's national champions, Haruka Nakano (Nippatsu) in the high jump, Juri Nanbu (Chukyo Univ.) in the pole vault, Ayaka Kora (Tsukuba Univ.) in the long jump and Eri Sakamoto (Nihon Shitsunai TC) in the triple jump, return. Of them only Kora…

Nikkan Sports Reports Olympic Ticket Lottery Success Rate of 2.95% Within Company

The Nikkan Sports newspaper company conducted a survey of its employees' success rate at scoring tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the ticket lottery drawing following the announcement of the lottery's results on June 20. Including the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field, gymnastics, tennis, badminton, baseball, softball and medal sessions in other major sports, out of the 1288 sessions for which Nikkan employees applied they won tickets to a total of 38 sessions. The success rate among survey respondents was just 2.95%, an indication of how hard it was to get tickets to Japan's home soil Olympics.

Translator's note: Of the 28 sessions I applied for I won tickets to three, two in athletics and one in archery. Including only medal sessions, I got tickets to two of the 22 to which I applied, both in athletics. Interestingly, one of the ones I didn't get was stadium seating for the men's marathon finish, showing what a hot ticket that is going be.


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