Skip to main content

Akaba: From Besting Ndereba to the Olympics

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2007/11/24/0000749007.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Japan won the first mixed male and female team edition of the International Chiba Ekiden on Nov. 23 in a time of 2:05:56. Osaka World Championships participant Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) ran the second-fastest time on the 5 km second stage of the ekiden, covering the course in 15:34. Anchor Yukiko Akaba (28, Team Hokuren), received the tasuki on the 7.195 km final stage just 4 seconds back from Osaka World Championships women`s marathon gold medallist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) but passed her well before the goal. Akaba, who gave birth to daughter Yuna in August last year, is planning to run the 10000 m in the Beijing Olympics.

The `running mama` took a big step toward the gold medal in Beijing. Starting 4 seconds behind, Akaba pulled even with Catherine the Great after only 760 m and quickly pulled away to run alone to the finish. "When I got the tasuki with no real gap behind Ndereba I thought, `Oh yeah, this is going to be tasty.`" At the finish line she waved her left hand proudly to her coach and husband Shuhei who held little Yuna in his arms.

This was Akaba`s second time to take down a big name in less than a month. In the East Japan Jitsugyodan Women`s Ekiden on Nov. 3 she broke Sydney Olympic marathon champion Naoko Takahashi`s 9 year-old stage record on the 11.1 km fifth stage by 14 seconds with a time of 34:37. She has gained great confidence for the Beijing Olympics 10000 m from these performances.

It has only been just over a year since she gave birth, her weight having dropped during that time from 56 kg to 42 kg. After giving birth on Aug. 20 last year, her attitude toward the sport has changed. She offers an unambiguous, "I am aiming at the world. I want Yuna to see how well I can run." She is also grateful to Shuhei for supporting her and Yuna while she is training, joking that her only domestic responsibility is doing the laundry.

Akaba has her eye on the marathon as well. She wants to compete in the 2009 Berlin World Championships marathon and plans to run either the Osaka or Nagoya International Women`s Marathon the same year to qualify. After making such an impressive comeback from childbirth, this running mama will be more and more in the public eye.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Former Coach Koide on Hara's Arrest: "She Was Really F*cking Serious"

A World Championships marathoner was arrested for shoplifting. On Aug. 17 The Tochigi Prefectural Police Ashikaga Department arrested temp worker Yumiko Hara, 35, on suspicion of stealing skin lotion and other items from a convenience store.

Yoshio Koide, Hara's former coach at the Universal Entertainment corporate team and head of the Saku Athlete Club, was surprised by the events. "She trained harder than anybody," Koide said. "She never missed training, and she was really f*cking serious. I think there must have been a reason for her to commit shoplifting, but she was always a normal kind of girl who would say, "Yes!" when you told her to do something. When she retired she said, 'I've done what I could but I just can't run the way I want to.' I haven't spoken to her since she quit, but it's very unfortunate news and I can't understand it."

source article:https://www.nikkansports.com/general/nikkan/news/1873808.html
translat…

World Championships Marathoner Yumiko Hara Arrested for Shoplifting Cosmetics

Former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 35, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting cosmetics and other goods. A resident of Ashikaga, Tochigi, Hara is suspected of shoplifting eight items including cosmetics and soft drinks with a total value of 2700 yen [~$25 USD] from a local convenience store on July 30. According to police, a clerk performing a store inventory found that the item totals did not match. When police reviewed security camera footage they identified Hara as a suspect.

Hara represented Japan at two World Championships, finishing 6th in the marathon at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships. During her interrogation Hara admitted her guilt in the charges, saying that there was "no mistake."
Translator's note: Along with the 2005 Helsinki World Championships and 2007 Osaka World Championships, Hara represented Japan at the 2003 Vilamoura World Half Marathon Championships. She was the winner of both the 2007 Osaka International Women's Maratho…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…