Skip to main content

Team Chugoku Denryoku`s Aces Aburaya and Sato Face Off in Fukuoka in Bid for Beijing Ticket

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200711280135.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

The first of the selection races for the Japanese men`s Beijing Olympics marathon team takes place Dec. 2 at the Fukuoka International Marathon. The elite field includes two runners from Team Chugoku Denryoku, Shigeru Aburaya and Atsushi Sato. The team`s coach Yasushi Sakaguchi says, "Whoever wins Fukuoka will probably be going on to the Olympics. Only one person can win, so I don`t want the two of them to have any bad blood." This will be a rare occasion to see two runners from Team Chugoku Denryoku facing each other in a world-class event.

Aburaya`s High-Mileage Preparation Going Well
To make the Olympic team, Aburaya has been training to win. "There is only one chance, if I lose that`s it. Whoever I find myself running against, I won`t lose." Aburaya decided to race Fukuoka after hearing that not only Sato but also national record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo) and former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) would be running.

Aburaya placed 5th in the 2001 and 2003 World Championships marathons as well as in the 2004 Athens Olympics marathon. In contrast to those dynamic years, the two years after Athens were not good. "The reason is clear," says Aburaya. "Injuries kept me from training consistently." This summer`s training was excellent, bringing Aburaya "...back to the kind of shape [he] was in before the (2003) Paris World Championships." He has regained his confidence and the spring in his step.

Aburaya acknowledges that Sato is "very strong, no doubt" but says, "I`m not going to let him beat me in the marathon. I left something at the Olympics and I still have to go pick it up." The medal he couldn`t score in Athens is waiting for him in Beijing.

Sato Fresh From Setting a New National Half-Marathon Record
Sato is running with new inspiration. A uniquely powerful ekiden runner, Sato has not yet been able to translate his ability into a good marathon. "There have been times before a marathon when I`ve felt like I`m going to die from anxiety." Too much pressure from himself and others has hurt his performances.

Recently Sato has been training to run flat-out from the beginning of the race. His almost tragic determination also changed recently. In July he married Japanese national women`s 800 m record holder Miho Sugimori. "The way she trains with great concentration and then doesn`t think about her running when the workout is over has taught me a great deal about how to relax. Above all, I don`t get too irritated now because I don`t have to suffer by myself." He said this with a natural smile unlike his previous forced smile.*

At October`s World Half Marathon Championships in Italy, Sato set a new Japanese national record of 1:00:25. With this kind of experience running against top foreign competitors behind him, Sato says, "Fukuoka is not really that big a race." The pressure is gone. Speaking about Aburaya he says, "I`ve always wanted a serious match against him." The Ekiden Man plans to become "The Japanese Marathon World`s Ace."

Japanese Elite Field at Fukuoka International Marathon
Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo): 2:06:16 - 2002
Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu): 2:06:51 - 2000
Shigeru Aburaya (Team Chugoku Denryoku): 2:07:52 - 2001
Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryuko): 2:08:36 - 2004
Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta): 2:09:18 - 2005

Photo Details
Left: Half-marathon national record holder Sato goes for his first Olympics.
Right: Athens runner Aburaya tries to make his second straight Olympic team.

*Translator`s note: Sato is famous in Japan for trying anything that might help his running. A few years ago he read that smiling while running helps the body to relax, so he went through a phase of smiling the whole way through marathons.

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…