Skip to main content

Top Runners Ogata and Fukushi Coming Together for First Mixed-Team Chiba International Ekiden

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/top/sp200711/sp2007111405.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

On Nov. 13, the JAAF announced the runners for the Nov. 23 Chiba International Ekiden, an event which will see the top runners in the world handing off the tasuki. This year the ekiden will feature mixed teams of male and female runners for the first time. Men will be running odd-numbered legs. The Japanese team will include Osaka World Championships marathon 5th place finisher Tsuyoshi Ogata (34, Team Chugoku Denryoku; pictured top right) and university star runners Kensuke Takezawa (21, Waseda University) and Yuichiro Ueno (22, Chuo University). Women will run even-numbered legs, with stars like Osaka World Championships 10000 m representative Kayoko Fukushi (25, Team Wacoal) appearing as team members.

The Chiba International Ekiden is a historic event which is changing format this year. Elite runners whom Japan will proudly present are gathering in Chiba for the race. With this elite unit Japan is aiming to become the `first king` of the new format.

Ogata is leading the men`s half of the team as their ace runner. Three months after the very harsh World Championships marathon, he will be demonstrating his capabilities as the favourite for the 2008 Beijing Olympic marathon team.

The team will also feature talented young runners Takezawa and Ueno who will battle each other as rivals at the Hakone Ekiden in early January. Waseda`s Takezawa (pictured middle right) was the only Japanese university distance runner in the Osaka World Championships where he ran the 10000 m. Ueno, one of the `four college kings,` set a new stage record on the first stage of October`s Izumo Ekiden and passed 7 runners on the 4th stage of November`s All-Japan University Ekiden. These two young men intend to become world-class runners. To Hakone and on to the Olympics, their dreams begin in Chiba.

The female members of the team are all highly idiosyncratic runners. Top Japanese female distance runner Fukushi (pictured right) is running Chiba for the 5th time after a 4-year absence from the event. Megumi Kinukawa (18, Sendai Ikuei High School) ran in the Osaka World Championships as a high school student. Fukushi and Kinukawa are popular for both their talent and their unique personalities. The 3rd female member, Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), is a member of the "running mother" demographic. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex), who is a teammate of Mizuki Noguchi and expected to be her successor, is also on the Japanese team. Playing tag with the men, they will dominate Chiba.

2-year male and female champions Kenya will field a strong team including Osaka World Championships marathon winner Catherine Ndereba (35).

The Chiba International Ekiden is one of the biggest international ekiden events. From this year the format has been changed to a mixed male and female format for the first time in the event`s history. Since the first running in 1988, which was Toshihiko Seko`s retirement race, the event has received international attention as a race which brings in world-class runners. This year is the 19th edition. Japan has won the men`s division 4 times and the women`s division 10 times. Kenya has won both the men`s and women`s divisions for the last two years.

Start time: November 23, 1:07 p.m.
Course info: 42.195 km course with 6 stages, 3 male and 3 female starting and finishing at the Chiba Prefectural Sogo Stadium
Entrants: 15 teams from 13 countries
Broadcast info: To be broadcast on Fuji Television Nov. 23 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.

Men:
Tsuyoshi Ogata (34, Team Chugoku Denryoku)
Kenji Noguchi (32, Team Shikoku Denryoku)
Kensuke Takezawa (21, Waseda University)
Yuichiro Ueno (22, Chuo University)

Women:
Kayoko Fukushi (25, Team Wacoal)
Megumi Kinukawa (18, Sendai Ikuei High School)
Yukiko Akaba (28, Team Hokuren)
Megumi Seike (20, Team Sysmex)

Other Chiba International Ekiden Previews:

IAAF (The IAAF mistakenly states that four of Japan`s runners ran on the World Championships marathon team. Only one member of the Chiba Int`l Ekiden team, Tsuyoshi Ogata, ran the marathon in Osaka. The other three members listed, Kayoko Fukushi, Megumi Kinukawa and Kensuke Takezawa, ran the 10000 m at the World Championships. Fukushi doubled in the 5000 m.)

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…

Sani Brown Brings the Heat on Day One of Japanese National Championships

2015 World Youth Championships 100 m and 200 m gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) brought the heat to the first day of the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai, running a PB 10.06 (+0.4) in the opening round of heats and 10.06 (+0.5) in the semifinals to lead the field into the final.

There's a major air of excitement around the men's 100 m in Japan, its 4x100 m silver medal in the Rio Olympics fueling hopes of seeing the country's first-ever sub-10 clocking. At the time they won that silver medal only two members of the team, Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) and Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) had ever broken 10.10 with a legal wind, along with alternate Kei Takase (Fujitsu). Earlier this month another of the four, 200 m specialist Shota Iizuka (Mizuno), ran 10.08 (+1.9). Shortly after that a newcomer, 20-year-old Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) jumped into the picture with a 10.08 (+1.9). The momentum w…