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Atsushi Sato to Go For 10,000 m National Record, Ogata and Date Head to New Zealand Training Camp

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200802220082.html

translated by Brett Larner

Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) left for New Zealand on Feb. 21 to attend a Rikuren-sponsored training camp where he will begin preparations for this summer's Beijing Olympics. Membership on the Olympic marathon team will be announced Mar. 10, but, Ogata says, "To have good results in summer races this is the most important time to train hard. I'm just going ahead with preparations without worrying about the selection."

Ogata was 5th at last summer's Osaka World Championships. His Chugoku Denryoku teammate Atsushi Sato was the top Japanese finisher at December's Fukuoka International Marathon, meaning that he will probably also be selected for the team. The 3rd and final chance for runners to qualify will be the Biwako Mainichi Marathon on Mar. 2., so Ogata's fate will not be decided until after that race. "I'm not worrying about it," he said. "I'll be training as usual." Tokai University star runner Hideaki Date, who will be joining Team Chugoku Denryoku in April, left together with Ogata for New Zealand, departing from Hiroshima Airport on Mar. 21. 5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) and others are also attending the training camp and are scheduled to return to Japan on Mar. 8.

Sato will not be going to New Zealand, instead remaining in Japan to do speed training in preparation for an attempt to break the 10,000 m national record of 27:35.09. Date, who is planning to accompany Sato to the U.S. in April, commented, "I want to have a good start to my new jitsugyodan career, so I'm going to work hard in these training camps and come back strong."

Photo: Tsuyoshi Ogata, 34, (L) and Hideaki Date, 22, (R) leave Hiroshima Airport for a national training camp in New Zealand. They look remarkably like elementary school students in this picture.

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