Sunday, April 6, 2008

Senior Japanese Teams Have Weak Showing at World XC (updated)

by Brett Larner

update: Reader Rich T. sent these photos he took at the World XC Championships last weekend. Thank you. Rich's complete set of photos can be found here.

The Japanese junior women's team trails the Kenyan and Ethiopian teams.

The senior Japanese men's and women's teams had poor showings at Sunday's World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland, while the two junior teams fared more respectably.

The senior men's team finished 13th of 15 teams, beating only the teams from Canada and Botswana. Team aces Makoto Tobimatsu and Satoru Kitamura both had bad runs, finishing 4th and 6th on the team of 8 in 106th and 121st place respectively. The most experienced XC runner on the team, Yoshitaka Iwamizu, showed that experience matters as he led the team with his 89th place finish. The talented university runner Yuki Sato made up for his lackluster performances in the Chiba and Fukuoka qualification races by finishing 2nd on the team in 94th place. Full senior men's results are here.

Aimi Horikoshi

Like the senior men, the senior women's team finished near the bottom of the field, placing 10th of 12 teams ahead of Ireland and Canada. Again like the men's team, the women's ace runners Kazuka Wakatsuki and Aya Manome ran badly, finishing 5th and 6th on the team of 6. Experience also mattered here, as veteran Aimi Horikoshi was 2nd on the team just 1 place back from top Japanese finisher Yuko Nohara's 46th place result. Senior women's team results can be found here.

The junior men finished a strong 4th behind Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda despite have no runners anywhere near the top 10. The team was led by rookie Hirotaka Tamura's 20th place finish, while once again the ace team member ran badly. This time it was Akinobu Murasawa, 5th on the team of 6 with a 37th place finish. Murasawa's teammate at Saku Chosei High School, Kenta Chiba, was 6th on the team in 44th place despite being ranked 2nd going into the race. Click here for junior men's results.

Yukino Ninomiya coming down the hill en route to finishing 10th.

Yukino Ninomiya

The junior women had the best results of the day, finishing 3rd of 8 teams. Like Tamura in the junior men's race, first-timer Yukino Ninomiya led the way with a 10th place finish. 2nd on the team in 14th place was Atsuko Matsumura, the only ace member of any of the Japanese teams to have a good showing. Fellow star runner Risa Takenaka was 5th on the team, landing in 26th place overall. Junior women's team results are here.

Atsuko Matsumura

Ayaka Mori
(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Rich T said...

Atsuko Matsumura, Japan

Brett Larner said...

Thanks, Rich. You have two pictures there of Yukino Ninomiya.

Rich T said...

Brett you can also view the whole lot on Youtube via this link