translated by Brett Larner
The men`s and women`s 10000 m events were held on the first day of the Kyushu Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships, May 17 at Sayagatani Field in Kitakyushu, Kyushu Prefecture. The men`s race was won in a meet record time of 27:56.79 by Team Toyota Kyushu`s Samuel Wanjiru, who will compete in the Beijing Olympics as part of the Kenyan marathon team. 0.07 seconds behind Wanjiru in 2nd place was Athens Olympics 10000 m competitor Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei). Ono`s time met the Olympic B-standard of 28:10.00 but was not sufficient to meet the 27:50.00 Olympic A-standard. 3rd place finisher Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), who ran the 5000 m at the Osaka World Championships, likewise made the Olympic B-standard with his time of 28:05.45. Osaka World Championships 10000 m competitor Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudendo) was a disappointing 7th in 28:26.04. Pauline Wanguru (Team Kyudenko) won the women`s race in 32:10.86.
Ono collapsed upon finishing. His time met the Olympic-B standard but failed to match his goal of an Olympic A-standard. "I couldn`t do it. I`m crushed," he muttered dejectedly shortly after the race. Nevertheless, he later returned to brighter spirits; his time was a new PB and the first time he has broken 28 minutes since setting his old PB in qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympics. He has been plagued by anemia and a series of injuries since Athens, but his marriage last year and the birth of his daughter in January have added new motivation to his running. "I feel that I have more responsibility to perform well now that I have a family to support," Ono explained. "It`s helped me to train with more discipline." To make another attempt on the Olympic A-standard, Ono said he plans to run in the Niigata Time Trial meet on June 1.
Mitsuya was also targeting the Olympic A-standard and started off at the pace set by his teammate Wanjiru. Together with Ono they ran consistent 67-second laps, a pace Mitsuya afterwards dismissed as "too slow." After only 6000 m, however, Mitsuya was unable to keep with Wanjiru`s pacemaking and began to drift back, lagging 30 m behind at 8000 m. Wanjiru abandoned Ono to drop back to Mitsuya, then returned to the front to take the victory. Mitsuya, running his first track race of the season, was unsatisfied with his B-standard performance. "My stamina was OK today, but I didn`t have any speed or guts." Like Ono, he will try for the Olympic A-standard again in Niigata next month.