Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sato 2nd, Ogata 5th in Central Japan Jitsugyodan Championships 10000 m

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200805180258.html

translated by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin

On the 2nd day of the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships, held May 17th at Miyoshi Sports Park in Miyoshi, Hiroshima Prefecture, Joseph Gitau of Team JFE Steel won the men`s 10000 m in a time of 28:16.07. Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team members Atsushi Sato and Tsuyoshi Ogata, both of Team Chugoku Denryoku, also ran. Sato was 2nd in 28:16.94, while Ogata was 5th in 28:51.59.

Team Uniqlo`s Danielle Filomena won the women`s 10000 m in 32:38.66, completing a successful double after winning last week`s 5000 m. Ruriko Kubo of Team Deodeo set a new meet record of 57.63 in the women`s 400 m.

While Ogata was content to run with a relaxed pitch at the head of the second pack, Atsushi Sato was again aggressive. As in his winning run in last week`s 5000 m, Sato led from the start together with Gitau. Although Sato claims his fitness is only at about 60%, he ran with high pace and quickly opened a large gap on the second pack. Gitau only escaped from Sato`s control in the very last moment of the final sprint, beating him to the line by less than one second. "After this comes the last push to the Beijing Marathon," commented Sato in eager anticipation of this summer`s Olympic race.

Ogata, who ran poorly in the 5000 m, showed better form today. He ran with the steady, light rhythm familiar in his marathoning, coming 5th overall. "It could have been better," said Ogata, "but although it was less than ideal I think I did well." His 4th track race since April, Ogata found something solid in his performance in Miyoshi.

Looking toward the prospect of a mid-summer marathon, Team Chugoku Denryoku coach Yasushi Sakaguchi gave his views after the race. "Both of them did well, but unless they have a fountain of stamina they won`t be able to compete in Beijing." After sharpening their speed at these championships, Chugoku Denryoku`s two Olympic marathoners leave May 19 for their full marathon training camp.

Kenyans displayed their domination by winning both the men`s and women`s 10000 m races. Both winners were first time victors at the Chugoku Jitsugyodan championships. Men`s winner Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) won with a razor-sharp last spurt. Speaking of losing to Sato in the 5000 m by a slim margin, Gitau said, "I was very disappointed, so I really didn`t want it to happen again today." He got his revenge.

Women`s winner Danielle Filomena (Team Uniqlo) dropped Beijing Olympics marathon team alternate Tomo Morimoto to score a runaway victory. In June she plans to return to Kenya for her home country`s Olympic trials. "I think the Olympics are within my reach and I want to do my best," Filomena told reporters.

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