Skip to main content

Kinukawa`s Olympic Plans Destroyed by Terrifying Mystery Virus of Possible Chinese Origin

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20080606-OHT1T00047.htm
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20080606-OHT1T00077.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Osaka World Track and Field Championships competitor and Great Hope for the future of Japanese women`s long distance running Megumi Kinukawa (18, Team Mizuno) announced on June 5 that she has contracted an unknown virus which will keep her out of the Olympic Trials at the National Track and Field Championships, to be held June 26-29 in Kawasaki. Medical staff have indicated that the chance is high Kinukawa caught the virus while training in Kunming, China. Whether it came from the pollution, contaminated food or another source, the "invisible enemy" has deprived the young star of her Olympic chance and shaken the Japanese long distance world.

Kinukawa`s situation has made a deep impact upon her. "I wouldn`t want anyone else to go through what I`m experiencing," she said of the serious viral infection which has possessed her like a devil just before the Olympics. "I only want other athletes to know that there is a sickness like this out there."

Her problems began last November when Kinukawa began to have persistent flu-like symptoms and aches and pains all over her body. In December she suffered a stress fracture in her right femur which kept her out of the National High School Ekiden in Kyoto. In February she began to feel similar pain in her left leg, then strong pain in her left knee which made it difficult for her to even walk.

Kinukawa was forced to cancel her professional debut at April`s Oda Memorial meet in Hiroshima, followed by a string of further cancellations. Her coach at Sendai Ikuei High School and mentor since graduating, Takao Watanabe felt, "All these injuries could not be coming from her training," and believed that she would be able to recover. Extensive medical testing revealed no skeletal problems. A subsequent battery of blood testing discovered the presence of the presence of the unnamed virus. Previous testing at the same clinic had failed to find any problems with Kinukawa`s blood, but the clinic`s head Dr. Matsumoto indicated that new tests revealed the virus had seriously affected red blood cell production and was likewise damaging to white blood cells, leading to the array of bone and muscle problems Kinukawa has experienced.

Dr. Matsumoto stated that the virus was unlikely to have originated in Japan and that Kinukawa had become infected in another country. Her only overseas experience came when Kinukawa went to Kunming in March last year for high altitude training. "The probability that she was infected in Kunming is high," commented Dr. Matsumoto. Kunming is the same location where Beijing Olympic women`s marathon team member Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and others regularly attend training camps. Noguchi contracted a serious rash which kept her from several races after training in Kunming in March. Noguchi`s fellow Olympic marathon team member Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) is scheduled to head to Kunming for training on June 12. Tosa`s coach Hideo Suzuki said she had no plans to alter her training, adding, "I`ve never heard any talk of such problems [in Kunming]." Nevertheless, the Japanese distance running community remains shaken.

Kinukawa remains highly optmistic about making a full comeback despite only being to jog for 30 minutes at a time in her present condition. Looking at the fast-approaching Olympic Trials, Kinukawa says, "I won`t give up until it`s over." Coach Watanabe is, however, less positive. "She is not ready. Our top priority is to get her one day closer to being able to run normally again."

Kinukawa made the 10000 m Olympic A-standard of 31:45.00 last summer, but to be selected for the Olympic team she must perform in the National Track and Field Championships. Struck down by an "invisible enemy" at only age 18, the deadline for Kinukawa to face the track world is drawing nearer.


Megumi Kinukawa
18, Team Mizuno. Born Aug. 7, 1989 in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture. 153 cm, 38 kg. Attended Sendai Ikuei High School. 3rd place in National H.S. 5000 m as a first-year. Passed 12 runners on the 2nd stage of the National H.S. Ekiden. Set the women`s 10000 m Japanese junior record of 31:35.27 at last year`s Hyogo Relay Carnival. 14th in last summer`s World Championships 10000 m.

Kunming
China`s center for high-altitude training. Population 5,000,000. Situated at 1900 m altitude, temperatures are moderate year-round. With extensive training facilities and only one hour time difference from Japan, it is the most popular location for Japanese athletes to conduct high-altitude training.

The Beijing Olympics Women`s 10000 m Team
1-3 Japanese women will compete. Any woman who has met the Olympic A-standard (31:45.00) since Jan., 2007 is elligible, but to be guaranteed a spot on the team a qualified athlete must win June`s National Track and Field Championships. A good placing will also elevate a runner`s chances. 7 women have met the A-standard, including Kinukawa, Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and Akane Wakita (Team Toyota Jidoshokki). Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) has not yet met the Olympic B-standard (32:20.00) but is expected to make the Trials.

Comments

Rob said…
Brent,

if you know where I might be able to get race footage from the Nobeoka meet, the men's 800m in particular, please send me the link. We are trying to analyze or guy's race, but the cell phone video isn't very good!

Thanks,

Rob

robcunningham71@hotmail.com
Brett Larner said…
Rob--

I haven`t seen any video from Nobeoka online. I`ll let you know if I come across anything.

Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay with Kazami, high-volume marathoner Hayasaka dropped Gyoba afte…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved