by Brett Larner
Men`s 5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta) scored his second victory of the 2008 Japanese National Track and Field Championships, winning the 5000 m in 13:47.81. Although his winning time was far from the Olympic A-standard, Matsumiya came to the competition holding a valid A-standard and thus is guaranteed a spot on the Beijing Olympics team in the 5000 m to go with the spot he holds in the 10000 m.
The real story, however, was not Matsumiya`s win but the return of Waseda University senior Kensuke Takezawa. Takezawa, one of the most talented runners Japan has ever produced, has been seriously injured since December and has not raced since January`s Hakone Ekiden. He was on the start list for the National Championships 10000 m but did not run. His appearance in the 5000 m caused audible surprise within Todoroki Stadium. Takezawa ran a conservative race, staying far back in the pack and not moving up until the final kilometer. With 200 m to go he was nearly 50 m behind Matsumiya, but Takezawa was able to unleash his famous kick and almost caught the unwitting leader, finishing less than 2 seconds behind. While only Matsumiya is guaranteed a place on the Beijing Team, Takezawa is likely to be named to the team as well on the strength of both his A-standard qualifier and the quality he showed in a comeback race in less than full fitness.
The other man in the field holding a 5000 m Olympic A-standard, 10000 m 3rd place finisher Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) showed signs of fatigue from the 10000 m, finishing 12th in 13:59.32. Mitsuya, a teammate and training partner of half marathon world record holder Samuel Wanjiru, scored only a B-standard in the 10000 m.
1 km: 2:43.1 2 km: 5:35.6 3 km: 8:28.5 4 km: 11:10.02 5 km: 13:47.81
1. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta): 13:47.81 (selected for Olympic team)
2. Kensuke Takezawa (Waseda Univ.): 13:49.73
3. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku): 13:51.82
4. Takuya Fukatsu (Komazawa Univ.): 13:53.66
5. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin): 13:54.71
6. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo): 13:55.17
7. Keita Akiba (Team Komori): 13:55.31
8. Tomohiro Seto (Team Kanebo): 13:55.85
9. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.): 13:57.46
10. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko): 13:57.81
Complete results are available here.
(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved