by Brett Larner
Samuel Ganga of Hiroshima Univ. of Economics on the way to setting a meet record 14:10.02 in the men`s 5000 m.
The 2008 National University Track and Field Individual Championships took place June 6th through 8th at Hiratsuka Sogo Park Stadium just south of Tokyo. The meet takes place just after the Kanto University Track and Field Championships and shortly before both the All-Japan University Ekiden qualifying meet and the National Track and Field Championships and thus fails to draw much of the top university talent, but it neverthless offers a rare opporunity to see runners from universities in other parts of Japan take on their rivals from the extremely strong Kanto region along with top university runners from other Asian nations.
This year`s championships saw a wave of new meet records. In the men`s competition, Yohei Miyazawa (Hosei Univ.) ran 46.92 in the 400 m final to break the meet record by 0.05 seconds. Five runners in the 1500 m final broke the old meet record of 3:53.89, with Yusuke Hasegawa (Jobu Univ.) victorious in 3:51.35. The 3000 m steeplechase saw a similar turnover in records, with Masayoshi Nakajima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) leading the top four in the semifinal under the old meet record with his 9:00.34. Nakajima was unable to repeat after this strong performance, finishing 2nd to Sachio Shimose (Maru Univ.) in the final, 9:03.66 to 9:01.90. Kenyan Samuel Ganga (Hiroshima Univ. of Econ.) ran a solo 5000 m effort to break the old meet record by a wide margin, recording a time of 14:10.02. The 10000 m racewalk saw the biggest improvement in performance quality, with the top nine breaking the old meet record. Winner Isamu Fujisawa (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) broke the old meet record by nearly 3 minutes and 20 seconds with his 41:09.87.
Men`s field events also saw their share of new meet records, with the top three in the pole vault tying or breaking the old record led by the 5.35 m mark set by Hiroki Ogita (Kanto Gakuin Univ.). Akira Hanatani (Osaka Univ.) likewise set a new record of 16.26 m in the triple jump, while Yusuke Takakubo (Daitai Univ.) and Sotaro Yamada (Hosei Univ.) broke the shot put record with their respective marks of 17.22 m and 17.03 m. Yusuke Inagaki (Kyushu Joho Univ.) set the final new men`s record of the meet with his 70.75 m throw in the javelin.
Sayaka Aoki (Fukushima Univ.) sets a meet record in the 400 m semifinal.
The women`s competition saw a parallel run of records. Rena Joshita (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) dominated the 100 m hurdles, setting a new record of 13.59 in the 2nd heat, a wind-aided 13.43 in the semifinal, and a new legal meet record of 13.49 in the final. Sayaka Aoki (Fukushima Univ.) set a meet record 55.18 in the 400 m semifinal then returned in the final with another record of 54.66. Aoki also doubled in the 400 m hurdles, setting a meet record 58.19 in the semifinal before an impressive 57.02 meet-record win in the final, a mark just shy of national record holder Satomi Kubokura`s national student record of 56.73. Like the men`s 1500 m, the women`s 1500 m final saw a large numbers of runners under the old record as Chien-Ho Hsieh (Kaohsiung Univ. of Education, Taipei) led the top six to new records with her 4:29.19. The women`s 5000 m featured the biggest landslide of new record-setting performances, with Eriko Noguchi (Juntendo Univ.) 1st among the ten record-breakers with her 16:07.59 mark. Miki Sawada (Biwako Sports Univ.) broke the 10000 m racewalk record by over a minute with her 46:37.04 win.
In the women`s field events, Maiko Wakasugi (Niigata Univ.) cleared 1.77 m to set a new high jump meet record. Tomomi Abiko (Doshisha Univ.) cleared 4.00 m in the pole vault to record a new record, with 2nd place finisher Tomoko Sumiishi (Nittai Univ.) tying the old meet record of 3.90 m. Yoshimi Sato (Fukuoka Univ.) leapt 6.46 m in the long jump, also a new record. The top two placers in the shot put broke the old record, with Azusa Sato (Tsukuba Univ.) coming out ahead with her 14.93 m mark. Hammer thrower Miki Yamashiro (Chukyo Univ.) had the last meet record of the meet with her 56.90 m throw in the final round, more than 2 m better than the old record.
The complete videos of the men`s 5000 m and other events are available here. Complete results from the National University Track and Field Individual Championships are available here.
(c) 2008 Brett Larner
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