Skip to main content

Yuriko Kobayashi Takes 5000 m at Japanese Olympic Trials

by Brett Larner



1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) ran 15:11.97 in heavy rain to win the Japanese National Track and Field Championships women`s 5000 m over four-time winner and 5000 m national record Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), 10000 m runner-up Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and 10000 m winner Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). Kobayashi`s time was just short of the Olympic A-standard but she was automatically selected for the Beijing Olympics team as she had run an A-standard qualifier earlier in the season.

After a slow 3:06 first kilometer led by 10000 m A-standard fourth place finisher Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki), Shibui picked up the pace with a 3:01 second kilometer to keep things on track for an A-standard attempt. She faltered in the third kilometer, the pace dropping to 3:05. Fukushi then took over, followed closely by Kobayashi and Akaba, but her lead resulted in the slowest split of the race, a 3:07 fourth kilometer.

With 500 m to go, Kobayashi had had enough. She kicked hard, swiftly gapping the struggling Fukushi who, as in the 10000 m, displayed her current lack of fitness by being completely unable to respond. Instead it was Akaba who went after the lead, but it was clear that she would not be able to overtake the leader. Akaba was second, followed at regular intervals by Fukushi, Shibui and B-standard holder Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso). Matsuoka held on for sixth a long distance behind.

Kobayashi's decision not to compete in the 1500 m proved wise. Kobayashi set the 1500 m national record of 4:07.86 in 2006, an Olympic B-standard time but outside the qualification window. In repeated attempts this spring she failed to break either the A or B-standards in the 1500 m, but in April she set the only A-standard 5000 m mark of the year by a Japanese woman. With only the post-injury phase Fukushi as an A-standard rival, Kobayashi opted not to run the 1500 m, which had its final 80 minutes before the 5000 m. It was a safe bet as she easily secured her Olympic spot.

The next four finishers also broke the Olympic B-standard, but as Fukushi was the only other woman with an A-standard mark she is the only person likely to be named to the team alongside Kobayashi. 2nd place finisher Akaba`s lack of an A-standard mark means her chances are slimmer than in the 10000 m, in which she was also 2nd but well under the Olympic A-standard. In any case, Rikuren will announce the Japanese Olympic track and field team membership tomorrow, June 30.

Top Finishers
1. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki): 15:11.97 (selected for Olympic team)
2. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren): 15:13.95
3. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal): 15:16.27
4. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo): 15:19.29
5. Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso): 15:21.12
6. Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki): 15:32.79
7. Akane Taira (Team Panasonic): 15:35.61
8. Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.): 15:35.87
9. Chitsuki Takagi (Team Starts): 15:36.53
10. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei): 15:40.54

For complete results click here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Roberto said…
What was Fukushi's injury?

Also, I don't think Akaba can be named in the 5K without an A. My understanding of the process is that countries can name up to three A-standard runners, but if there are none, or only one, they can name only a single B-standard runner. If a country had only one B-standard runner (including A-standard qualifiers), only one selection can be made (i.e. you can't send one A and one B).

So Japan can send Kobayashi and Fukushi, because they've both met the A, but not Kobayashi and Akaba (A & B).

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …