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Japanese Olympic Track Results - Aug. 21

by Brett Larner

Men's 4 x 100 m Relay - Heats
Japan's 4 x 100 m relay team of Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Nobuhara Asahara survived a wild heat which saw four of the eight competing teams drop the baton to finish 2nd in a season-best 38.52. This was the third-fastest time among the teams which made the final, giving Japan a legitimate chance for its first track and field medal of the Beijing Olympics.

The same Japanese team set the Asian record of 38.03 in finishing 5th at last summer's World Track and Field Championships in Osaka. Of the teams which beat Japan at the World Championships, only Jamaica finished ahead of Japan in the Olympic heats, winning its heat in 38.31, with the teams from the U.K. and U.S.A. eliminated after dropping their batons. Japan finished well ahead of the Brazilian team which had placed 4th at the World Championships. Trinidad and Tobago, which did not make the World Championships final, won the heat against Japan in the fastest overall qualifying time, 38.26.

36 year-old anchor Nobuhara Asahara had announced that he would retire after the World Championships but agreed to remain in competition for the Beijing Olympics. The 4 x 100 m relay final will surely be Asahara's last race, with the prospect of even a bronze medal adding to the anticipation.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


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