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Rikuren Announces Preliminary Lineup for Japanese Olympic Track & Field Team

by Brett Larner

Following the conclusion of the 2008 Japanese National Track and Field Championships, Rikuren announced on June 30 the preliminary lineup for the Japanese track and field team for the Beijing Olympics. The team includes twelve national record holders along with several defending medalists, junior and university record holders. Athletes have one more chance to make the Olympic team at the Nambu Memorial Track and Field Meet on July 6.

A complete list of the current Japanese team, with qualification time and PB:

Women`s 3000 m SC
Minori Hayakari - 9:38.68 (PB: 9:38.68 - NR)

Women`s 5000 m
Kayoko Fukushi - 15:05.73 (PB: 14:53.22 - NR)
Yuriko Kobayashi - 15:07.37 (PB: 15:07.37)

Women`s 10000 m
Yoko Shibui - 31:15.07 (PB: 30:48.89 - NR)
Yukiko Akaba - 31:15.34 (PB: 31:15.34)
Kayoko Fukushi - 31:18.79 (PB: 30:51.81)

Women`s 20 km Walk
Mayumi Kawasaki - 1:28:56 (PB: 1:28:56 - NR)
Sachiko Konishi - 1:30:26 (PB: 1:30:26)

Women`s Marathon
Mizuki Noguchi - 2:21:37 (PB: 2:19:12 - NR)
Yurika Nakamu…

Other Results From the Japanese Olympic Trials

by Brett Larner



Men`s 1500 m
National record holder Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) won the 1500 m final thanks to a bizarre accident in the final meters of the race. After an extremely slow 65 second first lap, Makoto Fukui (Team Fujitsu) ran away from the field, running 62 and 60 for the second and third laps and opening a sizeable lead. With 300 m to go, first Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku), then Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) and finally Kobayashi started to kick, quickly reeling Fukui in. All three passed him just before the home straight, with Watanabe pulling away and Tago just behind. Meters from the finish, Watanabe abruptly appeared to succumb to sudden exhaustion, losing his balance over the course of several steps and falling flat just before the line. Tago had to jump over the fallen Watanabe, losing his balance just long enough for Kobayashi to duck past. Kobayashi`s time of 3:49.96 was nowhere near the Olympic A or B-standards, but his B-standard qualifyi…

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 …

Matsumiya Doubles With 5000 m Victory

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 …

Yoko Shibui Defeats Akaba and Fukushi to Qualify for Beijing 10000 m

by Brett Larner



Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) staged a brilliant comeback on the track to defeat rivals Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and six-time defending champion Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) in an epic women`s 10000 m at the Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Kawasaki`s Todoroki Stadium on June 27. Shibui, along with second place finisher Akaba and third place finisher Fukushi, broke Athens World Championships marathon gold medalist Hiromi Suzuki`s twelve year-old meet record to record a 31:15.07 victory, the fastest time of her life next to her national record of 30:48.89. Shibui`s win qualifies her for the Beijing Olympics, the first time in her career the 10000 m national record holder and former marathon national record holder has made an Olympic team.

Under Japanese Olympic selection rules, the winner of the 10000 m would be guaranteed a spot on the Beijing Olympic team provided that she had recorded an Olympic A-standard time within the qualification …

Takayuki Matsumiya Wins Olympic Selection 10000m at Japanese National Track & Field Championships

by Brett Larner



5000 m national record holder and 30 km world record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta) won the Japanese National Track and Field Championships men`s 10000 m for the third straight year at Kawasaki`s Todoroki Stadium on June 26. Under the Japanese Olympic selection system, an athlete holding an Olympic A-standard time will be guaranteed a spot on the Beijing Olympics team if he or she wins an event at this year`s National Championships. With the absence of Waseda University senior Kensuke Takezawa, Matsumiya was the only runner in the field entering the competition with an A-standard qualifying time after running 27:41.75 at last month`s Cardinal Invitational. His 27:51.27 victory here, while itself falling short of the A-standard, met the selection criteria and was enough to secure Matsumiya a place in the Olympic 10000 m. The other eight runners who broke the 10000 m Olympic B-standard in the National Championships are unlikely to be named to the team but…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Distance Preview

by Brett Larner

The 2008 Japanese National Track and Field Championships take place June 26-29 at Todoroki Stadium in Kawasaki. Tension is high this year as Olympic selection is at stake. Below we offer an event-by-event preview of the distance competitions.

6/26: Men`s 10000 m
By far the favorite to make the Olympic team is Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta), the national 5000 m and world 30 km record holder. Matsumiya was on track for a 10000 m national record at this spring`s Cardinal Invitational before tying up in the final kilometer and finishing with only a PB of 27:41.75. His main rival, on paper at least, is Waseda University senior Kensuke Takezawa. Takezawa holds a PB of 27:45.59 and ran in the 2007 World Championships 10000 m. During the winter he suffered a series of injuries which have kept him out of competition since January. His appearance on the entry list comes as something of a surprise, but if he is anywhere near fit he will be a major contender. Ryuji Ono (Tea…

Meiji University Wins All-Japan University Ekiden Qualifying Meet

by Brett Larner

The 2008-2009 university men`s ekiden season officially began on June 22nd with the 40th annual All-Japan University Ekiden Kanto Regional Qualifying Meet at Tokyo`s Oda Field. The top six teams at last year`s All-Japan were seeded for the 2008 ekiden. Chuo Gakuin University was also awarded a seeded spot on the strength of its unprecedented third place finish at this year`s Hakone Ekiden. Additional teams would be selected from the different parts of Japan on the strength of their performances in the regional qualifying meets.

For the Kanto Regional Qualifying Meet, any university in the region could submit names and personal bests of eight team members. The fastest twenty teams based on aggregate time would be eligible to run in the qualifier. Each team`s eight runners were split evenly between four 10000 m track races, roughly seeded so that runners of similar ability would compete against each other. The eight runners` total times in the four races were then added an…

Satoshi Osaki Training for Olympic Marathon Gold in Abashiri, Hokkaido

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/chiiki/99843.html

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team member Satoshi Osaki (32, Team NTT Nishi Nihon) arrived in Abashiri, Hokkaido on June 18 to begin an intensive training camp. At a welcoming ceremony at Abashiri city hall hosted by Mayor Osamu Oba, Osaki told well-wishers, "I`m here to do the training I`ll need to be ready to win the gold medal."

Osaki will be in Abashiri for training three times in the next forty days as he makes his final preparations for the Olympic main event on August 24th. Mayor Oba addressed Osaki, telling him, "All of Abashiri`s well-known training facilities are at your disposal. We want you to train as hard as you can." Osaki in return complimented Abashiri, saying, "Mt. Tento`s undulating terrain, the cycling roads and many other places to run, the accomodations and food in Abashiri make it the perfect place for me to be ready for the Olympic marathon."

The other two…

Atsushi Sato Returns From Beijing

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/080618/spg0806182001001-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team member Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) arrived at Tokyo`s Narita Airport on June 18 after returning from a preview of the Beijing Marathon course. This was Sato`s second time to test-run the Beijing course, having participated in April`s official pre-Olympic competition. "I got a thorough feel for the course," commented Sato. "I had the impression that the pavement in the second half is softer."

Sato will be training in Hokkaido for one week beginning June 19. He will then go to support his wife Miho Sugimori (Team Natureal) in the 800 m at the National Track and Field Championships in Kawasaki. Afterwards Sato travels to St. Moritz, Switerland for a one-month training camp. "The most important part of my training starts now," he told reporters. "I am completely focused."

Translator`s note: Sato ran 1:04:01 in …

Mogusu to Join Team Aidem

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=200806/2008061500199&rel=j&g=spo

translated by Brett Larner

On June 15 Team Aidem announced that three-time Sapporo International Half Marathon winner Mekubo Mogusu of Kenya will join its ranks following his graduation from Yamanashi Gakuin University next March. Mogusu will follow Yamanashi Gakuin`s previous star Kenyan runner Ombeche Mokamba to Team Aidem.

In January Mogusu set the stage record on the second leg of the Hakone Ekiden, marking him as the strongest of the university runners in Japan. In July he plans to compete in the Kenyan 10000 m Olympic Trials. His long term goals include running the marathon in the 2012 London Olympics.

Translator`s note: Team Aidem includes only a handful of athletes, all graduates of Yamanashi Gakuin University, and has a focus on the full marathon rather than on ekidens. In such it is potentially a good move for Mogusu. The major contraindication is the relative lack of marathoning success experienced by Mokamb…

Osaka Governor Examining Creation of Mass-Participation Marathon

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/local/080613/lcl0806130140000-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Inspired by the success of the Tokyo Marathon, Osaka Governor Hashimoto announced on June 12 that he has initiated a committee to examine the creation of a mass-participation marathon in Osaka. The tentative plan for the race calls for it to act as an extension of the legacy of currently exisiting marathons. Speaking at a meeting of city government officials, Governor Hashimoto told listeners he is in consultation with the city office and police department to design a course suitable for a large-scale marathon and a plan to handle road closures and safety issues.

Governor Hashimoto stated, "We are examining what steps will be necessary to hold a mass-participation marathon as well as gathering sponsors to cover the costs of expanding the event beyond the scale of existing marathons." Osaka-based sports maker Mizuno is a potential sponsor. Mizuno company president Akito Mizuno comme…

Noguchi to Lead Japanese Team of 10 at Rio World Half Marathon Championships

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20080616-OYT1T00581.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On June 16, Rikuren announced the members of the Japanese team for the World Half Marathon Championships to be held October 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Leading the team of five men and five women will be two-time Olympic marathoner Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex).
The complete lineup of each team, with qualification data:

Men
Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku): 1:02:00 (2nd, Sendai, 5/11/08)
Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko): 1:02:05 (3rd, Sendai, 5/11/08)
Masato Kihara (Chuo Gakuin Univ.): 1:02:07 (5th, Sapporo, 6/15/08)
Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK): 1:02:35 (3rd, Jitsugyodan, 3/16/08)
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN): 1:02:40 (4th, Jitsugyodan, 3/16/08)

Women
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren): 1:08:11 (1st, Jitsugyodan, 3/16/08)
Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex): 1:08:25 (1st, Sendai, 5/11/08)
Chisato Osaki (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo): 1:09:16 (2nd, Sapporo, 6/15/08)
Miki Ohira (Team Mistui Sumitomo Kaijo): 1:1…

Signs of Things to Come at the Sapporo International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

click here for race photos

The Men`s Race
Mekubo Mogusu of Yamanashi Gakuin University successfully defended his title at the 2008 Sapporo International Half Marathon, winning in a time of 1:00:52. Mogusu, in peak shape after a recent 10000 m PB of 27:27 and a half marathon course record at the Kanto University Championships, set out hard and gapped the entire field within the first 100 m. Only Chuo Gakuin University senior Masato Kihara pursued Mogusu, hanging behind the course record holder through the first 4 km. It was a familiar pattern as Kihara had also pursued Mogusu at last year`s Yosenkai 20 km road race and this year`s Hakone Ekiden 2nd stage.

Although Mogusu showed signs of maturity in his running during 2007 after two years of spectacular failures, in Sapporo he fell victim to a fatal flaw he has displayed time and again, an inability to cope with competitors running near him. While he claimed afterwards to have been pursuing a world record, Mogusu responded t…

Photosynthetic Power? Tosa Training in Favorite Color Green

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/olympic/news/2008/06/13/05.html

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Reiko Tosa (32, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) is now in Kunming, China for high-altitude training. For her 32nd birthday on June 11, Tosa`s husband Keiichi Murai (34) gave her a wallet in her lucky color green. "Kinda pale green, isn`t it?" laughed Tosa while showing off the present. Last year when she won a bronze medal in the World Championships marathon her lucky color was yellow, and she wore shoes and a rubber wristband in that color. This year looking toward Beijing she selected green. "It`s the color of young, healthy things and will keep me from breaking," explained Tosa.

Translator`s note: My younger brother also turned 32 on June 11.

Olympic Marathoner Satoshi Osaki Gives Speech at His High School

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008061100401

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team member Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) visited his alma mater high school, Osaka`s Seifu High, on June 11 to give a speech to current students, alumni and faculty. "Whatever the outcome in the Olympics," Osaki said, "I will try to be a good role model for all of you. Please cheer for me and lend me your support."

While Osaki was a student at Seifu three alumni of the school took part in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, gymnasts Yukio Iketani and Daisuke Nishikawa along with sprinter Satoru Inoue. Osaki heard the three athletes speak at his school before the Olympics and remembers thinking that the Olympics, "...seemed like something which existed above the clouds." Standing now in the place of honor, Osaki was deeply emotional as he told the assembled crowd, "I am going after the gold medal. I believe I have a chance."

Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon Sets Feb. 1 Date for 2009 Running

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/shikoku/kagawa/080612/kgw0806120248000-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

On June 11 the organizing committee for the 63rd Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon, sponsored in part by the Sankei Newspapers Group, announced in a meeting at Marugame`s Civic Gymnasium that next year`s edition of the race will be held on Feb. 1. 40 officials including race director Tetsuji Arai and Marugame`s mayor attended the meeting. The organizing committee also announced that in light of this year`s record 5405 participants, next year`s 63rd running will move to an "International" format with at least 5 international elite athletes. The Marugame Half Marathon includes men`s and women`s divisions, a high school boys` and girls` 3 km race, a junior high school boys` and girls` 3 km race, and an elementary boys` and girls` 1 km race. Applications open September 1st.

Fukushi Returns With Olympic A-Standard 10000m in Fukagawa (updated)

by Brett Larner

Japanese 3000 m, 5000 m and half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) provided the standout performance of the third meet in the Hokuren Distance Challenge series, held June 11 in Fukugawa, Hokkaido. Fukushi overcame problems she has faced since her memorable marathon debut in January to win the 10000 m in an Olympic A-standard time of 31:30.94. It was a last-chance attempt by Fukushi to make the Olympic-qualifying National Track and Field Championships 10000 m on June 27 and was a commanding solo performance, with 2nd-place finisher Satoe Matsumoto (Team Nihon ChemiCon) far behind in 32:31.43.

An interview after the race quoted Fukushi saying, "I`m a bit late getting on board, so it was a good run." Fukushi also revealed that while preparing for the Fukugawa meet at a training camp in Chitose, Hokkaido, her training included screaming while running.

The women`s 10000 m at the Nationals now looks set to be a dream matchup, with Fukushi f…

Sapporo International Half Marathon - Preview

by Brett Larner

After an earlier preliminary announcement of its invited elites, the Sapporo International Half Marathon has released the complete field for this year`s 51st running on Sunday, June 15. Normally held in July, this year`s competition was moved to June due to the upcoming G-8 summit in Toyako, near Sapporo. Considering the dramatic difference in Japan`s weather between mid-June and mid-July, the date change will probably help to put the course records up for grabs. The Japanese runners in the field have the added motivation that the top domestic man and woman will be selected for the Japanese team at this fall`s World Half Marathon Championships.

By far the favorite in the men`s race is defending champion Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.). Mogusu ran a solo 59:54 to win last year`s race in course record time. This year he comes fresh from setting a sizeable PB in the 10000 m and breaking his own course record in the half marathon at last month`s Kanto Regional Univers…

Yurika Nakamura Aims to Develop Superior Speed To Noguchi and Tosa

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2008/06/10/0001123832.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Yurika Nakamura (22, Team Tenmaya) held a public practice session at the Okayama Prefectural Track in Okayama City on June 9. With two months to go to race day, Nakamura`s coach Yutaka Taketomi has indicated that her main focus until the Olympics is to improve her 10000 m time to be faster than those of teammates Mizuki Noguchi (29, Team Sysmex) and Reiko Tosa (31, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). The razor-sharp talent she showed while smashing down her targets in the Nagoya International Women`s Marathon is being further sharpened as she turns her attention to winning a medal.To stand on the Olympic starting line with complete confidence, Nakamura wants to hone her dullest edge in some tangible way. The most important point facing her as she in turn faces her biggest race is to develop better speed than Noguchi and Tosa. Coach Taketomi explained, "Noguch…

Olympic Marathoner Tsuyoshi Ogata Returns From New Zealand Training Camp

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/080610/spg0806101926005-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team member Tsuyoshi Ogata returned to Japan on June 10, arriving at Kansai International Airport after a three-week training camp in New Zealand. Ogata travelled to New Zealand on May 19. His training at the camp included three 40 km runs and one 45 km run. "Practice was good," commented Ogata. "Things went according to plan." His coach Yasushi Sakaguchi agreed, saying "Everything is in order with Ogata`s training."

On the way back from New Zealand Ogata stopped in Beijing for a second test run on the course after having participated in April`s official Pre-Olympic Marathon. "I`ve learned the course very well," said Ogata. He is next scheduled to run in the Sapporo International Half Marathon on June 15.

Reiko Tosa Strongly Motivated by $100,000 Gold Medal Bonus

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2008/06/10/0001123830.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Reiko Tosa (31) appeared along with 70 kg. class judo wrestler Masae Ueno (29) and 52 kg. class judo wrestler Misato Nakamura (19) at a general meeting at the Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo Group`s offices on June 9. Model Maki Horikita (19) MC`d the event.

Having just returned from training in Boulder, Colorado, Tosa is scheduled to leave for Kunming, China on June 12. Asked for her views on the mysterious virus which track star Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) is alleged to have contracted while training in Kunming, Tosa said flatly, "I`m not worried at all." Looking ahead to the Olympics, she continued, "The conditions are going to be hot and cruel, but I`ve done a good job of modifying my training. I`ll be running relaxed and unconcerned." Also sure to be in Tosa`s mind as she prepares for the main event is Rikuren`s $100,000 gold medal bonus. &q…

Meet Records Abound at National University T&F Individual Championships

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 reco…

Kawasaki Sets 10000m Walk National Record at Hokuren Shibetsu Meet

by Brett Larner

Racewalker Mayumi Kawasaki of Team Ebisawa Seisakujo marked the biggest result of the Hokuren Distance Challenge series` second competition, held Sunday in Shibetsu, Hokkaido. Kawasaki set a mark of 44:04.15 in the women`s 10000 m racewalk, breaking the old Japanese national record by over 25 seconds. Men`s 10000 m racewalk victor Koichiro Morioka of Team Fujitsu likewise had a strong performance with his 39:32.08 finish time, less than 5 seconds off the national record.

Team Daihatsu`s Ryoko Kisaki joined the list of contenders for the Beijing Olympics team with her Olympic B-standard 32:12.14 win in the women`s 10000 m. Winning times in other events were less remarkable as many athletes used the meet simply as a tune-up for the upcoming National Track and Field Championships. Top finishers in each event are listed below; complete results are available here.

The Hokuren Distance Challenge continues June 11 in Fukagawa, Hokkaido.

Men`s 1500 m
1. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku …

22 Year-Old Yurika Nakamura to Bring "Courage of Youth" to Olympic Women`s Marathon

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0001115236.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) met the press at a conference in Okayama City on June 6. At age 22 the youngest marathoner on the men`s or women`s teams, Nakamura told the assembled crowd, "My biggest strength is my youth. [Thinking about the Olympics and] lasting until the end is scary, but I want to run a race which exceeds all expectations."

Nakamura spoke in front of 500 members of the Okayama Track and Field Association and assorted members of the press. Her mentor from her days at Nishinomiya High School, Kenkichi Hagiwara, as well as Asics` master shoe craftsman Hitoshi Mimura who made the shoes she will use in the Olympic marathon, also attended. The event concluded with a video of Nakamura`s victory in March`s Nagoya International Women`s Marathon, her debut and the race which qualified her for the Olympics. Nakamura`s pride in her accomplishmen…

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 h…

Tosa Returns From Boulder After Training So Hard She Cried

http://www.daily.co.jp/newsflash/2008/06/04/0001107011.shtml
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/080605/spg0806050501000-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Reiko Tosa (31, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) arrived at Narita Airport on June 4 after returning from a high-altitude training camp in Boulder, Colorado. She spoke to reporters at the airport, saying "I was training on a mountain 2200 m high. [The workouts were so hard] I cried three or four times, but it was solid training.

Tosa last trained in Boulder prior to winning the silver medal at the 2001 Edmonton World Championships. Her preparation this time included three tough, hilly runs over 33 km. Tosa`s coach Hideo Suzuki commented, "She didn`t get injured and everything went according to plan. Her times were better than before Edmonton."

Tosa is scheduled to head to Kunming, China for additional altitude training beginning June 12. She reported her current condition a…