Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'Athletics Squad Faces Pressure in Beijing'

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/sp20080727ed.html

Tamesue Competes in Herculis Monaco Grand Prix

by Brett Larner

Men`s 400 m hurdles national record holder Dai Tamesue competed in the Herculis Monaco Grand Prix meet on July 29th just days after last weekend`s Aviva London Grand Prix. Tamesue was 7th of eight runners, only one position better than in London, but his time of 49.51 was a marked improvement and just off his winning time from last month`s National Track and Field Championships. Monaco is scheduled to be Tamesue`s last major competition before the Beijing Olympics.

For complete results click here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Samuel Wanjiru Resigns From Team Toyota Kyushu

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/olympic/2008/news/track/long/news/20080728-OYT1T00534.htm

translated by Brett Larner

On July 28, Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu of Miyawaka, Fukuoka Prefecture, received a letter of resignation from its star runner, Kenyan Olympic marathon team member and half marathon world record holder Samuel Wanjiru, 21. The letter was sent by a Tokyo law office and stated that Wanjiru would be resigning "for personal reasons." Wanjiru has been training in Kenya separately from the team since mid-July. Representatives from Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu commented, "We have to confirm that this letter was actually sent by Wanjiru and that this is really his intention."

Wanjiru joined Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu in 2005 after graduating from Sendai Ikuei High School in Miyagi Prefecture where he studied as an exchange student. In his debut marathon at last December`s Fukuoka International Marathon Wanjiru won the race in a course record time. In April this year he was 2nd in the London Marathon and was selected for the Kenyan Olympic team.

Translator`s note: Wanjiru joined Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu because its coach is Barcelona Olympics marathon silver medalist Koichi Morishita. Wanjiru is based in Japan most of the year, returning to Kenya several times a year for training and racing around the world through his association with agent Federico Rosa and his father, coach Gabrielle Rosa.

Since moving toward the marathon in the last year Wanjiru has been pulled in opposing directions by Morishita and Rosa, initially announcing he would run his debut marathon in Fukuoka, then switching to New York, then back to Fukuoka when Toyota Kyushu blocked his New York plans. Following Wanjiru`s course record debut victory at Fukuoka Morishita publicly stated that he didn`t want Wanjiru to run in the London or the Olympic marathons, but rather to spend a few years gradually building his experience before seeking to break through on the world level as a marathoner. Wanjiru ran London in an extremely fast time and was selected for the Kenyan Olympic team on the strength of that performance. He has spent much of his time since London pacemaking Toyota Kyushu teammates in their attempts to make the Japanese Olympic team in the men`s 10000 m.

Although Wanjiru claims to value his status as a jitsugyodan runner in Japan and the experience it brings him, it would appear that the limitations the Japanese system imposes, including a 180 day residency requirement, participation in particular ekidens and track races, and limitations on being able to select overseas races independently, have come to outweigh the benefits for a runner of Wanjiru`s ability.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yuri Kano 3rd in New York City Half Marathon, Tamesue and Others Race in Europe

by Brett Larner

Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) continued her summer of strength on July 27th, finishing in 3rd place at the 3rd New York City Half Marathon behind Kenyan marathon legend Catherine Ndereba and Mexican marathon national record holder Madai Perez. After finishing 4th in the race`s previous two editions, Kano once again found herself in a lead pack of four along with Ndereba, Perez and Kenyan Alice Timbilili. The four runners stayed close together throughout the race, with Kano doing most of the leading and Ndereba characteristically holding back just off the other competitors` shoulders. Timbilili was the first to fall back as Perez and Kano began to trade surges, but neither the Mexican nor the Japanese runner could respond to Ndereba`s long surge over the final two kilometers. Ndereba won in 1:10:19, with Perez 2nd in 1:10:26 and Kano 3rd in 1:10:31. Kano`s teammate Kiyoko Shimahara, in training for the Chicago Marathon, was 10th with a 1:13:41.

Across the Atlantic, men`s 400 m hurdles national record holder Dai Tamesue and Team Panasonic`s Mika Yoshikawa competed in the July 25-26 Aviva London Grand Prix meet. Both had disappointing showings, Tamesue last in the 400 m hurdles in 51.36 and Yoshikawa last in the women`s 1500 m in 4:19.62. Both runners` marks were well off their recent performances.


Misako Suguro in the women`s 3000 m at the Flanders Cup.

Elsewhere in Europe, several Japanese runners competed in the Flanders Cup meet in Belgium on July 23rd. Saori Yamashita (Team Hokuren) was 8th in the women`s 800 m B-group with a time of 2:09.26, while Nanae Kuwashiro (Team Acom) struggled home last in the same event, running 2:15.94. Chisa Hayakawa was 3rd in the women`s 800 m C-group in 2:10.82. Misako Suguro (Team Shiseido) was 10th in the women`s 3000 m in 9:28.81.


Saori Yamashita and Nanae Kuwashiro in the women`s 800 m B-group at the Flanders Cup.

At the Ciutat de Barcelona meet on July 19th, Yoshika Tatsumi (Team Noritz) was the sole Japanese competitor. Tatsumi ran 9:58.93 to finish 8th in the women`s 3000 m steeplechase.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 26, 2008

China to Triple Number of Police for Olympic Women`s Marathon

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20080726-00000092-sph-soci

translated by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin

China announced on July 25th that it will be dramatically increasing the number of police on the street during the Olympic women`s marathon in order to protect Japanese athletes and fans, tripling the number of street patrols and course guards in areas which are expected to have large numbers of Japanese supporters. The government has taken this unusually strict action to prevent trouble during the women`s marathon in light of the fact that both Japan and China are fielding favorites for the gold medal. In the past Beijing has experienced large public demonstrations against Japan, and it is expected that the battle in the women`s marathon will lead to an even more heated clash between supporters off the course.

The Japanese team features exceptionally strong members including Mizuki Noguchi, 30, who is going for her second straight gold medal. Large numbers of Japanese supporters are expected in Beijing because of the likelihood of a Japanese runner scoring a medal. China`s team features 2007 Osaka World Championships silver medalist Zhou Chunxiu, 29, also a major contender for an Olympic medal.

A serious clash between the two runners` supporters along the course is expected to occur. According to a Chinese government source, the Chinese police expect about 1000 Japanese exchange students and residents of China to gather at a major subway station located near the 35 km point of the Olympic marathon course. Large numbers of police including undercover agents will be positioned in this area.

In 2004, shortly after former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Tokyo`s Yasukuni shrine*, thousands of Chinese fans in Beijing became unruly after Japan`s victory at a soccer game between the two countries` national teams and attacked vehicles belonging to the Japanese embassy. In 2005, more than 10,000 people took part in an anti-Japan demonstration, throwing stones at the Japanese embassy and destroying many Japanese-owned businesses in the city.

However, bilateral relations improved after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China in October, 2006. In May this year, Chinese President Hu Jintao made the first offical visit to Japan by a Chinese leader in over 10 years, illustrating the improved relationship between the two nations. Nevertheless, as a member of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out, "When national pride has been damaged it cannot heal so quickly."

In terms of the women`s marathon, the Chinese government is concerned that because of the nature of the marathon it is difficult to control access to the course. It is not a closed venue in which only those who purchased tickets can get close to athletes, but rather one in which anyone may watch and anything could happen. In the Athens Olympics men`s marathon a man broke onto the course and interrupted the race by attacking one of the runners, leading Japanese Rikuren officials to hope that China will strictly enforce course security. Rikuren marathon division director Tadasu Kawano said, "It`s too late when something has already happened, so I want China to guard our runners strictly."

Japanese fans going to cheer the women`s marathon have been advised to carry both the Japanese and Chinese flags to show sensitivity to Chinese feeling. Mineki Komma, a Japanese exchange student who has been living in Beijing for 3 years, commented, "I think it`s scary because when a lot of Japanese people gather here you don`t know what`s going to happen."

*Translator`s note: Former Prime Minister Koizumi`s visits to honor Japan`s war dead at Yasukuni Shrine were a contentious issue for China and South Korea as by visiting he payed his respects to the Class A war criminals enshrined therein who led Japan`s occupation of China and Korea before and during World War II.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rikuren Announces Japanese Olympic Track and Field Team of 40

by Brett Larner

Following the July 23rd deadline for athletes to qualify for the Japanese track and field team at the Beijing Olympics, Rikuren has announced the team`s complete lineup. The roster includes 16 women and 24 men and features 17 national record holders along with several defending medalists, junior and university record holders.

A complete list of the current Japanese team with qualification times and PBs - click names for photos and more detailed profiles:

Women`s 100 m
Chisato Fukushima - 11.36 (PB: 11.36 - NR)

Women`s 4 x 400 m
Asami Tanno - 51.75 (PB: 51.75 - NR)
Mayu Kida - 53.05 (PB: 53.05)
Satomi Kubokura - 53.08 (PB: 53.08)
Sayaka Aoki - 53.40 (PB: 53.40)

Women`s 3000 m SC
Minori Hayakari - 9:33.93 (PB: 9:33.93 - NR)

Women`s 5000 m
Kayoko Fukushi - 15:05.73 (PB: 14:53.22 - NR)
Yukiko Akaba - 15:06.07 (PB: 15:06.07)
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 Nakamura - 2:25:51 (PB: 2:25:51)
Reiko Tosa - 2:26:15 (PB: 2:22:46)

Women`s Long Jump
Kumiko Ikeda - 6.73 (PB: 6.86 - NR)

Men`s 100 m
Nobuharu Asahara - 10.14 (PB: 10.02)
Naoki Tsukahara - 10.15 (PB: 10.15)

Men`s 110 m Hurdles
Masato Naito - 13.43 (PB: 13.43)

Men`s 200 m
Shingo Suetsugu - 20.20 (PB: 20.03 - NR)
Shinji Takahira - 20.52 (PB: 20.35)
Hitoshi Saito - 20.64 (PB: 20.64)

Men`s 400 m
Yuzo Kanemaru - 45.21 (PB: 45.21)
Yoshihiro Horigome - 46.05 (PB: 45.77)
Mitsuhiro Abiko - 46.23 (PB: 46.23)

Men`s Sprint Relays
Athletes to be drawn from the pool above - to be updated.

Men`s 400 m Hurdles
Kenji Narisako - 48.44 (PB: 47.93)
Dai Tamesue - 48.73 (PB: 47.89 - NR)

Men`s 3000 m SC
Yoshitaka Iwamizu - 8:23.31 (PB: 8:18.93 - NR)

Men`s 5000 m
Takayuki Matsumiya - 13:13.20 (PB: 13:13.20 - NR)
Kensuke Takezawa - 13:19.00 (PB: 13:19.00)

Men`s 10000 m
Takayuki Matsumiya - 27:41.75 (PB: 27:41.75)

Men`s 20 km Walk
Yuki Yamazaki - 1:20.38 (PB: 1:20:38)
Takayuki Tanii - 1:21:09 (PB: 1:20:39)
Koichiro Morioka - 1:21:30 (PB: 1:21:30)

Men`s Marathon
Atsushi Sato - 2:07:13 (PB: 2:07:13)
Satoshi Osaki - 2:08:36 (PB: 2:08:36)
Tsuyoshi Ogata - 2:10:48 (PB: 2:08:37)

Men`s 50 km Walk
Yuki Yamazaki - 3:41.55 (PB: 3:41.55 - NR)
Takayuki Tanii - 3:49.33 (PB: 3:47.23)

Men`s Hammer
Koji Murofushi - 82.62 (PB: 84.86 - NR)
Yukifumi Murakami - 79.85 (PB: 81.71)

Men`s High Jump
Naoyuki Daigo - 2.30 (PB: 2.33 - NR)

Men`s Pole Vault
Daichi Sawano - 5.75 (PB: 5.83 - NR)

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tokyo Marathon Entries Surpass Field Size Within 48 Hours

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/080724/oth0807241818005-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

The organizing committee of the 3rd annual Tokyo Marathon, to be held on Mar. 22, 2009, announced on July 24th that 34,014 people had already applied for the 30,000 available slots in the full marathon race within two days of the application window opening on July 22nd. This is the fastest the Tokyo Marathon has reached this of number applicants in its history. Applications to enter the lottery pool will be accepted until Sept. 22nd, with notifications to be sent out to lottery winners in mid-November.

3179 people had also applied for the 10 km race by the end of July 23rd. 5000 spaces are available in the shorter race.

Kobe Organizes Public Viewing of Noguchi`s Olympic Marathon

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0001262952.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

In honor of defending Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi`s frequent presence in the city for work with her company Sysmex and for events such as the All-Japan Women`s Half Marathon, the city of Kobe will hold a free public viewing of Noguchi`s attempt to become the first woman to win two Olympic marathon gold medals when she runs the Beijing Olympics women`s marathon on Aug. 17th.

The viewing will be held at Kobe`s Civic Central Gymnasium and will open at 7:45 a.m. The marathon begins at 8:30. Former women`s marathon national record holder and Kobe native Yoshiko Yamamoto will be on hand as a guest commentator during the broadcast of Noguchi`s race. Towels personally signed by Noguchi and other prizes will be given away, and attendees can also sign a poster which will be given to Noguchi. A fitness check corner and other services will also be available.

1200 seats are available; elementary and junior high school students must be accompanied by an adult. For more information please contact the Kobe City Sports Education Bureau at 078-322-5803.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hitoshi Mimura Completes Mizuki Noguchi`s Golden Shoes

http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/tochu/article/sports/news/CK2008071702000172.html

translated by Brett Larner

Athens Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (30, Team Sysmex) received her superlight and superfast 'Golden Shoes' from Asics` grandmaster shoe craftsman Hitoshi Mimura at a press conference in Kobe on July 16th. Mimura has nicknamed the shoes his 'Beijing Special.'

Noguchi had ordered five different types of shoe from Mimura, testing each out on the Beijing Olympic marathon course and selecting the one which felt the best. Mimura then modified the basic design to respond to the idiosyncrasies of Noguchi`s stride, coming up with a 'magical' shield against Beijing`s hard concrete roads for the Olympic champion.

The shoes` last is angled slightly forward to improve motion and reduce fatigue, while the midsole cushioning has been reduced, lightening the shoes` weight by 13 grams from its previous design weight of 118 grams. The design of the mesh on the shoes` upper features wider openings than on the model Noguchi used in Athens, highlighting that they are intended not only to be fast but dry, a truly perfect design taking all factors into account.

Mimura has become a legend since Olympic marathon medalists such as Yuko Arimori and Naoko Takahashi wore his work. This time five Olympic athletes including Noguchi will
compete in Mimura`s shoes. "Three women will be wearing my shoes," Mimura told the audience. "My dream is for them to win gold, silver and bronze."

Tosa and Shibui`s Training Plans Unaffected by Kunming Bus Explosion

http://beijing2008.nikkansports.com/athletics/p-sp-tp0-20080722-386701.html

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Reiko Tosa (32, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) was unharmed by Sunday`s explosion of a commuter bus in southern China`s Kunming, carrying out her scheduled training on July 21st. Situated at 1900 m elevation, Kunming is a popular location for altitude training for both Japanese and Chinese athletes. A spokesperson for the Chinese sports association responsible for overseeing foreign athletes reported, "We have spoken with all Japanese athletes and coaches and all are safe."

At the time of the explosion, Tosa and her coach Hideo Suzuki were training in the countryside approximately 40 minutes by car from the city of Kunming. This was her only scheduled day of training outside the city. Speaking from within Japan, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo manager Takashi Takaseki assured the public, "This situation created no problems for us. Tosa was able to train as usual without any negative impact." The team plans for her to remain in Kunming through July 30th as scheduled.

Tosa`s Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo teammate Yoko Shibui (29) is also going through with her scheduled training, arriving in Kunming on July 22nd to prepare for the Beijing Olympic women`s 10000 m. Coach Shigeharu Watanabe commented, "We`re not worried at all. At the same time, we have to be on guard to help our athletes completed their preparations."

Iwamizu Has Weak Showing in DN Galan 3000 m SC

by Brett Larner

Men`s 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) competed in the DN Galan track and field meet in Stockholm, Sweden on July 22nd. Iwamizu had a weak performance, finishing 12th of 14 competitors in a time of 8:34.05. His time was over 4 seconds slower than his winning time at last month`s National Track and Field Championships and well off his national record of 8:18.93. Iwamizu now enters his final training for next month`s Beijing Olympic Games.

Complete results are available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 21, 2008

Higuchi and Kipgenon Score Victories at Shibetsu Half Marathon

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/106230.html

translated by Brett Larner

At the Rikuren-certified 22nd Shibetsu Half Marathon on July 20th, Kenyan Kibet Kipgenon (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) won the men`s race in a time of 1:04:29, while Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) ran 1:13:52 to record her first win. Kipgenon broke from the pack at the 15 km point with a long spurt, while Higuchi came from the rear of the lead pack to win.

Kipgenon commented after the race, "That was close to my race plan, and I set a new PB so I am quite happy." Noguchi, training in Shibetsu at a Kansai Jitsugyodan training camp, said of her race, "I followed my coach`s plan to 'stick to the lead pack like blood.' Winning here is going to help me run better in the ekiden season this fall."

A total of 1415 men and women entered the half marathon, 10 km, 5 km and 2 km races, with 660 in the half marathon alone. 1377 finished the race, including 629 in the half marathon.

Hayakari Breaks Own Steeplechase National Record in Heusden

by Brett Larner


Minori Hayakari`s 3000 m SC national record.

2008 National Track and Field Championships women`s 3000 m steeplechase champion Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) ran 9:33.93 to break her own Japanese national record by almost 5 seconds at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium on July 20th. Her time, which was nearly 15 seconds better than her winning time at last month`s Nationals, landed Hayakari in 4th place just a step behind 3rd place finisher Irini Kokkinariou of Greece. 1st and 2nd place finishers Jenny Barringer and Anna Willard finished in a virtual tie, both breaking the U.S. national record. Heusden remained a lucky meet for Hayakari after having set the former Japanese national record at last year`s KBC Night of Athletics.

In the men`s 1500 m B-group, Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko), infamous for falling just meters before the finish while leading the 1500 m at last month`s Nationals, ran his best time of the season but just missed the Olympic B-standard. Osaka World Championships men`s 10000 m team member Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) ran a PB to break the Olympic B-standard in the men`s 5000 m B-group but came up short of making the Olympic A-standard and securing the final spot on the Beijing Olympic team. It was a good day overall for the Japanese men in the 5000, with 5 of the 8 men entered running PBs. 2007 National 3000 m steeplechase champion Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko), who fell during the steeplechase at this year`s Nationals and finished last, continued his run of bad luck when he scored a DNF in the 5000 m.

Japanese results at Heusden (click for video):

Men`s 800 m B-group
8. Hiroshi Sasano: 1:49.57

Women`s 1500 m
13. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic): 4:12.73
17. Nanae Kuwashiro (Team Acom): 4:21.79

Men`s 1500 m B-group
6. Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko): 3:40.97

Women`s 3000 m SC
4. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC): 9:33.93 - NR

Men`s 5000 m B-group
5. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko): 13:25.24 - PB
16. Hidekazu Sato (Team Toyota Boshoku): 13:33.86 - PB

Men`s 5000 m National 1-group
4. Tsuyoshi Makabe (Team Kanebo): 13:40.04 - PB
5. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko): 13:40.10
7. Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei): 13:46.14 - PB
8. Hiroyuki Yamada (Team Konica-Minolta): 13:48.71 - PB
DNF: Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko)

Men`s 5000 m National 2-group
5. Tsuyoshi Takahashi: 14:22.51

A complete list of results is available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ono`s Olympic Hopes End in Kushiro (updated)

by Brett Larner

Ryuji Ono`s dream of running in his second Olympic 10000 m came to an end on July 16 with his 2nd place 27:54.28 finish in the Hokuren Distance Challenge Kushiro Meet in Kushiro, Hokkaido. Ono, who runs for Team Asahi Kasei, made the 2004 Athens Olympics 10000 m as an 18 year old high school student. Since mid-May he had come frustratingly close to clearing the Beijing Olympics A-standard three times, running 27:56.86 on May 17, 27:53.19 on June 1st, and 27:55.16 at the National Track and Field Championships on June 26. Team Konica-Minolta`s Takayuki Matsumiya won Nationals and held an A-standard time, meaning that Kushiro represented Ono`s last chance of qualifying in advance of the July 23rd deadline to make the Japanese team. Once again he came up short, finishing just behind winner Nicholas Kamau of Team JAL Ground Service.

Other notable results included women`s 1500 m national record holder and Beijing Olympics women`s 5000 m team member Yuriko Kobayashi`s victory in the 3000 m, former Hakone Ekiden star Satoru Kitamura`s win the men`s 3000 m ahead of his teammate Kazuyoshi Tokumoto, and 2008 Sapporo International Half Marathon winner Yuri Kano`s 1st-place finish in the women`s 10000 m. Kano`s time fell short of the Olympic A-standard but was only 1 second off her PB and well faster than her time in last month`s National Track and Field Championships 10000 m, where she was 9th in 32:10.93.

Top Finishers

Women`s 3000 m A-group
1. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki): 8:54.42
2. Obare Dorika (Team Hitachi): 8:59.79
3. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui): 9:04.93

Women`s 3000 m B-group
1. Kaori Oyama (Team Noritz): 9:26.78
2. Kaori Urata (Team Tenmaya): 9:27.13
3. Yoshie Kitomi (Team Hokuren): 9:32.89

Men`s 3000 m
1. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin): 8:07.90
2. Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Nissin Shokuhin): 8:12.28
3. Kazuya Namera (Hokkai Gakuen Univ.): 8:15.19

Women`s 10000 m
1. Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC): 31:54.24
2. Maki Suzawa (Team Kyocera): 32:04.24
3. Takami Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai): 32:29.29

Men`s 10000 m A-group
1. Nicholas Kamau (Team JAL Ground Service): 27:52.32
2. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei): 27:54.28
3. James Mwangi (Team NTN): 27:58.43
4. Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu): 28:25.67
5. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo): 28:28.86

Men`s 10000 m B-group
1. Akinori Tachibana (Team Nissan): 28:44.72
2. Makoto Harada (Team JR Higashi): 28:49.89
3. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express): 28:52.36

Men`s 10000 m C-group
1. Naoki Yamashita (Team NTN): 29:04.06
2. Yukinobu Nakazaki (Team Toyota Kyushu): 29:05.57
3. Shun Sato (Team Yakult): 29:07.28

Men`s 10000 m D-group
1. Hayato Ideue (Team Toyota Kyushu): 29:41.97
2. Kazuharu Mori (Team Yachio): 29:48.16
3. ??? Chan (Team Daewoo): 29:50.35

Complete results will be available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet - Results

by Brett Larner

The Olympic A-standard victory of Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) in the women`s 5000 m proved the standout result of the July 13 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet. Akaba, who has already been named to the Beijing Olympic team in the women`s 10000 m, ran a sizeable PB of 15:06.07 to win the race and all but assure that she will double in Beijing.

Her potential teammate in the Olympic 5000 m, women`s national 1500 m record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), won the Kitami 1500 m in 4:12.79, a time too slow to put her in a position for an Olympic double. Men`s national 1500 m record holder Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) likewise missed setting an Olympic-standard mark, winning the men`s 1500 m in 3:42.67. Barring a last-minute breakthrough, the male Kobayashi will likely be staying home in August.

Athens Olympics 10000 m team member Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) won the men`s 3000 m in 7:54.25 in a tune-up for Wednesday`s Hokuren Distance Challenge Kushiro Meet 10000 m. Ono was 2nd in last month`s National Track and Field Championships 10000 m but was not selected for Beijing after just missing the Olympic A-standard for the third time this season. The Kushiro 10000 m will be the last chance for the 22 year-old to make the Beijing team.

Next to Akaba`s performance, the standout result of the Kitami Meet came in the men`s 5000 m. Winner Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) was far from the Olympic A-standard with his 13:45.80 mark, followed by the recently-graduated Nittai University ace Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) in 13:49.49. The notable result came with the 13:50.14 mark set by 3rd-place finisher Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.). Yagi was the 2007 high school 5000 m national champion and came to Waseda this spring as part of the school`s aggressive recruitment of the top three graduating high school men. Yagi`s time in Kitami was a PB of more than 11 seconds, showing that he is on track to make a significant mark on the upcoming ekiden season. His fellow super-recruit, 2007 high school 5000 m national 3rd-place finisher Takuya Nakayama, did not fare as well, finishing 2nd-to-last in 14:31.99.

Top Finishers

Women`s 800 m
1. Yeon Jung Heo (Korea): 2:07.97
2. Akari Kishikawa (Team Noritz): 2:08.44
3. Miki Nishimura (Self-Defense Force Sports Academy): 2:09.61

Men`s 800 m
1. Takeshi Kuchino (Nittai Univ.): 1:48.36
2. Jae Hum Lee (Korea): 1:48.81
3. Sung Soo Park (Korea): 1:49.20

Women`s 1500 m
1. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki): 4:12.79
2. Ann Karindi (Team Yutaka Giken): 4:14.49
3. Kazuka Wakatsuki (Team Toto): 4:18.54

Men`s 1500 m
1. Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN): 3:42.67
2. Sang Min Shin (Korea): 3:45.12
3. Ippei Tamura (Ami AC): 3:47.15

Women`s 3000 m
1. Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi): 9:42.37 - PB
2. Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura): 9:42.53 - PB
3. Ayumi Nakayama (Team Yamada Denki): 9:46.04

Men`s 3000 m
1. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei): 7:54.25
2. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku): 8:10.32
3. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku): 8:14.09

Women`s 5000 m A-group
1. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren): 15:06.07 - PB
2. Obare Dorika (Team Hitachi): 15:26.08
3. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz): 15:33.04

Women`s 5000 m B-group
1. Yuka Takashima (Team Denso): 16:04.76
2. Yuko Mizuguchi (Mie Univ.): 16:18.03
3. Shizuka Marumo (Team Denso): 16:19.94

Men`s 5000 m A-group
1. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo): 13:45.80
2. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin): 13:49.49
3. Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.): 13:50.14 - PB

Men`s 5000 m B-group
1. Kazuki Koda (Team Shikoku Denryoku): 13:59.00
2. Tetsushi Abe (Team Toenec): 14:02.79
3. Takayuki Ota (Team Fujitsu): 14:03.82

Men`s 5000 m C-group
1. Woo Yeon Kim (Korea): 14:12.49
2. Hidehisa Kobayashi (Team YKK): 14:13.07
3. Tomohiro Minami (Team Aisan): 14:20.08

A complete list of results is available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 14, 2008

Akaba Scores Olympic A-Standard Mark in Women`s 5000m

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008071300185

translated by Brett Larner

At the fifth meet in the Hokuren Distance Challenge track and field series, the July 13th Kitami Meet in Kitami, Hokkaido, Team Hokuren`s Yukiko Akaba won the women`s 5000 m in a personal best time of 15:06.07. Her mark, set with the aid of a male pacemaker, cleared the Olympic A-standard of 15:09.00. Akaba has already been named to the Beijing Olympic team in the women`s 10000 m but is now eligible to double in the 5000 m. Team Toyota Jidoshokki`s Yuriko Kobayashi and Team Wacoal`s Kayoko Fukushi also hold the A-standard and have already been named to the Olympic team.*

Kobayashi, the national record holder in the women`s 1500 m, ran the 1500 m at the Kitami meet. She won in a time of 4:12.76

Other athletes hoping for last-minute Olympic team selection have until July 23rd to run a qualifying time. In any event if one athlete from a given country breaks the Olympic A-standard the country may send up to 3 competitors in that event.

*Translator`s note: Kobayashi won the National Track and Field Championships 5000 m earlier this month, with Akaba 2nd and Fukushi 3rd. Kobayashi and Fukushi already held the Olympic A-standard at the time and so were named to the Beijing team. Akaba had not broken the Olympic A-standard at the time of Nationals and was thus left off the preliminary team lineup. Having now broken the A-standard she will almost certainly be added to the team.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Challenging Far-Off Europe: Mondo Keien Meeting Holland 5000 m

http://konicaminolta.jp/athlete/info/result2008/080715.html

translated by Brett Larner

Team Konica-Minolta`s Hiroyuki Yamada ran in the men`s 5000 m at the Mondo Keien Meeting in Holland on July 12th. It was Yamada`s first time competing overseas but he ran a race to be proud of, setting a new PB. He intends to set another new best in his next race as well.

Men`s 5000 m
4. Hiroyuki Yamada (Team Konica-Minolta): 13:48.87 (PB)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fukushi Runs `Completely Pathetic` Time in Rome

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/080712/spg0807121021003-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) ran 15:19.74 to finish 10th in the women`s 5000 m at the July 11th Golden Gala Meet in Rome, Italy, the third meet in the Golden League track and field series. Fukushi, who has twice set Japanese national records at the Golden Gala, finished nearly 250 m behind winner Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia). Fukushi commented, “I`ve always had good chemistry with the Golden Gala, but this time was completely pathetic right from the start and never got any better.”

In March this year Fukushi suffered an injury to her left calf. At the National Track and Field Championships earlier this month she appeared out of shape, with little of her characteristic edge. The 26 year-old will now head to Chitose, Hokkaido where she will train until the Beijing Olympics. “This race gives me something to focus on during my training,” Fukushi said with a show of optimism, “so I won`t be going home completely empty-handed.”

Complete results for the women`s 5000 m are available here.

Ogata Promises Medal to Hometown Supporters

http://mainichi.jp/area/hiroshima/news/20080710ddlk34050608000c.html
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20080709-00000034-nks_fl-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men`s marathon runner Tsuyoshi Ogata (35, Team Chugoku Denryoku) gave a speech at the Kumanomachi Civic Sports Center in his hometown of Kumanomachi, Hiroshima Prefecture, on July 9th. The 2005 Helsinki World Championships marathon bronze medalist told the crowd of 574 supporters, "All of my training has been with the single thought of `Let's get a medal.` If I get there feeling my best then I have a chance."

The event included a performance by the popular group Moebius of a song they had written to show their support for Ogata. Kumano High School 1st-year student Yuki Nidan (16) spoke on behalf of the school`s track and field team, saying, "We`re all waiting for you to bring the best-colored of all the medals back here." Kumano Junior High School 3rd-year student Yoshin Maeda (15) likewise gave a speech on behalf of his team, telling Ogata, "We always get courage and motivation from watching your running. When we think of you we all want to be the best in the country."

Ogata thanked the crowd, telling them, "It means a great deal to me to have so many people here supporting me. There is a month and a half left until the Olympics, and I will practice as hard as I can in the time I have left." He discussed some of the difficulties he faces as an elite marathoner and shed further light on his preparations while taking questions from the audience. Responding to the question, "How do you plan to deal with the heat?" Ogata said, "I`m not using my air conditioner at home so that I can get used to being sweaty."

Ogata left for training in Abashiri, Hokkaido on July 10th. Later this month he will travel to Beijing for his third test-run of the Olympic marathon course, followed by his final preparations for the main event on August 24th.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tosa Returns to Kunming for Last Overseas Olympic Training

http://www.asahi.com/sports/update/0710/TKY200807100253.html

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon runner Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) returned to Kunming, China on July 10 for her final overseas training before the race itself. Tosa plans to remain in Kunming through the end of the month. The focus of her training this time will be to memorize the ten-page Olympic course map containing seventy runner`s-view photos prepared by Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo manager Takashi Takaseki. "I ran the Olympic course in April, so I don`t remember everything," said Tosa. "I think this map is really going to help refresh my memory."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Anzai Just Misses 1000m National Record at Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet

by Brett Larner

Team S&B rookie Aruto Anzai just missed Fumikazu Kobayashi`s men`s 1000 m national record of 2:19.65 at the Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet on July 9th. Anzai ran a duel with Team Fujitsu`s Hiroshi Ino, leaving the rest of the field behind and winning in 2:20.43 with Ino 2nd in 2:21.89.

Athens Olympics men`s 10000 m team member Ryuji Ono of Team Asahi Kasei likewise came up short in the 5000 m, landing 2nd behind Kenyan winner John Thuo of Team Toyota Jidosha in 13:32.67. Ono`s mark was well off the Olympic A-standard he needs to have in order to become a last-minute addition to the Beijing Olympic team. His last chance will come in the 10000 m at the Hokuren Distance Challenge Kushiro Meet on July 16.

The Abashiri Meet also included rarely-contested men`s and women`s 600 m races. Ayako Jinnouchi of Saga University won the women`s competition in 1:28.41, while Takeshi Kuchino of Nittai University took the men`s race in 1:16.74.

The Hokuren Distance Challenge continues July 13 in Kitami, Hokkaido. 1500 m national record holder Fumikazu Kobayashi of Team NTN will race have a rematch of his fluke National Track and Field Championships victory over Team NTT Nishi Nihon`s Kazuya Watanabe and Team Chugoku Denryoku`s Yasuhiro Tago as all three make their final attempt to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Top Finishers
Women`s 600 m
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Saga Univ.): 1:28.41
2. Heo Jung Yeon (Korea): 1:29.34
3. Miki Nishimura (Self-Defense Force Sports Academy): 1:31.08

Men`s 600 m
1. Takeshi Kuchino (Nittai Univ.): 1:16.74
2. Sung Soo Park (Korea): 1:17.03
3. Masaharu Nakano (Team Otsuka Seiyaku): 1:17.48

Men`s 1000 m
1. Aruto Anzai (Team S&B): 2:20.43
2. Hiroshi Ino (Team Fujitsu): 2:21.89
3. Hiroaki Morikawa (Osaka Police): 2:25.70

Women`s 3000 m
1. Chisa Nishio (Team Starts): 9:09.44
2. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz): 9:10.04
3. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic): 9:20.06

Men`s 3000 m
1. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu): 7:58.28
2. Makoto Fukui (Team Fujitsu): 8:01.24
3. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin): 8:11.46

Women`s 5000 m
1. Chiaki Takagi (Team Starts): 15:42.96
2. Yuka Izumi (Team Tenmaya): 15:46.46
3. Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo): 15:51.98

Men`s 5000 m A-group
1. John Thuo (Team Toyota): 13:32.02
2. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei): 13:32.67
3. Martin Waweru (Team Fujitsu): 13:46.77

Men`s 5000 m B-group
1. Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu): 13:54.65
2. Takamasa Uchida (Team Toyota): 13:56.60
3. Kenta Oshima (Team Nissin Shokuhin): 13:59.39

Men`s 5000 m C-group
1. Keizo Maruyama (Team Nissin Shokuin): 14:03.67
2. Keun Tae Yuk (Korea): 14:08.24
3. Yun Ho Shin (Korea): 14:10.00

A complete list of results is available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Japan`s First Olympic Mother Akaba Vows to Place

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/news/20080701k0000m050149000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

On June 30 Yukiko Akaba (28, Team Hokuren) was named to the Japanese women`s long distance team for the Beijing Olympics. Akaba gave birth to her daughter Yuna in August 2006; her addition to the Beijing 10000 m team makes her Japan`s first Olympic mother. Akaba was overjoyed at the news, saying, "This is really a dream come true. It validates everything I`ve done about staying with running after marriage and giving birth. At the Olympics I`ll be aiming to finish in the prizes." Her husband and coach Shuhei (28) agreed, "Right after giving birth Yukiko clearly stated her goals, and one by one she`s reaching them."

Akaba was born in Tochigi Prefecture. As a student at Josai University she won the silver medal in the 1999 Universiad Half Marathon and again the bronze medal in the 2001 Universiad 10000 m. She joined Team Hokuren in 2002 and set only two personal bests in the following four years. By contrast, since returning from giving birth she has run three new personal bests. She set her newest personal best in the June 27 National Track and Field Championships 10000 m, finishing 2nd by only a step behind national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). Team Hokuren head coach Shuichi Morita expressed no disappointment in Akaba`s performance, however, commenting, "Being able to run like this after giving birth is extradordinary. I think she is special and I will do everything I can to make people take note of her running."

Akaba plans to take Yuna with her to Beijing and is busy getting her passport together. "I`m afraid she`ll get sick overseas," Akaba worried, "but she`s only caught colds twice so far so maybe she`ll be okay." Despite rising to the top of women`s distance running, Akaba shows that she is still a mother at heart.

Translator`s Note: I wrote a detailed profile of Akaba in March. It can be found here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chisato Fukushima Selected as First Women`s 100 m Olympian in 56 Years

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20080706-00000027-yom-spo
http://www.47news.jp/CN/200807/CN2008070601000467.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On July 6 Rikuren announced that it has added women`s 100 m runner Chisato Fukushima (20, Hokkaido HiTec AC) to the Beijing Olympic team. Fukushima will become the first Japanese woman to compete in the Olympic 100 m since Ayako Yoshikawa ran in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Fukushima broke the Olympic B-standard of 11.42 with her national record-tying 11.36 mark at April`s Oda Memorial Meet. Although she won June`s National Track and Field Championships, Fukushima was not initially selected for the team as she did not meet the Olympic A-standard. In light of her victory at today`s Nambu Memorial Meet in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Rikuren reversed its decision and added her to the Olympic team lineup.

Fukushima reacted to the news of her Beijing ticket by saying, "It hasn`t really hit me that it`s real yet. I would be honored to be the trigger for a new era in Japanese women`s sprinting."

Women`s long jumper Kumiko Ikeda (Team Suzuki) set a meet record of 6 m 70 cm to qualify for Beijing team, and men`s high jumper Naoyuki Daigo (Team Fujitsu) also made the Beijing team with his 2 m 21 cm victory. Men`s sprinter Yoshihiro Horigome (Team Fujitsu) was named to the men`s 4 x 400 m team after winning the 400 m. Women`s 400 m runner Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) ran 52.94 to set her second straight meet record but missed the Olympic A-standard of 51.55 and was not named to the Olympic team.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Olympic Marathoner Tosa Returns After Finding Satisfaction in Kunming Training Camp

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/080704/spg0807040440002-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) returned to Japan from high-altitude training in Kunming, China on July 3rd. During her three weeks in Kunming Tosa ran one 40 km and two 35 km time trials. She reports feeling calm and relaxed with 45 days to go until the Olympic race on August 17, but she knows well that on the 40th day before the race the 'gates of hell' will open wide. While training in Kunming 40 days before last summer`s Osaka World Championships Tosa injured her left knee, returning to Japan on crutches. It is a scene she knows all too well. "With 40 days to go I just want to be running normally. That`ll be enough to make me happy," Tosa commented. She leaves Japan again for Kunming on July 10th.

Mizuki Noguchi Celebrates 30th Birthday in Kobe

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0001197915.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon favorite Mizuki Noguchi of Kobe-based Team Sysmex spoke at a press conference at Kobe`s Crown Plaza hotel the morning of July 3rd. Noguchi addressed a crowd of 220 supporters including Asics` master craftsman Hitoshi Mimura, who made Noguchi`s shoes for the Beijing Olympics. July 3rd also being Noguchi`s 30th birthday, the Olympic champion told her audience, "Having the Olympics to start off my 30`s is the best present I can think of."

Having just returned from a series of test runs of the Beijing course, Noguchi commented, "My spirits are high and I`m feeling confident to defend my title. I think I can break the mark I set in Athens, but the important thing for me is to be relaxed during the race."

Noguchi leaves for her final altitude training in St. Moritz, Switerland on July 4th.

`No 'Magic Water' for Olympic Marathon Runners`

http://www.japantoday.com/category/sports/view/no-magic-water-for-marathon-runners

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Osaki Very Pleased With Olympic Training in Abashiri

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/olympic2008/102477.html

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympic men`s marathon competitor Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) held a practice session with four teammates at Abashiri`s civic track on July 1st as part of his Olympic training camp in Abashiri, Hokkaido. Practicing for a tactical race situation with varying pace, Osaki and his teammates covered 20 km in one hour of surges and periods of respite.

Osaki has been training in Abashiri since June 16th. Looking ahead, he offered, "I think the Olympics are going to awaken something unfamiliar. I`m training for the gold medal, period. I`ve been doing a great deal of mileage and my stamina has never been better."

Team NTT Nishi Nihon coach Koji Shimizu commented, "We want to see him arrive in Beijing in the best shape possible." Osaki will remain in Abashiri until August 19th, when he will tavel to Beijing for the main event.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Noguchi Tries Out Olympic Shoes in Beijing Test Run

http://sports.nikkei.co.jp/index.aspx?n=SSXKF0368%2027062008
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/080628/oth0806282316038-n1.htm
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/080629/oth0806291819009-n1.htm
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20080701-OHT1T00058.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex), on track to defend her Olympic marathon gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, travelled to Beijing on June 27 for a series of test runs on the Olympic marathon course. Noguchi reported that she would be doing the test runs at jogging pace to reconfirm her image of the course after viewing videos and previous test runs as well as to get an idea of the weather conditions in Beijing.

At 4:00 p.m. on June 28 Noguchi ran 26 km of the course, accompanied by her coach Hisakazu Hirose and wearing the race shoes custom-made for her by Asics` master craftsman Hitoshi Mimura. The two covered the final 15 km of the Olympic course in one hour. Conditions during the test run were approximately 25 degrees with light rain, giving an excellent idea of the degree to which weather will be the biggest enemy during the Olympic race. Noguchi`s head coach Nobuyuki Fujita commented that the Noguchi team is paying special attention to its drink supply for the Olympics.

At 5:20 a.m. on June 29 Noguchi ran the middle section of the course, covering the section from 11 km to 27 km in approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. Concerning the shoes Mimura made for her Olympic run, Noguchi said, "Yesterday I felt that the soles were too hard, but today I think that such rigidity is going to help me when I need to lay down some speed."

On June 30, before returning to Japan Noguchi ran the same 26 km of the Olympic course as on the 28th. She felt that the pavement around the Beijing University section of the course was very hard, and not to her liking. The third of her test runs on this trip did, however, help with her mental preparations. "I have an excellent mental picture of the course now." Noguchi also expressed that she is "very satisfied" with Mimura`s shoes.

Noguchi completed a two-week training camp at Nagano Prefecture`s Sugadaira Takahara the day before travelling to Beijing and reported feeling in excellent shape and motivated since her victory at May`s Sendai International Half Marathon. "I feel as powerful as I did in Athens. My biggest rival (in Beijing) will probably be myself. Other contenders will be there, but with the heat and conditions they will have to deal with they won`t be feeling up to normal. Anyway, I`m approaching this win with tenacity, aggression and discipline."

Beijing Olympic Marathoner Sato Cancels Swiss Training Camp Due to Exhaustion

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/080626/oth0806262146023-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team member Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) has cancelled his planned July high-altitude training in St. Moritz, Switzerland and will instead remain in Japan for his final preparations. Suffering from exhaustion, Sato finished 35th in the June 15th Sapporo International Half Marathon with a time of 1:04:01.

Sato`s coach Yasushi Sakaguchi explained that in the past Sato has had a tendency to overwork in high altitude training, leading to poor results. As Sato is already showing signs of overwork, Sakaguchi opted to cancel the St. Moritz camp. Instead, Sato will do his Olympic training in Shibetsu and Abashiri, Hokkaido.

Takahashi in Boulder to Train for 3-Marathon Series

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/080531/oth0805311705012-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Marathoner Naoko Takahashi (Team Phiten) left Japan at the end of last month for a high-altitude training camp in Boulder, Colorado. Beginning with November`s Tokyo International Women`s Marathon, Takahashi plans to run all three of the major domestic women`s marathons. "Tokyo is the first order of business," commented Takahashi. "I want to get off to a good start. Life is long so I don`t want to fret."

After suffering a leg injury last year, Takahashi will be concentrating on revisualizing her form at this training camp. On November 3rd she will run in the East Japan Jitsugyodan Women`s Ekiden in Saitama, the first time she will run a jitsugyodan ekiden since her days with Team Sekisui when she ran in the 1999 All-Japan ekiden in Gifu. "If there`s a chance for me to take part then I want to do it," she said. Takahashi originally intended to return to Japan in early November, but with the addition of the ekiden to her schedule she will cut off the training camp earlier than planned and return in October.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Japanese Olympic Trials Roundup

by Brett Larner

Complete results from the 2008 Japanese National Track and Field Championships can be found in Japanese here. Men`s results are listed on the left, women`s results on the right.

Video and photo coverage can be found here.

The IAAF`s report on the National Championships is here.

A listing of the track and field athletes selected for the Japanese team at the Beijing Olympics is here.