Skip to main content

Atsushi Sato Planning to Run London Marathon

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/flash/KFullFlash20090201050.html

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men's marathon competitor Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) is planning to race in April's London Marathon. Team Chugoku Denryoku head coach Yasushi Sakaguchi revealed his star runner's plans following Sato's 3rd place finish at the Feb. 1 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon.

In poor condition at the Beijing Olympics, Sato ran extremely badly, but as he entered 2009 Sato began to feel positive about racing again and recovered much of his previous form. Coach Sakaguchi commented, "It's not completely decided yet, but Sato himself strongly wants to do well in a race overseas this spring."

Translator's note: Atsushi Sato is the Asian record holder in the half marathon with a time of 1:00:25 from the 2007 World Half Marathon championships. He ran a PB of 2:07:13 at the 2007 Fukuoka International Marathon against Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) and Deriba Merga (Ethiopia) and has run 2:08 on two other occasions. He is widely hoped to become the first Japanese runner to clock 2:05 and has said that he thinks he is capable of such a time.

Although eventual gold medalist Wanjiru later said he had expected Sato to be among his main competition, Sato suffered some sort of breakdown prior to the Beijing Olympics and finished last. He ran poorly in the New Year Ekiden before a solid performance at Sunday's Marugame Half Marathon, which he appeared to do as a marathon training run.

Sato's coach Yasushi Sakaguchi became the director of national governing body Rikuren's new Long Distance and Road Racing Special Committee men's marathoning division in December. Among the first moves of his tenure was the announcement that Rikuren would include results from major overseas marathons in choosing the team for the 2009 Berlin World Championships rather than only using domestic race results as in the past. This is likely to be a beneficial move in terms of helping to restore Japanese marathoning to an internationally-competitive position even though Sakaguchi appears to have a serious conflict of interest here.

If Sato runs London the way he should be able to, he will fit in well with the incredible elite field. After Beijing he said he would run his next marathon as a suicidal speed race.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Njeri, Niiya and Hironaka Go Sub-15 - National Corporate Championships Day Three Results

With the first two days of the 2020 National Corporate Track and Field Championships bringing national records, world-leading marks and meet records, the last day saw one of the best races of the weekend. Fresh off her meet record win in the junior women's 3000 m, 19-year-old Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) took the women's 5000 m A-heat out hard in search of Japan's second sub-15 clocking ever. Right with her were Kenyans Rebecca Njeri (Daiso) and Joanne Kipkemoi (Kyudenko), and half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya (Sekisui Kagaku).

Together they went through splits of 3:02, 2:58, 3:01 and 2:59 to hit 4000 m in exactly 12:00, Niiya and Njeri taking their turns up front and Kipkemoi sliding off the back. Njeri pushed hard over the last 1000 m to open a gap, but while Hironaka couldn't stay with her Niiya kicked over the last 200 m to almost close it up, just about a first in her career and showing the effects of the work she put into the 1500 m over the summ…

Yamanishi Breaks 5000 m Race Walk National Record - National Corporate Championships Day Two Results

The National Corporate Championships men's 10000 m A-heat lived up to expectations as one of the best races of the year, the kind of race that shows how good a track 10000 m can be, tense and full of turnover between world top two Benard Kibet (Kyudenko) and Bedan Karoki (Toyota), and Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu). The trio wore down the rest of the competition, Koech and Karoki doing most of the hammering and Kimunyan only going to the front twice. On the last curve he made his final move, pulling away from Koech for the win in 27:01.42, Koech next in 27:02.39 and Karoki 3rd in 27:02.80. Kimunyan's time was briefly the world-leading mark before being overtaken at a race in Europe just hours later.

Further back, the top two Japanese men over 10,000 m this year, Yuma Hattori (Toyota) and Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu), worked together to move up through the field to take 7th and 8th in new PBs of 27:47.55 and 27:49.16. Both had broken 28 minutes for the first time in July before…

19-Year-Old Hironaka Wins Jr. Women's 3000 m in 8:52.80 - National Corporate Championships Day One Results

The 2020 National Corporate Track and Field Championships kicked off Friday in Kumagaya, Saitama on what will probably end up being the last hot day of the year. Defending junior women's 3000 m champ Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) had the performance of the day, exactly tying Kayoko Fukushi's U20 national record with a negative split 8:52.80 to pick up a second title and move up to all-time Japanese #5 for the distance. Because she turns 20 in November Hironaka's mark won't make her the co-record holder, but as an 8-second improvement over her winning time last year it puts her in position to follow Fukushi as just the second woman under 15 minutes for 5000 m if she gets into the right race. Her first chance comes Sunday where she faces most of the contenders for the Tokyo Olympic team.

A few of them turned up in the 10000 m A-heat where women-only marathon NR holder Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) took the race out around 31:30 pace, dueling with 30 km NR holder Honami Maeda (Te…