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Kojokan Sends Three to Asian Cross Country Championships

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn200902250050.html

translated by Brett Larner

Kojokan High School is sending three athletes to compete at the Asian Cross Country Championships in Bahrain on Mar. 1. Seniors Rei Obara (18) and Ai Kuboki (18) will join alumna Risa Shigetomo (21, Team Tenmaya) on the Japanese national team in Bahrain. For Kuboki it will be her first overseas race. "I want to soak up the atmosphere and the chance to race against foreign athletes and hope that it helps me to take my running to the next level," she told reporters.

Obara will be running in the junior women's 6 km race. Obara comes to the championships after having won both the 5000 m at October's nationals and the 1st stage of December's National High School Ekiden. Kuboki will be in the same race, having finished 3rd nationally in the 3000 m and helping her team finish as runner-up in the National High School Ekiden with a 4th place run on the 5th stage.

Shigetomi will run in the senior women's 8 km race. She was Kojokan's captain for the team's first National High School Ekiden win in 2005; in January's National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden she contributed to Okayama Prefecture's 2nd place finish with a stage win on the 4th leg, showing dynamic improvement in her ability.

National team coach Yoshitoshi Morimasa (51) looks forward to the trio's races, commenting, "Getting to test themselves in an environment other than Japan is an invaluable experience and will help them learn to manage their abilities."

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