Skip to main content

A Dream Born in Tokushima as Otsuka Seiyaku Launches Women's Team

http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/sp_others/20090421ks06.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Based in Fukushima Prefecture's Naruto, beverage maker Otsuka Seiyaku is helping a select crew of young women to achieve their dreams through sports. This month the company announced the formation of a new professional women's track and field team. 2009 Berlin World Championships national team member and world-class race walker Masumi Fuchise leads the initial lineup of five middle and long distance athletes, with additional spots expected to be filled to allow Otsuka Seiyaku to field a women's ekiden team. The new Otsuka Seiyaku team's approval by the Jitsugyodan Track and Field Association is pending, and head coach Tadasu Kono is optimistic about the future as he says, "Especially in times of recession such as these it's important to do something to help inspire the community through sports."

Otsuka Seiyaku founded its men's team in 1990. Athletes who have run under Kono's leadership at Otsuka Seiyaku include Takayuki Inubushi, the first Japanese man to run 2:06 for the marathon. Tokushima is known for the strength of its male runners, but the prefecture's women's team is typically one of the weakest at the National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden. Kono received the OK to go ahead with the foundation of a women's team partially out of hopes that it will help to strengthen the overall level of athletics in the prefecture.

Transferring to the team alongside Fuchise are Miho Noguchi, formerly of Team Hitachi, Ritsumeikan University graduate Rei Miura, and two new high school graduates. Joining Kono on the team's coaching staff is former Team Tenmaya assistant coach Eri Amo, making for a strong base from which to build.

Along with helping to promote its corporate sponsor in ekidens and other races, this new jitsugyodan team aims to help its members reach their individual goals. Coach Kono is aware of his responsibilities, saying, "Through sports I want to show our supporters in the company who might not have been able to achieve their own dreams that there is still hope." "It's so interesting to be part of a group writing its name in history," added Fuchise. Noguchi closed by saying, "I hope this will be a team where everyone can make their dreams come true."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…