Skip to main content

Rikuren to Announce World Championships Marathon Teams May 7

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/f-sp-tp0-20090423-486359.html
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2009042300873

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Rikuren's Long Distance and Road Racing Special Committee held a meeting at the National Training Center in Tokyo's Kita Ward on Apr. 23. With regard to August's World Championships in Berlin, committee director Susumu Takano commented, "We're not in a position to discuss our goals in much detail quite yet, but I will say that we expect to improve on our overall performances from the last two years." Japan earned one medal in athletics at the 2007 World Championships, Reiko Tosa's bronze in the women's marathon, and two in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the men's 4 x 100 m relay team's bronze and Koji Murofushi's bronze in the men's hammer throw.

Takano went on to add that the committee anticipates two finishers within the top eight in the World Championships women's marathon and a medal from 50 km race walk star Yuki Yamazaki. With regard to Japanese women's marathoning and the London Olympics Takano told reporters, "We must recover the confidence we've lost at the Olympic level. Through proper leadership and guidance we will cultivate the next generation of young marathoners into becoming more powerful as they mature. We aim to have at least six women capable of breaking 2:25, thereby increasing the overall depth of our athlete pool."

Takano also revealed that the final member of the men's and women's marathon teams for the World Championships will be announced on May 7.

Translator's note: Sunday's London Marathon is the final opportunity for Japanese marathoners to qualify for the World Championships team. If Atsushi Sato breaks 2:10 he will be selected for the men's team; otherwise the decision will be between him, Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon runner-up Seiji Kobayashi, and Tokyo Marathon 3rd-place finisher Kensuke Takahashi. Sato has previously broken 2:10 four times.

Yuri Kano is running London but has already been named to the World Championships team. The other two Japanese women in London, Tomo Morimoto and Mika Okunaga, must break 2:25:40 to beat out Osaka International Women's Marathon runner-up Yukiko Akaba for the final place on the team. Morimoto has broken 2:25:40 in two of her five marathons to date while Okunaga, who has run four marathons, holds a PB of only 2:27:16. Okunaga thoroughly beat Morimoto in March's National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships, 1:12:50 to 1:15:00.

Both Sato and Morimoto likely have a leg up in the selection process in that their coaches, Yasushi Sakaguchi and Yutaka Taketomi respectively, are the heads of the selection committees for the men's and women's teams.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Takes Six Minutes Off Kitakyushu Marathon Course Record to Lead Weekend Results

After a seven-week break from the marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) scored his third-straight marathon win, second-straight course record and came just shy of a third-straight negative split as he ran a completely solo 2:11:46 to take almost six minutes off the Kitakyushu Marathon course record. Following up on negative split wins at December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon and January's Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, the latter a course record by half an hour, Kawauchi was on his own in the first 100 m in Kitakyushu and never looked back.

In the hilly first 10 km his pace fluctuated from high-2:12 to high-2:10, but once Kawauchi got into the flatter section of the course he settled out on track for a high-2:11 to low-2:12 time. After a 1:05:51 split at halfway he slowed slightly on the outbound trip to the turnaround near 31 km, but picking it up again after 35 km he marked a 6:34 from 40 km to the finish to stop the clock at 2:11:46,  a 1:05:55 second half …

Kenyans Kabuu, Jemeli and Cheyech Lead Nagoya Women's Marathon Field

The Nagoya Women's Marathon is the largest women-only marathon in the world, one with a long history as an elite race and adapting to the times with a mass-participation field of 20,000. The last few years it has seen a series of dynamic, high-level performances by top Japanese women, from Sairi Maeda's 2:22:48 in 2015 to the 2:23:19 to 2:23:20 sprint finish battle between Tomomi Tanaka and Rei Ohara in 2016 to Yuka Ando's stellar 2:21:36 debut and teammate Mao Kiyota's 2:23:47 breakthrough last year.

Maeda, Ohara and Kiyota all return this year to face the Kenyan trio of Lucy Kabuu, Valary Jemeli and Flomena Cheyech Daniel. Kabuu went to high school in Japan before moving on to the big leagues, but she hasn't finished a marathon since her 2:20:21 in Dubai 2015. Cheyech also used to be based in Japan as is a familiar face here, winning the last two Saitama International Marathons. Jemeli is making her Japanese debut, and with a 2:21:57 win in Prague and a 2:20:53 …

Kipsang Talking Loud and Aga Mumbling Bold - Tokyo Marathon Preview

After stepping up to the big leagues last year with course records in the 2:03 and 2:19 range, the Tokyo Marathon hopes to go one better this year. Men's course record setter Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) is back, stepping up from a 2:03:50 prediction for Tokyo in January to a 2:02:50 world record prediction at Friday's pre-race press conference. In the unmentioned absence of women's course record breaker Sarah Chepchirchir the top-ranked woman is Ruti Aga (Ethiopia), coming in hot off a 1:06:39 win last month in Houston and turning heads at the press conference with a boldly mumbled 2:18:00 prediction.

Management for both Kipsang and Aga were skeptical to JRN of their athletes' predictions, people from each camp saying times two minutes slower would be more likely, one minute slower in a best-case scenario. But whatever the prediction, Kipsang was clear to fellow past champs Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) and Dickson Chumba (Kenya) about one thing: he wants a more conservative fi…