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Daniel Gitau Shines Again With 1500m Record at Golden Games in Nobeoka (updated)

by Brett Larner

Six days after completing a rare quadruple with an 800 m meet record at the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, fourth year Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) took down Japanese 1500 m national record holder Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) with a PB and meet record 3:37.96 in the men's 1500 m at the May 30 Golden Games in Nobeoka. Heavy rain throughout the meet dashed hopes for a new Japanese national record-level performance, but although he missed his own record mark of 3:37.40 Kobayashi's time of 3:38.80 was one of his best since setting the record in 2004.

Other noteworthy marks came in the ten heats of the men's 5000 m. The fastest times came in the E-heat, where Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) ran 13:22.20, a PB by 0.07 over his time from last year's Golden Games, to take down John Thuo (Team Toyota) for the win by just over a second. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) continued his return to form after a year of serious illness in 2008, running 13:26.31 to beat Ethiopian Nahom Mesfin (Team Kanebo) and Saku Chosei High School teammate and university-era rival Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) for 3rd, clearing the World Championships B-standard. Ueno's time was 5 seconds off his best but significantly improved his standing as the leading Japanese 5000 m runner so far this year. World Championships marathon team member Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) was 9th in 13:49.94.

Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp) ran as pacemaker in the A-heat but held on to beat Berlin World Championships marathon team member Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) for the win in 13:42.19. Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei), who cracked the 15 km road world record in January's Asahi Ekiden, was 5 seconds back in 3rd in a PB of 13:47.12. Having taken the advice of his former teammate, marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka, to focus on improving his speed ahead of the World Championships, Irifune was pleased with his run. "The gap to the top has gotten smaller. I think I can get a top eight finish in Berlin. Whatever speed they go out at I'm going to be there hanging on."

Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), identical twin brother of 5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), had a narrow win in the B-heat over 2008 national high school 5000 m champion Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.). Athens Olympian Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) ran his first race after an injury late in the winter, winning the F-heat in 14:04.51. His teammate Tomoya Onishi, formerly of Toyo Univ., made his pro debut in the same heat, finishing 6th in 14:10.45, while World Championships marathon team member Masaya Shimizu, also of Asahi Kasei, was an alarming 23rd in 14:30.36.

The women's 5000 m A-heat was reasonably quick, with the top three runners all breaking 15:40. Mary Wangari (Ritsumeikan AP Univ.) took the win in 15:30.73, with Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) half a second back in 2nd and Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) a few strides back in 3rd. Notables Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui), Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) and Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) all cleared 15:50 but were far removed from the action. University star Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) was a distant 10th.

Complete results from the 2009 Golden Games in Nobeoka can be found here.

2009 Golden Games in Nobeoka - Top Finishers
Men's 800 m
1. Masato Yokota (Keio Univ.) - 1:48.13
2. Takeshi Kuchino (Team Fujitsu) - 1:48.54
3. Yoshihiro Shimodaira (Team Fujitsu) - 1:49.26

Women's 800 m
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 2:05.77
2. Akari Kishikawa (NPO STCI) - 2:05.80
3. Ruriko Kubo (Team Deodeo) - 2:05.96

Men's 1500 m
1. Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) - 3:37.96 - PB, CR
2. Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) - 3:38.80
3. Hiroshi Ino (Team Fujitsu) - 3:43.98 - PB
4. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 3:44.38
5. Daisuke Tamura (SDF Sports Academy) - 3:44.42

Women's 1500 m
1. Yoshika Tatsumi (Team Deodeo) - 4:24.82
2. Toshika Tamura (Matsuyama Univ.) - 4:26.00
3. Mami Sokabe (Matsuyama Univ.) - 4:26.58
4. Machi Tanaka (Team Sekisui) - 4:26.85

Men's 5000 m E-heat
1. Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:22.20 - PB
2. John Thuo (Team Toyota) - 13:23.57
3. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 13:26.31
4. Nahom Mesfin (Team Kanebo) - 13:29.74 - PB
5. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:30.46
6. Kiragu Njuguna (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 13:31.39
7. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:31.81 - PB
8. Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) - 13:41.07 - PB
9. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 13:49.94
10. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 13:50.96 - PB

Men's 5000 m A-heat
1. Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) - 13:42.19
2. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) - 13:42.91
3. Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:47.12 - PB
4. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 13:47.72 - PB
5. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:49.27

Men's 5000 m B-heat
1. Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:51.99
2. Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.) - 13:52.23
3. Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) - 13:53.99

Men's 5000 m F-heat
1. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:04.51
2. Ryohei Nakano (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 14:04.58
3. Takahiro Nakamura (Team Kyocera Kagoshima) - 14:07.08
---
6. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:10.45
23. Masaya Shimizu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:30.36

Women's 5000 m A-heat
1. Mary Wangari (Ritsumeikan AP Univ.) - 15:30.73
2. Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 15:31.24
3. Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 15:35.91
4. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui) - 15:42.53
5. Grace Mbuthye (Team Starts) - 15:44.03
6. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 15:46.30
7. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 15:48.59
8. Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:49.20
9. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:52.72
10. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:52.93

Women's 5000 m B-heat
1. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) - 15:44.70 - PB
2. Miyuki Ando (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:55.63
3. Sakiko Matsumi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:56.49

Irifune's quote taken from the Nishi Nippon newspaper.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

dennis said…
Finally Kayo Sugihara start racing again. She didn't race since june at the national track and field champs. Why is she out of action for such a long time? But she made a comeback. 15:35 is an impressive time and is faster than nakamura 15:45.

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