Skip to main content

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Field Preview

by Brett Larner

The field events at the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships begin at 1:00 p.m. on June 25 with the women's high jump. With one exception Japan is not really known for its strength in field events, but nevertheless a fair number of athletes stand a chance of making the national team for this summer's World Championships in Berlin. To be guaranteed a place on the team athletes must hold a World Championships A or B standard mark and win their event at Nationals, and in the majority of the field events there is at least one contender.

Japan's strongest field athlete is of course its two-time Olympic medalist in the men's hammer throw, the half-Japanese Koji Murofushi (Team Mizuno). Murofushi will be making his 15th straight National Championships appearance and on the strength of his medal-winning performance at last summer's Beijing Olympics he is in all likelihood already assured a spot on the team. His nearest competitor Hiroaki Doi (Chiba T&F Assoc.) has at his best not thrown within 7 m of Murofushi's most recent championship performances, so even a perfunctory performance should be good for the win.

Men's pole vaulter Daichi Sawano (Chiba T&F Assoc.) is the only other field athlete currently holding an A-standard mark and is the favorite to win. Students Hiroki Ogita (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) and Takafumi Suzuki (Tokai Univ.) each hold the B-standard, and while it's unlikely either can win whichever of them comes out ahead may pick up a Berlin spot alongside Sawano.

Women's long jumper Kumiko Imura (Sunnyside Up), men's high jumper Naoyuki Daigo (Team Fujitsu) and Yukifumi Murakami (Team Suzuki) in the men's javelin throw all hold PBs better than the A-standard but currently have only valid B-standard marks. Although Maho Hanaoka (Narita Kokusai H.S.) has also broken the women's long jump A-standard before, her current best is nowhere near the B-standard and Imura is likely to be competing unchallenged. Daigo will also be competing unchallenged, but short of meeting the A-standard Murakami will face B-standard holder Ken Arai (Team Nanajunana Ginko) for the lone B-standard spot on the national team.

Yuki Ebihara (Team Suzuki) in the women's javelin throw, Daisuke Arakawa (Osaka T&F Assoc.) in the men's long jump and Kazuyoshi Ishikawa (Team Ishikawa Foods) in the men's triple jump are all the only athletes in their disciplines to hold valid B-standard marks and should both win and be named to the Berlin team with ease.

Eight athletes spread across eight different events have also at one time broken the B-standard in their events but do not hold current marks valid for the Berlin World Championships, among them women's hammer and discus thrower Yuka Murofushi (Team Mizuno), the younger sister of men's hammer throw champion Koji Murofushi. In most cases the members of this group are the only athletes in their event to have ever broken the B-standard mark, but regardless they will need to bring their best to have a chance of being picked for the team.

Three events do not feature any athletes who have ever met the World Championships. Men's discus thrower Shigeo Hatakeyama (Team Zenrin), women's triple jumper Fumiyo Yoshida (Team Narita Airport) and both Sotaro Yamada (Hosei Univ.) and Satoshi Hatase (Team Gunma Alsok) in the men's shot put stand good chances of winning but would need to significantly step up their game to break into the pool for Berlin.

A complete timetable and list of field event entrants in available here. JRN will be on-hand to provide video coverage of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships. Click here to make a donation to help cover the costs of providing this coverage.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …