Skip to main content

Here's to the New Blood

http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/other-games/20090522-OYO8T00318.htm

an editorial by Kenji Sato
translated by Brett Larner

The marathon teams for August's World Championships marathon in Berlin have now been decided. There was a time and place when Japanese marathoners were among the world's leaders, but the world has moved forward. While Rikuren's goal for the combined men's and women's teams is for one medal and one or two top eight finishes, officials admit that "reality is harsh" as they look at the road ahead.

This year's selection process was the first since the disastrous failure of Japanese marathoning at the Beijing Olympics and the first to benefit from major changes made since then. Up until this year Japanese runners have been restricted to the major domestic marathons to qualify for the national team, but they have now been given the option of qualifying in a major overseas race. Rikuren's selection committee made the change in the hope that the experience of preparing for and racing in a tough overseas race would help Japanese marathoners raise their running up to a globally competitive level.

However, only three athletes took advantage of this opportunity to qualify overseas, with one man and two women running April's London Marathon.* Of these, only one runner, 31 year old Beijing Olympian Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), claimed a ticket to the Berlin. Officials had hoped that the experiment would encourage a larger number of ambitious young runners to cross the seas.

Looking at the ages of this year's national team members, 33 year old Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) is the oldest, while Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) and two others are the youngest at 27. The average age of the men is 29.4 and the women 28.6. Veterans and those in their mid-careers have already proven their reliability, but they fill the roster and the absence of any younger runners to learn from them is something to be concerned about.

This year Rikuren began sending the most promising young runners in the country to new overseas group training camps to help them grow stronger, but their efforts in creating this first opportunity for athletes to challenge themselves has now come to an end. With just three years until the London Olympics the nation's marathoners will have to take it one year at a time. Let's all get behind our young, up-and-coming athletes and spur them on to the next level.

*Translator's note: A third woman, Yuri Kano, also ran London but had already been selected for the World Championships team after finishing 2nd in November's Tokyo International Women's Marathon. Two Japanese runners also ran April's Boston Marathon but did not perform adequately to be considered for the Berlin team.

Comments

dennis said…
It's sucks that Reiko Tosa is no longer part of the new generation. Is Reiko Tosa pregnant yet? I can't wait till she has her baby.
dennis said…
Is Kayoko Fukushi fit enough to get selected to 10000 meters in Berlin. Does she have to finish in the top 3 to get selected. It would be really funny if she won't get selected as its her first time not participating in the world champ.
dennis said…
Is Filomena Cheyech gonna get selected for Berlin? She been winning all her races like carnival and yamaguchi and kobe and beated Nakamura. I consider that a big accomplishment for her since japanese runners are hard to beat.
dennis said…
Japanese runners are known to be out of action all the time. HOw come Takato Kotorida doesn't run anymore. I still remember she won maragume in 1:09:34 and ran 31:53.21 in fukukawa. Why do japanese runners keep quitting running. Why don't they show up to races? Thats why they do so terrible in Beijing.

Most-Read This Week

Kim Sets Korean 5000 m National Record, Tsuetaki Clears Steeple Standard, Osako Comes Up Short - Abashiri Highs and Lows

The final meet in Japan's Hokuren Distance Challenge series, Thursday's Abashiri meet was set up to give people one last chance to clear the qualifying standards for next month's London World Championships ahead of the fast-approaching deadline. Temperatures were far above normal for northern Hokkaido through much of the day, the mid-afternoon peak reported at over 36C at the time of the men's 800 m A-heat and still at 25C at the start of the five standard-chasing races in the evening.

網走女子5000A https://t.co/GquthBd13K — ホクレン・ディスタンスチャレンジ2017 (@hokurendc2017) July 13, 2017
The best race of the day was the women's 5000 m A-heat. With two women already confirmed for London the third spot on the team was up for grabs. First in line under the JAAF's criteria for addition, top three at Nationals and under the 15:22.00 standard, was 16-year-old Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin H.S.), 3rd at Nationals in an U18 national record of 15:23.56. Next in line would be anyon…

Takamatsu Makes Return to Racing After Nike Oregon Project Disappointment

Running again in her hometown on the second day of the Osaka Track and Field Championships at Yanmar Stadium Nagai, 2014 Youth Olympics girls' 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (19, Osaka T&F Assoc.) took the first step toward a comeback. Closing the gap to the runner ahead of her on the second lap, Takamatsu finished with effort to spare in 2:14.51 for 2nd. "I was able to run the way I'd envisioned," she said afterward. "I had some anxiety since it was pretty much my first real race in a year but I was able to give it my best."

After graduating from Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. in the spring last year Takamatsu moved to Oregon, U.S.A. to take part in the "Nike Oregon Project" elite long distance group created by Nike. With a dream of winning gold in the 5000 m or 10000 m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and high hopes in her heart, she crossed the ocean.

But in the U.S. she was hit by the cold hand of reality. "I was DFL every ti…

Additions to Japanese National Team for London World Championships

The JAAF has made a series of announcements over the last week confirming additions to its small team for next month's London World Championships. Along with previously announced rosters for track and field events, combined events and road events, the following athletes have been added to the Japanese team. Relay members are pending IAAF confirmation. The final complete team roster is expected next week.

Men's 400 m Hurdles
Ryo Kajiki (Josai Univ.) - 49.33
Yusuke Ishida (Waseda Univ.) - 49.35

Men's 3000 m Steeplechase
Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) - 8:29.05

Men's 4 x 400 m Relay
Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.76
Kosuke Horii (Sumitomo Denko) - 45.88

Women's Javelin Throw
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 61.95 m

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved