translated by Brett Larner
Beijing Olympian, former Waseda University ace and Hakone Ekiden star Kensuke Takezawa (22, Team S&B) is taking his first steps toward August's World Championships in Berlin. On June 10 Takezawa will make his pro debut in the Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa meet 3000 m, his first race since his stage-record run in January's Hakone Ekiden. Four days later he will run the 5000 m in the Challenge's Shibetsu meet, targeting the World Championships B-standard of 13:29.00. If he is successful in attacking this mark, Takezawa will go for his first national title at the National Track and Field Championships in Hiroshima at the end of the month to seal his place on the Berlin team.*
Four years of abusing his body led to injuries including stress fractures and knee, hip and Achilles tendon problems, but Takezawa says he is now finally feeling back in one piece. His Waseda-era coach Yasuyuki Watanabe commented, "Kensuke once told me, 'Without big goals you can't get anywhere.' He's the kind of guy who will always try to run outside of himself." So far only World Championships marathon team member Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Takezawa's teammate Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) have made the Berlin 5000 m B-standard qualification time, so the places on the national team are wide open for the taking. Having run in the 2007 World Championships and the 2008 Beijing Olympics Takezawa stands to extend his world-level competition streak to three straight years if he is truly back to his full powers.
*Translator's note: Takezawa holds a 5000 m PB of 13:19.00. He was 2nd in last year's National Championships 5000 m after having been out of training for over 4 months with injuries. As only one B-standard runner per country is allowed to run in a given event, in addition to making the World Championships B-standard Takezawa will have to break his teammate Yuichiro Ueno's recent B-standard mark of 13:26.31 to get a chance to run in Berlin.
Other notable runners on the start list for the June 10 Fukagawa meet include women's 5000 m national record holder Kayoko Fukushi, Berlin World Championships marathoner Arata Fujiwara, men's 3000 mSC national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu, men's 1500 m national record holder Fumikazu Kobayashi, and top jitsugyodan runners Mika Yoshikawa, Noriko Matsuoka, Bene Zama, Ann Karindi, Betelhem Moges and Micah Njeru.