Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big Mouth Scores the Big Ticket - Yuichiro Ueno in Berlin

http://www.asahi.com/sports/column/TKY200907250112.html

translated by Brett Larner



In the National Track and Field Championships 5000 m last month, Yuichiro 'Big Mouth' Ueno's usual stupidity was nowhere to be seen.* Hanging back at the rear of the lead pack, Ueno bided his time before attacking to take his first national title. Watching the race, Hiroshi Tako, Ueno's coach since his early days at Chuo University, commented, "Hmmn, this isn't like him at all." That's how much Ueno wanted to make his first World Championships team.



Three days later came the 1500 m. Right from the first lap Ueno took off at a dash. All the real middle distance runners in the race waited as they followed their carefully-built race plans. On the last lap the leaders tried to run Ueno down, but it was too late. "Man, it's pretty weak that nobody even tried to race me," he said in his post-race interview. Ueno became the first person in 24 years to win the 1500 m and 5000 m double at the National Championships. People across the country laughed in amazement that Big Mouth had finally actually done something.

Ueno's career goal is the marathon. That hasn't changed since he entered high school, when he famously said in an interview, "I'm going to set the world record." He plans to concentrate on speed until he's 29. Currently he trains about 400 km a month. Compared to Olympic gold medalists Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi, who trained over 1000 km a month, it seems like Ueno isn't working hard enough.

The reality is different. Ueno missed out on the 2007 World Championships in Osaka and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of injuries. "I can't even count the number of times I cried because I couldn't train," he says. "Finally, finally, finally, I did it." Ueno understands that rather than killing himself in training, now it's the time for him to develop himself and flesh out his abilities. He may be a clever runner after all.

Yuichiro Ueno
Born in Saku, Nagano. 183 cm, 58 kg. 23 yrs. old. Runs for Team S&B. While at Saku Chosei High School he broke the 12 year-old 10000 m high school national record. An ekiden star while at Chuo University, he was known as one of the 'Four Princes' of the university ekiden world along with Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Hideaki Date (Team Chugoku Denryoku). PBs: 1500 m - 3:42.51 / 5000 m - 13:21.49 / 10000 m - 28:27.39

*Translator's note: Ueno has a long-standing reputation for talking big and blowing up even bigger.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ueno and another runner wore what looked like black belts. What's it benefit/purpose?

Brett Larner said...

They're for lower back support. A lot of younger Japanese guys wear them, especially ones who graduated from Saku Chosei High School like Ueno and Yuki Sato. All the Saku guys have similar form, so the belt may counteract some of the strain caused by running that way.

Anonymous said...

A 3:42 guy should not be able to participate at worlds...I don't know how this guy can be cocky when he is not even world class

Brett Larner said...

Ueno is running the 5000 at Worlds, not the 1500m. The fact that he's cockier than he deserves is kind of what makes him interesting.