by Brett Larner
Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) continued his strong season, heading the Japanese contingent at this year's KBC-Nacht meet in Heusden, Belgium. Nakao, running the men's 5000 m at the same meet where Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta) set the Japanese national record two years ago, ran a PB of 13:28.16 to finish 7th in the B-heat.
With 2009 national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) already named to the national team with a B-standard mark, Nakao, Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) needed to break the World Championships A-standard of 13:20.00 to join him. Sato took up the challenge, running among the leaders in the early stages of the race and going through the kilometer right on pace in 2:39 with Matsuoka also in the pack. Nakao sat back and waited, moving up as the race evolved.
Sato, who holds a PB of 13:23.57 and earlier in the season ran the all-time 3rd-best Japanese mark of 27:38.25 for 10000 m before suffering a recurrence of injury, moved up behind the pacemaker at 1800 m and then took the lead at 2000 m. He led through 3200 m but was clearly not back to 100% as he abruptly faded at that point. Nakao simultaneously stepped up to join the leaders who broke away from Sato, hanging on to the back of the pack and landing 7th. His mark just cleared the World Championships B-standard of 13:29.00, but having missed the A-standard he earned himself only a place as a reserve. Sato and Matsuoka were 13th and 15th.
Women's 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) returned to Heusden having broken the national record there the last two years but could only muster a 9:57.37, nearly 30 seconds off her record time from last year.
Men's 1500 m Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) was a no-show, while Takeshi Kuchino's 1:48.78 in the men's 800 m fell well short of the World Championships B-standard mark he needed to make it to Berlin.
Complete results from this year's meet are available here.
2009 KBC-Nacht - Top Finishers
Men's 5000 m B-heat
1. Jonay Miguel Gonzalez (Spain) - 13:21.65 - PB
2. Moses Kibet (Uganda) - 13:24.87
3. Tim Nelson (U.S.A.) - 13:24.94 - PB
7. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:28.16 - PB
13. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:36.17
15. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:36.66
Women's 3000 m SC
1. Hanane Ouhaddou (Morocco) - 9:24.29 - NR
2. Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia) - 9:24.40
3. Milcah Chemos (Kenya) - 9:24.50 - PB
11. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:57.37
Men's 800 m
1. Ali Bilal Mansour (Bahrain) - 1:45.26
2. Reuben Bett (Kenya) - 1:45.77
3. Leonel Manzano (U.S.A.) - 1:46.20 - PB
9. Takeshi Kuchino (Japan) - 1:48.78
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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