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Nishihara Brings Japan First Gold of World University Games

by Brett Larner

Just over a week after making the top ten in the Japanese Nationals 10000 m, Bukkyo University ace Kasumi Nishihara brought the Japanese team its first gold medal of the 2009 World University Games, outclassing the field in the women's 10000 m on the first day of track and field competition. The youngest in the field, Nishihara held the best PB coming into the race and ran like it as she beat runner-up Tatiana Shutova of Russia by over 15 seconds to win in a relatively modest 33:14.62. In a post-race interview Nishihara commented, "It was an easy win, so I was pretty surprised. I didn't just want to run in an international meet but to go home with a medal."

Meijo University's Seika Nishikawa, the second-fastest woman in the field by PB, was less solid, finishing 4th in 33:56.62. Nishihara will double in the 5000 m, with Nishikawa scheduled to run in the half marathon.

Japan's sprinters dominated the first and second round of heats. Five-time national champion Yuzo Kanemaru of Hosei University had the fastest time in the men's 400 m heats, with teammate Hirose Hideyuki ranked 4th overall going into the next round. 2009 men's 100 m national champion and runner-up Masashi Eriguchi and Shintaro Kimura, both of Waseda University, won both of their first round heats with ease, Eriguchi likewise taking the 2nd round with Kimura finishing 2nd in his heat. Kanemaru and Eriguchi both look set to pick up gold medals if they continue on in form. Women's 100 m national champion Momoko Takahashi of Heisei Kokusai University likewise won her first round heat and advanced to the next day of competition.

Distance action continues on July 8 with the men's 10000 m. Toyo University star Ryuji Kashiwabara holds the second-best PB in the field, with Komazawa University's Tsuyoshi Ugachi close behind. The pair will challenge Chinese marathon national record holder Ren Longyun, who earlier this season set a PB of 28:08.00. The 100 m and 400 m also continue on the 25th edition Games' second day.

Update: Click here for the IAAF's report on Day One.

2009 World University Games - Day One Top Results
click event header for complete results

Women's 10000 m - final
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:14.62
2. Tatiana Shutova (Russia) - 33:29.99 - PB
3. Volha Minina (Belarus) - 33:32.35
4. Seika Nishikawa (Meijo Univ.) - 33:56.62
5. Alexandra Becker (Canada) - 34:31.69

Men's 400 m - 1st Round Heats
1. Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) - 46.51
2. Kacper Kozlowski (Poland) - 46.55
3. Clay Watkins (Australia) - 46.56
4. Hideyuki Hirose (Hosei Univ.) - 46.65
5. Clemens Zeller (Austria) - 46.86

Men's 100 m - 1st Round Heats
1. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 10.35
2. Rytis Sakalauskas (Lithuania) - 10.42
3. Marian Catalin Campeanu (Romania) - 10.43
4. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.48
5. Wilhelm Van Der Vyver (South Africa) - 10.51
6. Shintaro Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 10.52

Women's 100 m - 1st Round Heats
1. Lina Grincikaite (Lithuania) - 11.49
2. Sonia Tavares (Portugal) - 11.52
3. Melissa Breen (Austria) - 11.53
4. Tina Murn (Slovenia) - 11.58
5. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 11.58

Men's 100 m - 2nd Round Heats
1. Rolando Cruz Palacios (Honduras) - 10.37
2. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.38
3. Oluseyi Smith (Canada) - 10.38
4. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 10.40
5. Shintaro Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 10.43

Men's High Jump - Qualifying Round
1. Nerijus Buzas (Lithuania) - 2.20
2. Michal Kabelka (Slovakia) - 2.20
3. Eduard Malchenko (Russia) - 2.20
4. Jussi Viita (Finland) - 2.20
5. Hiromi Takahari (Japan) - 2.20

Women's Long Jump - Qualifying Round
1. Ruky Abdulai (Canada) - 6.51
2. Teresa Dobija (Poland) - 6.48
3. Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) - 6.42
-----
12. Yoshimi Sato (Japan) - 6.15

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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