Monday, July 27, 2009

Yuki Sato Misses Mark in Flanders Cup

by Brett Larner

Like rival Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) in Spain just 24 hours earlier, the prodigious Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) couldn't crack the barrier in his last attempt at earning a World Championships A-standard in the 5000 m. A week after running a 3000 m PB Sato ran the 5000 m at the July 26 Flanders Cup meet in Brasschaat, Belgium. Sato needed to attain the A-standard of 13:20.00 to join his former high school teammate Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) in the 5000 m on the national team for next month's World Championships. His time of 13:35.32 was good for 2nd in the Flanders Cup race but fell short of even the B-standard. A small group of other Japanese runners also ran the Flanders 5000 m, with Sato's training partner Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) landing 12th in 13:41.44.

In April Sato ran 27:38.25 for 10000 m, the third-best ever by a Japanese man and comfortably clearing the World Championships A-standard. Injury troubles held him back at June's National Championships where he was 10th in only 28:58.46, leading disappointed Rikuren officials to say he had no chance of being named to the national team. At the moment only B-standard holder Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei), the top Japanese finisher at Nationals, has a spot on the 10000 m squad. With a handful of decent 5000 m marks and a new 3000 m PB from the last few weeks in Europe to show that he is on his way back to full fitness just in time to peak for the World Championships it would be surprising and unfortunate if Rikuren did not relent and send the young Sato, who along with Takezawa is the best hope for the next generation of Japanese distance men, to Berlin to get his first experience of world-level competition.

Already holding the World Championships B-standard but having performed poorly at Nationals, 1500 m specialist Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) also tried to score a mark which would impress Rikuren officials enough to have them add him to the Berlin roster. It was clearly not his day as Watanabe ran in last place throughout the race and struggled home alone in 3:50.48 with a gap of three seconds separating him from the nearest straggler.

2009 Flanders Cup Meet in Brasschaat - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
click event headers for race videos
Men's 5000 m
1. Dame Tasama (Ethiopia) - 13:34.97
2. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:35.32
3. Scotty Bauhs (U.S.A.) - 13:35.39
4. Mark Kennealy (Ireland) - 13:36.71
5. Brent Vaughn (U.S.A.) - 13:37.16
9. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:38.93
12. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:41.44
14. Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) - 13:44.69
15. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:49.60

Men's 1500 m A-heat
1. Kristof van Malderen (Belgium) - 3:39.43
2. Daniel Salel (Kenya) - 3:39.51
3. Taylor Milne (Canada) - 3:39.62
13. Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 3:50.48

Men's 1500 m B-heat
1. Darren Gauson (U.K.) - 3:42.53
2. Tim Konoval (Canada) - 3:42.53
3. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:43.37
13. Daisuke Tamura (Japan) - 3:51.02

Men's 800 m B-heat
1. Marc Wieczorek (U.S.A.) - 1:47.97
2. Takeshi Kuchino (Japan) - 1:48.33
3. Stefan Van Aelst (Belgium) - 1:48.80
4. Taiki Tsutsumi (Japan) - 1:48.97

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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