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by Brett Larner
Just days after setting a sizeable PB in the women's 10000 m to become the all-time #4 Japanese woman over the distance, 2009 national champion Yurika Nakamura came out tough again in the first heat of the women's 5000 m. Nakamura led for the first two kilometers at a relatively modest 15:30 pace before the big guns went to work. She managed to trail along in the lead pack and, with little hope of competing in the final kick, pushed back to the front in the final kilometer for a long surge. Outkicked over the last lap, Nakamura nevertheless rolled on to a negative split 6th place finish, clocking a PB of 15:21.01 and succeeding in advancing to the final on time despite having the slowest PB in the field coming into the race, development program runners aside. Her achievements at this year's World Championships mark Nakamura as the brightest star on the Japanese team thus far.
2008 national champion Yuriko Kobayashi, still on the rebound from a late-spring injury, was well off her PB in the more competitive second heat, finishing 8th in 15:23.96. Her mark was nevertheless also good enough to send her on to the final. Both women will race the final on Saturday, Aug. 22.
In other results:
-After an outstanding start women's 200 m national record holder and 2009 national champion Chisato Fukushima lost ground in the final meters and missed making the quarter final by 0.06 seconds. Perennial rival Momoko Takahashi ran only 23.61 and did not advance.
-Tasuku Tanonaka finished last in his first round heat of the men's 110 m hurdles and was eliminated. Likewise, Naoyuki Daigo failed to advance past the first round of the men's high jump after clearing only 2 m 20.
-Daisuke Ikeda sat in 31st of 34 athletes in the men's decathlon at the end of the first day. The highlight of Ikeda's performance came in winning his heat of the 400 m.
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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