Click here to enter JRN's World Championships marathon prediction contest for a chance to win a 2009 Japanese national team singlet.
by Brett Larner
Barring a repeat of the Beijing Olympics marathons, 2009 national champion Yuzo Kanemaru's performance in the men's 400 m will be the biggest disappointment of this year's World Championships for Japanese fans. A legitimate contender for the final, despite setting a PB of 45.16 in May and being reliably under 46 seconds all season Kanemaru, who sustained a minor injury to his left thigh on the final day of training for Berlin, failed to make it out of the first round heats after delivering only a 46.83. Hideyuki Hirose actually ran faster in his heat, clocking 46.80, but likewise failed to advance.
The men's 200 m squad fared better, with Beijing Olympics 4x100 m relay bronze medalist Shinji Takahira and the young Kenji Fujimitsu leaving teammate Hitoshi Saito behind to advance to the quarterfinal. However, both Takahira and Fujimitsu were eliminated in the quarter, Takahira missing the semifinal by less than 0.01 of a second. Women's 100 m hurdles national champion Asuka Terada joined in the off day festivities as she likewise did not advance to the second round.
The only bright spot of the day came from Team Honda's Japan-based Ethiopian Yacob Jarso. Jarso set the Ethiopian national record in the men's 3000 mSC while finishing 4th at last year's Beijing Olympics. Having lost the national record last month to fellow World Championships team member Roba Gary, Jarso came to Berlin determined to get a medal. The extremely competitive quality of the race kept the hardware out of his range, but Jarso finished a credible 5th in a new PB of 8:12.13, 0.10 seconds short of Gary's record but beating the man himself by 0.27 seconds.
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved