The National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships are the last major meet on the schedule for Japan's corporate runners before they head into the fall ekiden season next month. This year's meet takes place Sept. 25-27 in Okayama and kicks off with the men's and women's 10000 m.
The men's 10000 m promises to be one of the highlights of the meet. While it's unlikely everyone on the entry list will start, the names on the list include most of the best in the country, Japanese and foreign alike. Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) tops the list with his PB of 26:58.40 from this spring, accompanied by perpetual rivals Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yacob Jarso (Team Honda). Ngatuny's teammate Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) leads the Japanese contingent with his PB of 27:38.25. All told the field includes twelve 27 minute men alongside Ndambiri with another half dozen, among them Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) in his pro debut, within seconds of breaking 28 minutes.
The women's 10000 m also has a strong field led by Kenyans Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren), Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) and Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo). Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) leads four Japanese women with recent times under 32 minutes including Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya), fresh from setting three PBs in three starts at last month's World Championships. As in the men's 10000 m, another half dozen women sit close to sub-32 level.
Other events to watch include:
- National record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) and former university star Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) on their way back from injury in the men's 5000 m. It will be Matsumiya's first race since losing his 30 km world record to Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia at last week's Berlin Marathon.
- Nakamura and Fukushi, the women's 5000 m national champion and national record holder respectively, face off again in the second heat of the 5000 m on Saturday. Also in the heat are 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) and, trying again for another comeback, trouble-plagued 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno). Berlin World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) will line up in the first heat.
- Still showing momentum from his bronze medal performance at the World Championships, Yukifumi Murakami (Team Suzuki) will take down the field in the men's javelin.
Click here for complete entry lists for the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships. Selected entry list highlights with season bests:
Men's 10000 m Heat 3
Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) - 26:58.40
Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:01.83
John Thuo (Team Toyota) - 27:31.61
Yacob Jarso (Team Honda) - 27:32.54
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:38.25
Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 27:48.71
Nicholas Makau (Team JAL Ground Service) - 27:52.32
Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 27:53.19 - DNS
Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 27:53.79
Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) - 27:58.09
James Mwangi (Team NTN) - 27:58.43
Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 27:58.63
Silas Jui (Team Hitachi Cable) - 27:58.88
Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 28:06.48
Tomoaki Bungo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:07.20
Samuel Ndungu (Team Aichi Seiko) - 28:07.79
Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:09.22
Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 28:23.28
Women's 10000 m Heat 2
Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) - 30:29.21
Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 31:01.14
Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 31:14.39
Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki) - 31:31.45
Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) - 31:39.38
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 31:42.86
Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo) - 31:58.50
Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) - 32:01.80
Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 32:03.17
Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 32:03.67
Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 32:04.79
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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