Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wanjiru Loses Savas Sponsorship Contract

translated by Brett Larner

On Dec. 1 the Meiji Seika corporation announced that on Nov. 30 it had terminated its sponsorship of Bejing Olympics men's marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru (23). In November last year Wanjiru signed a lucrative one-year contract with Meiji Seika to endorse the Savas sports supplement, but this year the company declined to renew the contract. A spokesperson for Meiji Seika cited "a change in our marketing plans" in explaining the move. The company is also cancelling the official team registration of its Team Sam.

Wanjiru was born in Kenya, coming to Japan as a teenager to attend Sendai Ikuei H.S. where he became a nationally-known face on the ekiden circuit. After graduating he joined Team Toyota Kyushu but quit last summer shortly before the Beijing Olympics. Wanjiru holds the half-marathon world record and set his marathon PB of 2:05:10 at last April's London Marathon, a course record. At October's Chicago Marathon he set another new course record of 2:05:41.

Translator's note: Meiji Seika's move came a day after Wanjiru finished 4th in the Great Australian Run 15 km. As far as I am aware Wanjiru never actually appeared in any advertisements for Savas or raced wearing their uniform.

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