Friday, July 31, 2009

Team Kyudenko Holds Send-Off for Maeda and Masumi

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/090730/spg0907302232000-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Sachiko Masumi and Kazuhiro Maeda. Click photo for full-sized version.

Team Kyudenko held a press conference at a Fukuoka hotel on July 30 to send off its two representatives on the Berlin World Championships team, men's marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda and women's long jumper Sachiko Masumi. Over 300 people gathered to see the pair. "You'll have to excuse me if I'm a little tense," laughed Maeda nervously.

"I'm hungry for a medal, and that's how I'm going to run," Maeda said of his target for the race. Having competed in the 10000 m at the 2007 Osaka World Championships, Berlin will be Maeda's second time on the national team. For Masumi it will be her first time. Having won June's National Championships with a PB jump, she approaches the World Championships with newfound confidence. "My goal is to make the final," she said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life After 2:08 - An Interview With Takayuki Nishida

interview by Tuomas Zacheus
interpreting, supplemental questions and editing by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin

Tall men Tuomas Zacheus and Takayuki Nishida in Tokyo.

Finnish writer Tuomas Zacheus, author of the book Nousevan Auringon Maratoonarit [Marathoners of the Rising Sun], visited Tokyo with his wife Marit the weekend of July 18-19. JRN organized and facilitated an interview for Zacheus with the recently retired Takayuki Nishida, a former Team S&B and Team JAL Ground Service runner coached by the legendary Toshihiko Seko.

Nishida holds a PB of 2:08:45, the fastest time ever by a Japanese runner on the elite Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon course. On the strength of his Beppu-Oita performance Nishida ran the marathon in the 2001 Edmonton World Championships, finishing 9th overall, beating then-national record holder Atsushi Fujita, and, as the Japanese team's third runner, helping to win the team silver medal. In university Nishida was already a star, narrowly losing out to a young Marilson Dos Santos of Brazil for silver in the 1999 World University Games half marathon and setting a rare new stage record on the Hakone Ekiden's 9th leg. Zacheus talked to Nishida about his past, his views on the Japanese jitsugyodan corporate team system and the future.

How did you start running?
When I was in elementary school I was on the baseball team, but when I got to junior high school I wasn't good enough to be a starter. I thought I'd have a better chance on the track team.

Did you have any marathon idols when you were young?
No, I didn't really know anything about running. I only really got interested when I was 20. My favorite baseball player was Kiyohara. Actually, though, I wasn't a marathoner yet, just a track runner, but when I was in 9th grade I liked Yasuyuki Watanabe, the Waseda University star who became its head coach.

Up until I was 18 I wanted to become a Buddhist monk because some of my relatives own a temple, so I decided to go to Komazawa University, a private Buddhist school. At the time I entered it wasn't a very powerful ekiden team yet. I wasn't a big name in high school either, no fast times or anything, but when I met Komazawa's head coach Hiroaki Oyagi I was impressed by what a powerful person he is. He inspired me to become something more.

What do you remember about winning the silver medal in the 1999 World University Games half marathon?
The World University Games were a lot of fun. I led the whole way, then in the last few hundred meters I started getting dizzy and a Brazilian went by me. He beat me by about 20 seconds.

Did you know that Brazilian, Dos Santos, has won New York twice and run 59 minutes for the half marathon?
What? Really? That's really good! I don't feel so bad about losing to him then! 59 minutes is amazing.












Nishida, #11, with teammate Ryosuke Fukuyama at the start of his retirement race, the 2009 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.


How did you get onto the S&B Foods team?
It was because of the name I mentioned before, Yasuyuki Watanabe. He had run for S&B, along with a lot of other runners I admired like Katsuhiko Hanada and Jun Hiratsuka, and at the time S&B had a reputation as a really strong team. The famous marathoner Toshihiko Seko was S&B's coach, too, so I wanted to be a part of that.

Could you describe Seko as a coach and as a person?
He's a great man. What should I say about him as a coach, though? He judges things by feeling. He remembers how it felt when he was doing well as a runner, and he wants people to replicate that. Seko tells his runners to do the same training he did, really, really hard stuff. But not everyone can do the same thing as Seko. The only one who ever pulled it off was Tomoaki Kunichika. He did all Seko's workouts and won Fukuoka in 2:07 in 2003. It would've been great if he'd been able to keep going like that, but by the time Athens came around he was overtrained and spent.

Did you know the Soh brothers?
Yes, when I ran my retirement race at Beppu-Oita this year the Sohs were at the finish with some other coaches to congratulate me. They've always given me good advice. When I was in my third year of university, when I was 21, I was part of a Rikuren training camp. I wasn't very good at that point and I was a little embarrassed to be there. At one of the workouts an older runner named Sato was absent, so I picked up his name card and ran wearing that. One of the Sohs saw me and said, "This Sato runs pretty well! He's got a good future."

I had a close relationship with Seko later and he was friends with the Sohs, so they were really nice to me too. I was one of Seko's favorites so he protected me. The higher-up people in the Japanese running world don't like it if you dye your hair, for example, but I did it anyway. Officials and other coaches were upset about it, but Seko told them, "This is the fashion for young people nowadays," and that was the end of it.

Can you tell us about your training during the S&B Foods time?
It was mostly based on intervals and long distance. One interval workout a week and one long run, every week. Plus sometimes we'd do an interval and long run set, like today 5000 m of hard intervals, then a 40 km run the next day. We did a lot of 20 km time trials, too. In heavy training I'd be doing 1000 km a month, with at maximum 70 km in one day.

So you were a high-mileage guy.
That's right.

Since you were a professional and you belonged to the national team you must have trained in many places around the world. What do you think is the best place you trained?
As far as overseas goes, I did training camps in Germany, Canada, Spain and other places. I think the Spanish island Majorca was the most fun. We usually did winter training in Okinawa, though, and of course most of my summer training was in Hokkaido. I guess I'd say Okinawa was my favorite place overall. In the winter, at least.

What about altitude training?
I never liked doing it. I always got really bad headaches and my ears would hurt because I have a low hemoglobin count.

Your marathon record is 2:08:45. Are you satisfied with that result?
Well, my goal at the time was the Athens Olympics. But in working really hard for that my legs started breaking down and I couldn't make it, so, no, having run 2:08 doesn't really give me any happiness. Looking back now I can see that I was overtraining. Later, on the teams I ran for I tried to help the younger guys understand the danger of doing too much.

When you ran 2:08 your training must have gone well.
No, it wasn't any good. I had an Achilles tendon problem from September until mid-November, so when I started up again I only had two and a half months. I felt good during that training, but then after Beppu-Oita I overtrained again and hurt my knee before the World Championships.

You were 9th in the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. Can you say something about that race?
My strongest memory is of the opening ceremonies and the start of the race. There were so many tens of thousands of people there to cheer. It was really exciting. Also, different from what I was used to in Japanese qualifying races, there weren't any pacemakers since it was the World Championships. The start was really slow, then someone would throw in a spurt, then it would get slow again. I was kind of caught by surprise and it was hard to run like that. I'd never been in that kind of race before. I'm proud to say that I threw in a spurt too and led for a while. But, then again, when I did that I looked back and everyone was still right behind me. Do you know Atsushi Fujita?

Yes, of course, he set the marathon national record.
He's my best friend. We were on the same team in university. He was a year above me, and he also made the Edmonton team. I had put little Japanese flags on my water bottles so I'd recognize them. At the 30 km water point I grabbed mine, but when I looked at it it had 'Atsushi Fujita' written on the side! He'd put flags on his bottles too. I drank some and then put it back on another table, but after the race Fujita was angry and told me off because he'd missed it. Actually, before that, at around 8 km, I'd accidentally taken the Asahi Kasei runner Yoshiteru Morishita's bottle too, so they were both mad at me when we'd all finished! That's what I think of when I remember the World Champs.

Did you manage to find any of your own bottles?
Yeah, a few. After I'd already grabbed Fujita's I drank some and thought, "Hmmn, this doesn't taste right." Then I saw mine and just thought, "Oh, damn, whoops."

Your team was 2nd and got the Marathon World Cup silver medal. Are you proud of that?
Yes, I'm very proud of it. It doesn't matter whether it's an individual or a team medal, a medal means something. When I look at it I know I did something great that day.

Atsushi Fujita and Takayuki Nishida after Fujita's win at the 2007 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.

In the corporate team system are contracts for a couple of years at a time or for ten years, or...?
The way it is now, the number of years isn't set in the contract. When the coach or the company says, "We don't need you anymore," you're finished. Of course the runners want to run for a long, long time, but a year after you join a team one or two new, younger guys come in, then the next year one or two more. As a result there's really serious competition inside the team, where you don't want to show your weaknesses to the younger guys. If you don't get results in races you can't really move up on the team and the coach will pass you over for younger, faster guys. The older you get the harder it becomes and the more stress you go through, but that becomes a motivation and keeping your motivation is really essential.

I ran as a pro on corporate teams until February this year. Up until then I never wanted to be beaten by younger guys, but young, better guys were coming in all the time. Since we trained together every day you know exactly what your position is. At the same time, I had the experience, and there was always a kind of tension between experience and ability. Experience is something real, but you need the training to support it.

I imagined it as a perfect system, like heaven.
Well, you know, most of the corporate teams have about fifteen runners. Like I said, every year two new guys come in, so that means two older guys have to go. If you're one of the older people on the team and you're not putting out good times the pressure really goes up. It's not heaven. The flip side is that sometimes the best runners get kind of complacent and do the minimum necessary to keep their position and salary.

Where does Japanese marathoners' determination come from?
The competition within a team is a big part of why Japanese runners are motivated to work so hard. The motivation leads to better performance because to be on a team you have to be good enough, and that means you have to train more. Another part comes from the ekiden. When you get the sash in an ekiden it holds the efforts of all the runners who came before you. When you run you're carrying the result of all their hard work too. If you stop you waste not only your own run but everyone else's, so you can't ever give up. Growing up in that kind of environment throughout high school and university shapes the mindset of Japanese runners once they go on to the marathon. That's why you never see Japanese marathoners DNF. Look at Atsushi Sato in Beijing. But then again, compared to other countries Japanese runners tend to retire pretty young.

Is that because of stress or very harsh training?
Maybe because of overtraining. I often hear that runners from other countries do their training buildup, run their marathon, then have enough time off to recover. In Japan the time to refresh yourself is very short. In spring there's track, then in summer you do high mileage distance training, nothing but run, run, run. In autumn it's ekiden season, and finally in winter the marathon. Then spring comes and it's track training again.

So there's no time to rest?
That's right. In the team I was on before I had a chance to train together with some Kenyans for two months. They had a great sense of how to rest and recover, and not just in terms of how long. More that they knew when they needed to take it easy and they'd make time for it. Like they'd say, "I'm tired today so I'm just going to go for a walk." Where we would do a 60-minute jog early in the morning to recover they'd go out and walk, then go home and take a nap. I respect that.

At the National Championships before the Athens Olympics I met Samuel Wanjiru. He told me, "It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I'm just going to stay home and sleep." Japanese runners would show up wearing a cap and vest and do the workout in the rain. I think that ability to let yourself take it easy sometimes is missing in the Japanese system, but some of the talented young guys we have now are learning this lesson so I think there might be another generation of great Japanese runners coming soon.

Fujita believes something totally different. He's very strict and keeps getting more that way. Even when he's hurt he just runs and runs.

Do you think that's why he's never run as well as he did in 2000 when he ran 2:06:51?
Well, some people need discipline in their lives. That's how Fujita is. Being stoic lets him feel good about himself. If he did things the Wanjiru way and relaxed more he would probably be a lot more stressed out. His whole lifestyle is based on training, eating, and sleeping, and he thinks all of them are really important. Of course he's a strong guy, but he doesn't think so; he feels like he needs this kind of discipline to make up for what he thinks is his weakness compared to other people. As soon as he's done a workout he eats, then as soon as he's finished eating he goes to bed. He's been doing it that way for a long time and that's how he gets his results. I really respect and admire Fujita and his stoicism, so I tried to follow that in my own life and I think that's one of the reasons I had some success.

Last run, Nishida in Beppu-Oita '09.

Now that you're retired from the pro world how much do you run?
About a third to a half of what I used to do. The difference is that now I can do things the way I want. When I was running pro I hated having to get up and do morning practice. Now I like getting up at 4:30 and going out to enjoy early morning Tokyo before the air gets dirtier. Training like that is more fun than it used to be.

Now that he is retired, Takayuki Nishida is pursuing his dream of becoming an actor and comedian. He is still involved with the running world, coaching an amateur running club, and will run November's Kawaguchiko Marathon. He plans to win.

(c) 2009 Tuomas Zacheus and Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big Mouth Scores the Big Ticket - Yuichiro Ueno in Berlin

http://www.asahi.com/sports/column/TKY200907250112.html

translated by Brett Larner



In the National Track and Field Championships 5000 m last month, Yuichiro 'Big Mouth' Ueno's usual stupidity was nowhere to be seen.* Hanging back at the rear of the lead pack, Ueno bided his time before attacking to take his first national title. Watching the race, Hiroshi Tako, Ueno's coach since his early days at Chuo University, commented, "Hmmn, this isn't like him at all." That's how much Ueno wanted to make his first World Championships team.



Three days later came the 1500 m. Right from the first lap Ueno took off at a dash. All the real middle distance runners in the race waited as they followed their carefully-built race plans. On the last lap the leaders tried to run Ueno down, but it was too late. "Man, it's pretty weak that nobody even tried to race me," he said in his post-race interview. Ueno became the first person in 24 years to win the 1500 m and 5000 m double at the National Championships. People across the country laughed in amazement that Big Mouth had finally actually done something.

Ueno's career goal is the marathon. That hasn't changed since he entered high school, when he famously said in an interview, "I'm going to set the world record." He plans to concentrate on speed until he's 29. Currently he trains about 400 km a month. Compared to Olympic gold medalists Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi, who trained over 1000 km a month, it seems like Ueno isn't working hard enough.

The reality is different. Ueno missed out on the 2007 World Championships in Osaka and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of injuries. "I can't even count the number of times I cried because I couldn't train," he says. "Finally, finally, finally, I did it." Ueno understands that rather than killing himself in training, now it's the time for him to develop himself and flesh out his abilities. He may be a clever runner after all.

Yuichiro Ueno
Born in Saku, Nagano. 183 cm, 58 kg. 23 yrs. old. Runs for Team S&B. While at Saku Chosei High School he broke the 12 year-old 10000 m high school national record. An ekiden star while at Chuo University, he was known as one of the 'Four Princes' of the university ekiden world along with Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Hideaki Date (Team Chugoku Denryoku). PBs: 1500 m - 3:42.51 / 5000 m - 13:21.49 / 10000 m - 28:27.39

*Translator's note: Ueno has a long-standing reputation for talking big and blowing up even bigger.

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

Shibui Wins San Francisco Marathon

by Brett Larner

Click image for a full-sized photo of Shibui at the SF finish line.

Just four weeks before the 2009 World Championships marathon, former national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) ran the July 26 San Francsico Marathon as part of her training. Having been injured throughout most of the spring and having run a personal worst 1:14:09 earlier this month at the Sapporo International Half Marathon, Shibui intended San Francisco to be nothing more than a practice run in the 2:45-2:55 range.

After starting out at sub-2:40 pace she settled down, going through halfway in 1:21:40. Her pace continued to slow throughout the second half of the race as she cruised to a perfunctory 2:46:34 win. Right on target, but her progressive slowing may have raised more questions than it answered about whether the Yoko Shibui who won January's Osaka International Women's Marathon can make a seemingly miraculous comeback in four weeks' time. A post-race press release from the San Francisco Marathon organizers quoted Shibui as saying, "This is a very hard course. It's the toughest course that I've ever run. It was much hillier than I expected, but overall it was a very good tune-up for me. I think if I was in top condition, like I will be in a month, I would have run with the lead man today." Shibui now returns to her training base in Flagstaff, Arizona for her final Berlin preparations.

Click here for complete results from the 2009 San Francisco Marathon.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kanbara Remains Unbeaten in Fuji Tozan Mountain Race

by Brett Larner

Heavy rain cut the 2009 Fuji Tozan Mountain Race down to size, but two-time defending women's champion Yuri Kanbara and 2006 men's winner Toru Miyahara nevertheless prevailed again to pick up this year's titles.

With conditions dangerous above Mt. Fuji's 2256 m-high 5th Stage on the July 24 race morning, organizers made the decision 30 minutes before the 7:00 a.m. start to shorten the event's 21 km long, 3000 m elevation gain Summit Race. Rather than reaching the summit, athletes in the long race would end at the 5th stage along with the event's 15 km long, 1480 m elevation gain 5th Stage Race entrants. This meant the true uphill specialists in the field such as Kanbara were at a competitive disadvantage against faster athletes who could withstand the relatively mild climb and paved first half of the 5th Stage course.

The rain let up just minutes before the start, leaving the fields in the two divisions with the coolest, most ideal conditions in recent Fuji Tozan history. Miyahara responded with a course-record 1:15:15 victory, beating runner-up Toru Azuma by over six and a half minutes. Kanbara's win was even more decisive. Facing down an expected challenge from rival Tomoko Tamamushi, Kanbara ran 1:33:00 to win by nearly 12 minutes, a feat all the more impressive considering that it did not include the part of the Fuji Tozan course which most plays to her strengths. For their victories Miyahara and Kanbara picked up invitations to the Oct. 25 Mt. Kinabalu mountain race in Malaysia.

Running on the same course an hour and a half later, first-timer Naoto Ikuta unseated two-time defending 5th Stage Race champion Takanori Ono to take the men's division in 1:21:48. Running the 5th Stage Race for the seventh time, Takako Seijo won the women's division for the first with a 1:53:12 clocking.

Click here for complete results from the 2009 Fuji Tozan Mountain Race.

2009 Fuji Tozan Mountain Race - Top Finishers
Summit Race - Men
1. Toru Miyahara - 1:15:15 - CR
2. Toru Azuma - 1:21:47
3. Takahiro Kurihara - 1:23:14
4. Kenichi Hirayama - 1:25:03
5. Suguru Emoto - 1:25:15

Summit Race - Women
1. Yuri Kanbara - 1:33:00
2. Junko Ishikawa - 1:44:53
3. Natsumi Mineshima - 1:45:59
4. Yoshimi Kasezawa - 1:48:59
5. Tomoko Tamamushi - 1:49:19

5th Stage Race - Men
1. Naoto Ikuta - 1:21:48
2. Yoichi Nakanishi - 1:26:04
3. Masahiro Ito - 1:27:44

5th Stage Race - Women
1. Takako Seijo - 1:53:12
2. Satohi Numasawa - 1:56:35
3. Kishiko Suto - 1:59:57

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Takezawa Comes Up Short in Barcelona

by Brett Larner

Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) came up short in his quest to score a new World Championships 5000 m A-standard mark to pick up a place on this year's national team. After tuning up with a 3000 m PB of 7:49.26 at last week's Gobierno de Aragon meet in Saragossa, Spain, Takezawa ran the 5000 m at the Ciutat de Barcelona meet on July 25.

With his teammate Yuichiro Ueno, who holds a B-standard mark of 13:26.31, having already secured a spot on the Berlin team by winning last month's National Championships, Takezawa needed to run under 13:20.00. He could only muster a 13:26.90, his best time since injury troubles began two years ago and one which cleared the B-standard but not the magic A-standard. As the fastest time of the year next to Ueno's, Takezawa's Barcelona mark earns him the national team alternate position.

Barring injury or illness for Ueno, Takezawa, who along with perennial rival Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) represents the brightest hope for the next generation of Japanese men's distance running, will stay home in August after having run in the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympics. Sato, who likewise set a 3000 m PB last week, has one final chance to make the Berlin team in the 5000 m when he runs today's Flanders Cup meet in Brasschaat, Belgium.

2009 Ciudad de Barcelona Meet - Men's 5000 m Top Finishers
click here for complete results
1. Silas Kipruto (Kenya) - 13:08.98
2. Jonas Cheruiyot (Kenya) - 13:15.69
3. Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 13:15.90
-----
6. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:26.90

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yuki Sato Edges Back at Gentse Feesten Meet

by Brett Larner



Team Nissin Shokuhin's Yuki Sato, a university star who struggled through injury his senior year looked set for the World Championships when he ran 27:38 earlier this spring in the second race of his pro career. Injuries returned shortly afterwards and a disastrous showing in the 10000 m at June's National Championships left him empty-handed, but since then Sato has edged closer and closer back toward some measure of his full fitness. On July 21 he took another step toward earning the World Championhips 5000 m A-standard when he finished 2nd overall in 7:53.56 in the 3000 m at the Gentse Feesten Meet in Ghent, Belgium, part of the Flanders Cup series. Sato's time was a PB by nearly 3 seconds but was well short of his university-era and now cross-town Team S&B rival Kensuke Takezawa's PB of 7:49.26 at last week's Gobierno de Aragon meet in Saragossa, Spain.

Two other runners, Yusei Nakao of Team Toyota Boshoku and Sato's teammate Satoru Kitamura, also made the top five, both clocking PBs. Four other runners on the Japanese tour of this summer's European track circuit also ran. Click here for complete results.

Sato will go after the A-standard on July 26 at the next Flanders Cup meet in Brasschaat, Belgium along with the other Japanese runners from the Feesten 3000 m. Several Japanese runners are also entered in the Brasschaat 800 m and 1500 m. Complete entry lists are available here.

2009 Gentse Feesten Meet - Men's 3000 m Top Finishers
1. Molefe Molefe (South Africa) - 7:53.27 - PB
2. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 7:53.56 - PB
3. Elroy Gelant (South Africa) - 7:54.36 - PB
4. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 7:54.84 - PB
5. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 7:57.67 - PB
-----
8. Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) - 8:03.19
10. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 8:04.79
15. Seigo Ikegami (Team Honda) - 8:30.38
16. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 8:34.46

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Takezawa Scores 3000 m PB in Saragossa

by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympian Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B), in Europe to chase after the World Championships A-standard in the 5000 m, tuned up at the Gobierno de Aragon Meet in Saragossa, Spain on July 18. Still on the recovery from a plague of injuries over the last two years, Takezawa scored the first significant result of his three and a half month old pro career with a PB of over 5 seconds in the 3000 m. Takezawa clocked a time of 7:49.26, good enough only for 7th but a mark which puts him in good position to achieve his target of setting a World Championships A-standard time before the Aug. 3 deadline.

Takezawa, who has a 5000 m PB of 13:19.00, needs the A-standard to join the Berlin team alongside his teammate Yuichiro Ueno, who has already been guaranteed a spot after both setting a B-standard time and winning this year's National Championships 5000 m. Also in the hunt for an A-standard in Europe is Takezawa's great university rival Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin). Should Takezawa and Sato both succeed in earning A-standard times the Japanese 5000 m squad in Berlin will be made up of the three best young runners the country has produced in recent years.

Click here for complete results from the Gobierno de Aragon Meet.

2009 Gobierno de Aragon Meet - Men's 3000 m Top Finishers
1. Josephat Kiprono Menjo (Kenya) - 7:44.15 - PB
2. Jesus Espana Cobo (Spain) - 7:44.49
3. Francisco Javier Alves Vas (Spain) - 7:45.30 - PB
-----
7. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 7:49.26 - PB

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jarso, Ominami Top Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet - Results

by Brett Larner

The final meet in the 2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place July 20 in Abashiri, Hokkaido, the last domestic opportunity for athletes to qualify for the Japanese national team for this year's World Championships. Ironically, the only athlete to pick up a Berlin ticket was Ethiopian Yakob Jarso (Team Honda).

Jarso set the Ethiopian national record of 8:13.47 in the 3000 m steeplechase at last summer's Beijing Olympics where he was 4th. This spring Jarso attempted to move up to the 5000 m and 10000 m but missed the times he needed to make the Ethiopian team at those competitive distances. Resigned to running the steeple again after a year's absence, Jarso had to set an A-standard time to illustrate to the Ethiopian federation that he is ready to go for Berlin. The Abashiri Meet organizers were generous enough to organize a steeplechase heat for Jarso, but when he came to the starting line he found only Sapporo Gakuin University's Masashi Takemoto lining up with him. While Takemoto knocked out a hapless 9:43.47, Jarso performed a remarkable solo 8:17.12, less than four seconds off his national record and clearing the World Championships A-standard by six seconds. After his failed spring season he is determined to improve on his Beijing performance with a medal in Berlin.

The women's 10000 m featured some of the most competitive racing of the meet. Veteran Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) led the way in search of the A-standard, running her best time of the season but coming up short in 32:06.07. With B-standard runner Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) already confirmed for Berlin in the women's 10000 m it looks as though Ominami will be staying home. Berlin World Championships marathoner Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) built on her strong showing in last week's Hokuren Distance Challenge 5000 m, running 32:26.63 for 3rd and continuing to round into form nicely. Women's 5000 m national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) ran in the B-heat of the men's 5000 m, finishing last in 15:23.44 ahead of her appearance at the World Championships.

In other noteworthy results, women's 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) ran the 3000 m rather than the 1500 m, beating marathoner Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) who is on the comeback from injury. Former Gakushuin University ace Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.), a Hakone Ekiden downhill specialist who graduated this spring to take a job in the Saitama Prefectural Government rather than joining a pro team, ran an eight-second PB in the B-heat of the men's 5000 m. His time of 13:59.73 gives hope to others that there is life after university running without having to go the jitsugyodan route.

2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet - Top Results
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 32:06.07
2. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:22.50
3. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 32:26.63
4. Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 32:45.55
5. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 32:47.00

Men's 5000 m A-heat
1. Tsuyoshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 13:46.57
2. Yuta Takahashi (Josai Univ.) - 13:47.43
3. Hideyuki Anzai (Team JAL Ground Service) - 13:48.62
4. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 13:50.09
5. Haji Aman (Team Honda) - 13:50.62

Men's 5000 m B-heat
1. Keizo Maruyama (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:57.76
2. Kazuuma Kaikura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:58.62
3. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 13:59.73 - PB
4. Shoji Imabori (Team Honda) - 14:07.19
5. Yasuo Ishida (Jobu Univ.) - 14:09.19
-----
24. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 15:23.44

Men's 3000 m SC
1. Yakob Jarso (Team Honda) - 8:17.12
2. Masashi Takemoto (Sapporo Gakuin Univ.) - 9:43.47

Women's 3000 m
1. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 9:14.51
2. Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 9:19.65
3. Natsumi Matsumoto (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 9:23.00
4. Shino Saito (Team Shimamura) - 9:23.43
5. Maki Arai (Team Uniqlo) - 9:27.12

Men's 1500 m
1. Takahiko Onishi (Team NTN) - 3:45.92
2. Daiki Sato (Tokai Univ.) - 3:46.29
3. Patrick Morgan (U.S.A.) - 3:46.51

Women's 1500 m
1. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 4:20.16
2. Saki Nakamichi (Team Shiseido) - 4:25.18
3. Sayuri Sendo (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 4:26.43

Men's 800 m
1. Sugeru Hattori (Tokai Univ.) - 1:50.75
2. ??? Kim (Korea Sports Univ.) - 1:50.96
3. ??? Kang (South Korea) - 1:51.01

Women's 800 m
1. Ruriko Kubo (Team Deodeo) - 2:05.15
2. Akari Kishikawa (NPO STCI) - 2:07.46
3. Yeon Jung Heo (South Korea) - 2:08.71

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yoshimi Ozaki Back From High Altitude Training

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/090718/oth0907181857013-n1.htm
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/f-sp-tp0-20090718-520239.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Marathoner Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei), who will run the women's marathon at August's Berlin World Championships, returned to Japan on July 18 from altitude training in Boulder, Colorado. The lower back pain which bothered Ozaki in March has disappeared, and the month and a half she spent at the American training camp has brought her confidence back. "If I make the top eight in Berlin I think that'll be pretty good," she said.

As evidence of her complete recovery, Ozaki's training in Boulder included runs up to 40 km. "The goal this time was to get used to covering the distance again," explained Ozaki. "Consider that accomplished." Her coach Sachiko Yamashita looked toward the next phase of her plan, saying, "From now on out we need to get rid of the accumulated fatigue and bring in some sharpness. The way things look right now I'd say everything is coming together."

While staying in Boulder Ozaki rented a house belonging to Sydney Olympics women's marathon silver medalist Lidia Simon (Romania), who encouraged Ozaki by saying, "In Berlin let's run together up front."

The 28 year old Ozaki, who won November's final Tokyo International Women's Marathon, heads to Kumamoto Prefecture on July 25 for her final training camp. She plans to travel to Berlin on Aug. 16.

'Officials Conflict Over 10,000m Teams for Berlin'

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/sports/InsidePage.php?id=1144019380&cid=39

'Former Olympic Marathon Runner Retires Aged 81'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/athletics/8157832.stm

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nakao Hits World Championships B-Standard in Heusden (updated)

by Brett Larner



Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) continued his strong season, heading the Japanese contingent at this year's KBC-Nacht meet in Heusden, Belgium. Nakao, running the men's 5000 m at the same meet where Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta) set the Japanese national record two years ago, ran a PB of 13:28.16 to finish 7th in the B-heat.

With 2009 national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) already named to the national team with a B-standard mark, Nakao, Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) needed to break the World Championships A-standard of 13:20.00 to join him. Sato took up the challenge, running among the leaders in the early stages of the race and going through the kilometer right on pace in 2:39 with Matsuoka also in the pack. Nakao sat back and waited, moving up as the race evolved.

Sato, who holds a PB of 13:23.57 and earlier in the season ran the all-time 3rd-best Japanese mark of 27:38.25 for 10000 m before suffering a recurrence of injury, moved up behind the pacemaker at 1800 m and then took the lead at 2000 m. He led through 3200 m but was clearly not back to 100% as he abruptly faded at that point. Nakao simultaneously stepped up to join the leaders who broke away from Sato, hanging on to the back of the pack and landing 7th. His mark just cleared the World Championships B-standard of 13:29.00, but having missed the A-standard he earned himself only a place as a reserve. Sato and Matsuoka were 13th and 15th.



Women's 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) returned to Heusden having broken the national record there the last two years but could only muster a 9:57.37, nearly 30 seconds off her record time from last year.



Men's 1500 m Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) was a no-show, while Takeshi Kuchino's 1:48.78 in the men's 800 m fell well short of the World Championships B-standard mark he needed to make it to Berlin.

Complete results from this year's meet are available here.

2009 KBC-Nacht - Top Finishers
Men's 5000 m B-heat
1. Jonay Miguel Gonzalez (Spain) - 13:21.65 - PB
2. Moses Kibet (Uganda) - 13:24.87
3. Tim Nelson (U.S.A.) - 13:24.94 - PB
-----
7. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:28.16 - PB
13. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:36.17
15. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:36.66

Women's 3000 m SC
1. Hanane Ouhaddou (Morocco) - 9:24.29 - NR
2. Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia) - 9:24.40
3. Milcah Chemos (Kenya) - 9:24.50 - PB
-----
11. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:57.37

Men's 800 m
1. Ali Bilal Mansour (Bahrain) - 1:45.26
2. Reuben Bett (Kenya) - 1:45.77
3. Leonel Manzano (U.S.A.) - 1:46.20 - PB
-----
9. Takeshi Kuchino (Japan) - 1:48.78

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 18, 2009

'Axed Kitwara Says He Was Not Aware'

Click here for more on the ejection of Sammy Kitwara and Japan-based Gideon Ngatuny from the Kenyan World Championships 10000 m squad.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ueno, World Championships Marathoners Maeda and Fujinaga Run Well at Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet

by Brett Larner

The fifth meet in the 2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place July 15 in Kitami, Hokkaido, producing three significant results.

1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) continued his winning streak, taking the men's 3000 m. His time of 8:09.03 was 12 seconds off his best but the win showed that Ueno is maintaining his competitive edge as he trains in Hokkaido for the World Championships 5000 m.

In the women's 5000 m Kenyans Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) and Christine Muyanga (Team Panasonic) went 1-2 with Obare on top in 15:42.36. The surprise came in 3rd place, as World Championships marathon team member Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) came in just a step behind Muyanga. Earlier in the season Fujinaga had said she wanted to focus on her speed during the track season. While her earlier results had been unimpressive, her run in Kitami suggests she is rounding into form in time to peak in Berlin.

The men's 5000 m featured three of Japan's most promising younger distance runners, Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) and Berlin World Championships marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko). Mitsuya and Ono have been dealing with injury problems, while Maeda has been all but invisible since finishing 2nd in March's Tokyo Marathon, Kitami being his first race since then. Mitsuya took the top position, winning by 8 seconds in 13:38.01 and looking as though he is back to form. Maeda, who along with Ueno is one of only two Japanese men to hold a valid World Championships 5000 m qualifying mark, was 4th in 13:49.81, credible considering his training is currently focused on the marathon. Ono was only 5th in 13:57.55 and looks to have some work still to do on his way to recovery.

Click here for complete results from the Kitami meet. The final meet in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge takes place on Monday, July 20.

2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet - Top Finishers
Men's 5000 m
1. Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:38.01
2. Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 13:46.47
3. Tsuyoshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 13:47.58
4. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 13:49.81
5. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:57.55
-----
13. Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica Minolta) - 14:05.31
18. Martin Waweru (Team Fujitsu) - 14:14.82
19. Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.) - 14:17.22

Women's 5000 m
1. Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) - 15:42.36
2. Christine Muyanga (Team Panasonic) - 15:53.35
3. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 15:53.54
4. Kaoru Nagao (Team Aruze) - 15:54.66
5. Yuka Tokuda (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:55.10
-----
7. Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 15:56.89
14. Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 16:06.11
20. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 16:15.82

Men's 3000 m
1. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 8:09.03
2. Takayuki Matsuura (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:13.91
3. Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:16.21

Women's 3000 m
1. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui) - 9:12.35
2. Yoshika Tatsumi (Team Deodeo) - 9:20.71
3. Kaoru Sekino (Team Hokuren) - 9:21.40

Men's 1000 m
1. Daisuke Tamura (SDF Sports Academy) - 2:21.26
2. Aruto Anzai (Team S&B) - 2:24.44
3. Yoshito Suzuki (Sapporo Gakuin Univ.) - 2:25.04

Women's 1000 m
1. Misako Suguro (Team Shiseido) - 2:51.21
2. Saki Nakamichi (Team Shiseido) - 2:51.65
3. Yuka Hashimoto (Nittai Univ.) - 2:51.77

Men's 600 m
1. Kang Sok Ei (Koyan City Hall) - 1:17.26
2. Yoshihiro Shimadaira (Team Fujitsu) - 1:17.85
3. Nao Hattori (Tokai Univ.) - 1:18.03

Women's 600 m
1. Ruriko Kubo (Team Deodeo) - 1:28.63
2. Mayu Horie (Team M&K) - 1:29.64
3. Akari Kishikawa (NPO STCI) - 1:30.36

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'AK Axes Kitwara, Ngatuny From Berlin-Bound Squad'

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/sports/InsidePage.php?id=1144019318&cid=39

Shibui Leaves for Final Training Camp in Arizona

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/090714/oth0907141759011-n1.htm
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/f-sp-tp0-20090714-518491.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/090715/spg0907150514000-n1.htm
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20090714-OHT1T00246.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Marathoner Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport on July 14 for her final training camp for August's World Championships marathon in Berlin. Shibui will be based at 2100 m elevation in Flagstaff, Arizona, but will train even higher. Her coach Takao Watanabe commented, "She'll be going as high as 2700 m, but the details are still a secret. I hope the change in evironment will help her get stronger." The oxygen level at this altitude is only 15% compared to 21% at sea level. By training in such an evironment an athlete's heart and lungs will become stronger. "We'll be listening carefully to her body," said Watanabe.

In April Shibui began to experience pain in her left thigh which kept her out of training. Watanabe said that at Shibui's first training camp in Flagstaff last month, "If she did even a little speedwork her face started turning blue." As a result the camp became base training. In her comeback race, the July 5 Sapporo International Half Marathon, she was 23rd in 1:14:09, her personal worst. "When I come back from the States," laughed Shibui, "I'll be a different person."

Shibui admitted some fears, saying, "If things don't go well the pain might come back," but added strongly, "Things have been feeling better and better." Asked about her goals for the World Championships she said, "When I get back I'll have an answer for that. If I'm feeling 80%....Well, what does a percent mean? You can't describe how someone feels with a percent. I don't want to overthink things since I'm going to run either way. But if I get at least 80% of the work done then I'll be ready to go in the main event."

As part of her training Shibui will run the July 26 San Francisco Marathon and currently plans to return to Japan on Aug. 10.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 Lappeenranta Games, Finland - Results

by Brett Larner

A number of top pro Japanese men competed in the 2009 Lappeenranta Games in Finland on July 12. The biggest results came in the 5000 m, where 2008 World Half Marathon 5th place finisher Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) was 3rd and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), who earlier this season ran a PB of 27:38 in the 10000 m, was a DNF. Below are the top results of races featuring Japanese runners. For complete results click here.

2009 Lappeenranta Games - Top Results
Men's 5000 m
1. Lewis Korir (Kenya) - 13:36.23
2. Jukka Keskisalo (Finland) - 13:39.81
3. Yusei Nakao (Japan) - 13:44.92
-----
5. Satoru Kitamura (Japan) - 13:50.33
6. Naoki Okamoto (Japan) - 13:50.88
7. Suehiro Ishikawa (Japan) - 13:52.15
9. Seigo Ikegami (Japan) - 14:14.19
DNF - Yuki Sato (Japan)

Men's 1500 m
1. Mohammed Shahween (Saudia Arabia) - 3:42.81
2. Niclas Sandells (Finland) - 3:43.72
3. Jonas Hamm (Finland) - 3:44.39
-----
7. Yuki Matsuoka (Japan) - 3:46.72
12. Yasunori Murakami (Japan) - 3:53.94

Men's 800 m
1. Mohemmed Al-Salhi (Saudia Arabia) - 1:45.32
2. Abdulla Abdulgadir (Sudan) - 1:47.16
3. Takeshi Kuchino (Japan) - 1:48.89

Men's 400 mH
1. Ockert Cilliers (South Africa) - 50.03
2. Takayuki Koike (Japan) - 50.41
3. Hiroaki Masuoka (Japan) - 50.75

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ono and Obare Win in Hokuren Distance Challenge (updated)

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2009071100344

translated by Brett Larner

At the fourth meet in the Hokuren Distance Challenge series, the July 11 Kushiro meet, Athens Olympian Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) took the men's 10000 m in 28:27.20. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo), who will run the marathon at August's World Championships in Berlin, was 9th in 28:38.44.

Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) won the women's 3000 m in 9:03.32, with Berlin World Championships 5000 m runner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) 3rd in 9:11.32.

2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kushiro Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m A-heat
1. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:27.20
2. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 28:29.67
3. Takuya Noguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 28:30.06
4. Tsuyoshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 28:31.16
5. Michael Gichinji (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 28:32.40
6. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 28:33.12
7. Kazuya Deguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 28:34.02
8. Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:37.25
9. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) - 28:38.44
10. Martin Waweru (Team Fujitsu) - 28:38.66
-----
25. Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.) - 28:55.48

Women's 10000 m
1. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 32:41.57
2. Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 32:45.99
3. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 32:46.41
4. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 32:51.61
5. Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) - 33:05.60
6. Miki Watanabe (Team Panasonic) - 33:07.46
7. Kasumi Oyagi (Team Panasonic) - 33:09.64
8. Shoko Miyazaki (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 33:11.19
9. Risa Nakamura (Team Hitachi) - 33:25.30
10. Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 34:02.33

Men's 10000 m B-Heat
1. Yusuke Kawaminami (Team Osaka Gas) - 28:43.43
2. Etsu Miyata (Team Fujitsu) - 28:53.03
3. Tatsunori Sendo (Team Sagawa Express) - 28:56.44

Women's 3000 m
1. Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) - 9:03.32
2. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 9:10.69
3. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 9:11.32
4. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 9:18.69
5. Tomoka Tokuda (Team Yamada Denki) - 9:21.88

Men's 3000 m
1. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:15.54
2. Kazuya Namera (Saku AC Hokkaido) - 8:18.08
3. Patrick Morgan (U.S.A.) - 8:25.75
4. Kei Kiba (Team S&B) - 8:26.30
5. Shunta Kubo (Sapporo Gakuin Univ.) - 8:31.16

Women's 3000 m B-Heat
1. Risa Takemura (Team Kyudenko) - 9:50.18
2. Sayaka Yamaguchi (Team Hitachi) - 9:51.09
3. Mibu Isogai (Team Tenmaya) - 9:53.97

Bronze for Kanemaru on Last Day of World University Games

by Brett Larner

2009 World University Games men's 400 m gold medalist Yuzo Kanemaru of Hosei University brought the Japanese men's 4x400 m relay time home to bronze on the final day of competition at this year's games. Five-time national champion Kanemaru came from behind on the anchor leg to hold off Belgium by 0.15 seconds to take the medal after passable runs from teammates Hideyuki Hirose, Yusuke Ishitsuka and Kazuaki Yoshida. Australia won with a commanding 3-second lead over silver medalist Poland.

Another national champion, 800 m specialist Masato Yokota, came up empty handed in a tight race. Winner Sajad Moradi of Iran clocked 1:48.02 with only 0.02 seconds separating the next three runners. Yokota was the unlucky fourth man. While Kanemaru will go on to run in August's World Championships, Yokota's season is now effectively over.

Komazawa University's Tsuyoshi Ugachi was likewise out of luck in the slow and tactical men's 5000 m. Ugachi led the field through 2000 m running a pace of just 2:55 / km. Ugandan Joseph Chebet took over and clocked another 2:55 going through 3000 m before bringing it down to 2:49 heading up to 4000 m. From there it turned into an all-out dash and the two early leaders were left behind. Winner Halil Akkas of Turkey clocked an impressive 2:33 for the final kilometer, with the next two runners trailing by less than a second. Chebet finished 11th and Ugachi 13th out of the field of fifteen, nearly a minute off his PB.

2009 World University Games - Top Finishers
click event headers for complete results
Men's 5000 m
1. Halil Akkas (Turkey) - 14:06.96
2. Piedra Bayron (Ecuador) - 14:07.11
3. Elroy Gelant (South Africa) - 14:07.97
-----
13. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.) - 14:23.82

Men's 800 m - Final
1. Sajad Moradi (Iran) - 1:48.02
2. Goran Nava (Serbia) - 1:48.06
3. Fabiano Pecanha (Brazil) - 1:48.07
4. Masato Yokota (Japan) - 1:48.08

Men's 4x400 m Relay - Final
1. Australia - 3:03.67
2. Poland - 3:05.69
3. Japan - 3:06.46 (Hideyuki Hirose-Yusuke Ishitsuka-Kazuaki Yoshida-Yuzo Kanemaru)

Men's Long Jump - Final
1. Deok Hyeon Kim (South Korea) - 8.41 - PB
2. Ndiss Kaba Badji (Senegal) - 8.19
3. Marcin Starzak (Poland) - 8.10
-----
8. Yasuyuki Horiike (Japan) - 7.53

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nishihara Over Kojima for Silver in 5000 m - World University Games Day Five

by Brett Larner

2009 World University Games women's 10000 m gold medalist Kasumi Nishihara of Bukkyo University came back for more on the last day of women's distance competition, outrunning Ritsumeikan University rival Kazue Kojima to take silver in the 5000 m on July 11. Russian Natalia Medvedeva led through the first kilometer before eventual winner Sara Moreira of Portugal took over, running away to a 15:32.78 victory. Nishihara was a distant 2nd in 15:46.95, outkicking Medvedeva who took the bronze in 15:49.60.

Kojima, who was undefeated in domestic university competition coming into her senior year, was never a factor as she finished only 7th in a weak 16:03.45. With Nishihara having broken Kojima's 5000 m PB earlier in the season it looks as through the pair are set for a great series of duels over their final year of university competition.

In other track events, men's 800 m national champion Masato Yokota advance to the finals, as did the men's 4x400 m relay squad anchored by World University Games 400 m gold medalist Yuzo Kanemaru. The men's 4x100 m team, a favorite for a medal, had no so luck as they were eliminated after dropping the baton.

On the field, men's pole vaulter Takafumi Suzuki finished 8th overall, while men's long jumper Yasuyuki Horiike advanced to the next round.

2009 World University Games - Top Finishers
click event headers for complete results
Women's 5000 m
1. Sara Moreira (Portugal) - 15:32.78
2. Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:46.95
3. Natalia Medvedeva (Russia) - 15:49.60
-----
7. Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:03.45

Men's 800 m - Semifinals
1. Vitalij Kozlov (Lithuania) - 1:49.06
2. Sajad Moradi (Iran) - 1:49.07
3. Walid Meliani (Algeria) - 1:49.11
-----
12. Masato Yokota (Japan) - 1:50.07

Men's 4x400 m Relay - Heat 1
1. Japan (Hideyuki Hirose - Yusuke Ishitsuka - Kazuaki Yoshida - Yuzo Kanemaru) - 3:08.38
2. Denmark - 3:09.49
3. Algeria - 3:09.67

Men's 4x100 m Relay - Heat 1
DSQ - Japan (Masashi Eriguchi - Shintaro Kimura - Mitsuhiro Abiko - Hitoshi Saito)

Men's Pole Vault - Final
1. Alexander Gripich (Russia) - 5.60
2. Giorgio Piantella (Italy) - 5.55
3. Henrik Gruber (Germany) - 5.45
-----
8. Takafumi Suzuki (Japan) - 5.25

Men's Long Jump - Qualifying Round
1. Xiongfeng Su (China) - 7.98
2. Marcin Starzak (Poland) - 7.83
3. Deok Hyeon Kim (South Korea) - 7.82
-----
6. Yasuyuki Horiike (Japan) - 7.66

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Japanese Women Sweep Half Marathon at World University Games (updated)

by Brett Larner

Click photo for full-sized version.

The women's and men's half marathon kicked off the biggest day of long distance action at the 2009 World University Games, and the Japanese women did what they do best. Josai University's Chisato Saito led Kikuyo Tsuzaki and Sayo Nomura of Meijo University to a Japanese sweep of the women's half marathon. The relatively easy pace played into the hands of Tsuzaki and Nomura, the only runners in the field with PB marks under 72 minutes, but for Saito the win required an A-level effort as she ran just 3 seconds off her PB in 1:13:44. "I didn't expect to win at all, so more than happy I'm just surprised," Saito told reporters after the race.

Tsuzaki finished 19 seconds back in 2nd, with Nomura taking 3rd by a margin of 23 seconds over 4th placer Jong-Hyang Kim of North Korea who was more than a minute off the winning time. Asian runners took 9 of the top 11 positions.

The men's race was a more balanced competition, with the top 8 finishing within a minute of winner Ran Zhao of China, who outkicked newly-graduated Tomoya Onishi, the former leader of 2009 Hakone Ekiden winner Toyo University, by 2 seconds to take the gold in 1:04:28. Italian Francesco Bona likewise outkicked Komazawa University star Soji Ikeda for bronze, finishing 5 seconds behind silver medalist Onishi in 1:04:35 with Ikeda close behind in 1:04:39. A gap separated the top four from the rest of the field. Onishi's former Toyo teammate Yoshihiro Wakamatsu was the only Japanese half marathoner to have an off day, finishing 11th in 1:05:54.

2009 World University Games - Top Finishers
click event headers for complete results
Women's Half Marathon
1. Chisato Saito (Josai Univ.) - 1:13:44
2. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Meijo Univ.) - 1:14:03
3. Sayo Nomura (Meijo Univ.) - 1:14:23
4. Jong-Hyang Kim (North Korea) - 1:14:46
5. Rasa Drazdauskaite (Lithuania) - 1:15:00 - PB
6. Mi Gyong Kim (North Korea) - 1:15:11
7. Ho Sun Park (South Korea) - 1:15:28
8. Yon Hui Rim (North Korea) - 1:15:59
9. Filomena Costa (Portugal) - 1:16:16
10. Seong Eun Kim (South Korea) - 1:16:17

Men's Half Marathon
1. Ran Zhao (China) - 1:04:28
2. Tomoya Onishi (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:30
3. Francesco Bona (Italy) - 1:04:35 - PB
4. Soji Ikeda (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:04:39
5. Vasyl Matviychuk (Ukraine) - 1:05:00
6. Abdellatif Ait Hsine (Morocco) - 1:05:08
7. Reginaldo Campos (Brazil) - 1:05:17
8. Abderrahim El Jaafari (Morocco) - 1:05:24
9. Tamas Kovacs (Hungary) - 1:05:35
10. Jin Hyeok Jeong (South Korea) - 1:05:42
11. Yoshihiro Wakamatsu (Toyo Univ.) - 1:05:54

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kano Leaves for Albuquerque Sporting Pink Panda Nails

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20090710-OHT1T00260.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Click photo for full-sized version.

World Championships women's marathoner Yuri Kano (30, Second Wind AC) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport on July 10 for a high-altitude training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kano said she is in good spirits, and as a good luck charm she had her left thumbnail embossed with a panda. The background color of the design is a hot pink which reminds her of the color of sekihan, a dish Kano eats before each race.

"It's almost time!" Kano said, showing plenty of excitement toward her first time on the World Championships' big stage. However, she admitted that after several months of feeling off her best she went to a hospital on July 7 to have blood tests performed. Kano currently plans to remain in the United States until August 18, when she will travel straight to Germany for the World Championships.

Yoshida and Fuchise Pick up Silver - World University Games Day Four

by Brett Larner

Hurdler Kazuaki Yoshida led the way for the Japanese team on the fourth day of track and field competition at the 2009 World University Games, scoring a silver in the men's 400 m hurdles behind a dominant performance by Australian Tristan Thomas. Thomas clocked 48.75, over a second faster than Yoshida's 49.78. Masumi Fuchise also took silver in the women's 20 km walk as both she and winner Olga Mikhailova of Russia went under the meet record.

Tsukuba University's two entrants in the men's 200 m, Hitoshi Saito and Mitsuhiro Abiko, came up short. Abiko was eliminated in the semifinal, while Saito, obviously in trouble, finished last in the final over two seconds behind the rest of the field.

The men's 5000 m heats brought the day to a close. Komazawa University's Tsuyoshi Ugachi advanced to the final on time, running a conservative race after competing in the 10000 m on Wednesday. Star first-year Akinobu Murasawa of Tokai University, the 2008 national high school 5000 m champion, was a disappointing surprise as he ran only 14:08.31 and failed to move on to the final.

2009 World University Games - Top Finishers
click division headers for complete results
Men's 5000 m - First Round Heats
1. Mirko Petrovic (Serbia) - 13:54.77
2. Boy Moorosi Soke (South Africa) - 13:55.62
3. Diego Borrego (Mexico) - 13:55.85
-----
12. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.) - 14:00.22
16. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 14:08.31

Men's 800 m - First Round Heats
1. David Takacs (Hungary) - 1:49.64
2. Lachlan Renshaw (Australia) - 1:50.03
3. Predrag Randjelovic (Serbia) - 1:50.23 - PB
-----
12. Masato Yokota (Japan) - 1:51.15

Men's 400 m Hurdles - Final
1. Tristan Thomas (Australia) - 48.75
2. Kazuaki Yoshida (Japan) - 49.78
3. Michael Bultheel (Belgium) - 49.79

Men's 200 m - Semi-Final
1. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 20.64
2. Gavin Smellie (Canada) - 20.67
3. Sam Effah (Canada) - 20.75
-----
6. Hitoshi Saito (Tsukuba Univ.) - 20.87
10. Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba Univ.) - 21.06

Men's 200 m - Final
1. Ramil Guliyev (Azerbaijan) - 20.04 - PB
2. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 20.52
3. Thuso Mpuang (South Africa) - 20.69
-----
7. Hitoshi Saito (Tsukuba Univ.) - 22.22

Women's 20 km Walk
1. Olga Mikhailova (Russia) - 1:30:43 - MR
2. Masumi Fuchise (Japan) - 1:31:42 - (MR)
3. Olga Povalyaeva (Russia) - 1:33:58

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 10, 2009

Governor Hashimoto Hosts Reception for 100 km World Champion Miyasato

http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/other-games/20090710-OYO8T00422.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Osaka Governor Hashimoto hosted a reception at the Osaka Prefectural Office on July 9 for East Osaka resident Yasukaza Miyasato (30). Miyasato, a member of the Izumi-based Ground Self Defence Forces, won the 2009 IAU World Cup in Belgium last month. The Governor told Miyasato, "Your win is Osaka's honor," as he presented the world champion with a handwritten certificate of congratulations.

Miyasato covered the 'ultramarathon,' more than twice the distance of a 42.195 km full marathon, in a time of 6:40:43 to take the laurel wreath. After conferring the honors upon Miyasato, Governor Hashimoto recalled his own experience running a different race. "I only ran 3 km, but I couldn't move for a week afterwards. Your achievement is truly incredible." Looking toward his future goals Miyasato said, "I'd like to keep running the 100 km distance until I turn 40."

Kanemaru Takes Gold at World University Games

by Brett Larner

Yuzo Kanemaru wins the men's 400 m at the 2009 World University Games. Click photo for larger version.

What's in a name? Five-time 400 m national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) scored his first world-level title at the 2009 World University Games on July 9th. Kanemaru, whose name can be translated as 'gold circle,' won his heat in each round before taking the final in 45.68, half a second ahead of Austrian Clemens Zeller and Canadian Daniel Harper. In a post-race interview Kanemaru said, "Winning here was the least of my goals, but I'm still feeling it. I don't need any silver or bronze. To me if it isn't gold it doesn't mean anything. This win opens the door to Worlds." Kanemaru will run the 400 m at next month's World Championships in Berlin and hopes to achieve his goal of a sub-45 clocking this season.

Hurdler Kazuaki Yoshida turned in another solid run in the men's 400 m hurdles, finishing 2nd in the semifinal in 50.24. Teammates Mitsuhiko Abiko and Hitoshi Saito (Tsukuba Univ.) got off to a good start in the men's 200 m, Abiko running the 4th-fastest time in the first round of heats and Saito winning his heat. Both likewise advanced through the second round, but Abiko showed signs of the the apparent damage he suffered at last month's National Championships as he finished 5th in his second round heat, just squeezing into the semifinal in the last time-based slot.

2009 World University Games - Top Finishers
click event headers for complete results
Men's 400 m - Final
1. Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) - 45.68
2. Clemens Zeller (Austria) - 46.12
3. Daniel Harper (Canada) - 46.22 - PB

Men's 400 m Hurdles - Semi-Finals
1. Tristan Thomas (Australia) - 50.11
2. Kazuaki Yoshida (Japan) - 50.24
3. Michael Bultheel (Belgium) - 50.46

Men's 200 m - First Round Heats
1. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 20.79
2. Gavin Smellie (Canada) - 20.92
3. Sam Effah (Canada) - 20.96
4. Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba Univ.) - 21.16
-----
20. Hitoshi Saito (Tsukuba Univ.) - 21.46

Men's 200 m - Second Round Heats
1. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 20.73
2. Gavin Smellie (Canada) - 20.75
3. Ramil Guliyev (Azerbaijan) - 20.87
-----
9. Hitoshi Saitoh (Tsukuba Univ.) - 21.06
15. Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba Univ.) - 21.27

Men's 20 km Walk
1. Sergey Bakulin (Russia) - 1:20:52 - MR
2. Andrey Ruzavin (Russia) - 1:21:08
3. Moacir Zimmermann (Brazil) - 1:21:35
-----
6. Isamu Fujisawa (Japan) - 1:22:12
13. Yusuke Suzuki (Japan) - 1:25:08

Men's High Jump - Final
1. Eduard Malchenko (Russia) - 2.23
2. Michael Mason (Canada) - 2.23
3. Ivan Ilichev (Russia) - 2.20
-----
5. Hiromi Takahari (Japan) - 2.20

Men's Pole Vault - Qualifying Round
1. Konstantinos Filippidis (Greece) - 5.20
2. Alexander Gripich (Russia) - 5.20
3. Tobias Scherbarth (Germany) - 5.20
-----
9. Takafumi Suzuki (Japan) - 5.20
DNS - Hiroki Ogita (Japan)

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Takahashi and Eriguchi Medal in Belgrade - World University Games Day Two

by Brett Larner

Newly-crowned 100 m national champions Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) and Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) missed out on gold but brought home medals on the second day of the 2009 World University Games. Both runners started the day with wins in their semifinals, Eriguchi's 10.28 standing as the fastest time run at this year's Games although well off his 10.07 PB at last month's National Championships. Eriguchi's teammate Shintaro Kimura, the Nationals runner-up, was eliminated in his semifinal. Takahashi ran 11.52 in the women's final to take silver behind Lithuanian Lina Grincikaite's 11.31 gold medal run. Eriguchi took bronze in the men's final in a near-photo finish with winner Rolando Palacios Cruz of Honduras and silver medalist Amr Ibrahim Seoud of Egypt. Takahashi, Eriguchi and Kimura will go on to next month's World Championships in Berlin.

In the day's other track final, the men's 10000 m, medal hopefuls Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.) ran strongly but came up short of the medals. Both men ran in the lead group of eight, alternating the lead with each other over the first 4 km. In the last stages Kashiwabara slipped off the back of the pack with Ugandan Joseph Chebet. Going into the last lap the remaining six runners broke down to four when Ugachi and Stsiapan Rahautsou of Belarus were unable to match the leaders' kick. The race came down to a four-way sprint finish in which 1st and 4th were only 0.24 seconds apart, South African Sibabalwe Mzazi taking gold in 28:21.44.

Ugachi finished 6th, just 2 seconds off his PB in 28:25.74, with Kashiwabara a disappointing 8th in 28:38.48. Ugachi, who has repeatedly been beaten by Kashiwabara over the last year and a half in domestic championship races, no doubt took some consolation in living up to his words. In an interview following his loss to Kashiwabara at May's Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships Ugachi had said he was looking forward to the chance to take the younger runner down at the World University Games. Ugachi will double in the 5000 m later this week. For Kashiwabara, who had the second-best PB in the field going into the race, the disappointment will serve as motivation in the upcoming half marathon event.

In other track results, medal contender and five-time national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) comfortably won his semi-final in the men's 400 m to advance to the finals. His teammate Hideyuki Hirose narrowly missed out on advancing after finishing 4th in his semi. Kazuaki Yoshida advanced to the next round in the men's 400 m hurdles after winning his first round heat.

Detailed results coming shortly. In the meantime, complete results are available here.

2009 World University Games - Top Finishers
click division headers for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Sibabalwe Mzazi (South Africa) - 28:21.44
2. Denis Mayaud (France) - 28:21.50
3. Lungisa Mdedelwa (South Africa) - 28:21.52
4. Alexey Reunkov (Russia) - 28:21.68 - PB
5. Stsiapan Rahautsou (Belarus) - 28:25.31
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:25.74
7. Joseph Chebet (Uganda) - 28:37.87
8. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:38.48

Women's 100 m - Semi-Finals
1. Lina Grinkaite (Lithuania) - 11.37
2. Tina Murn (Slovenia) - 11.52
3. Maria Aurora Salvagno (Italy) - 11.57
-----
7. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 11.62

Women's 100 m - Final
1. Lina Grinkaite (Lithuania) - 11.31 - PB
2. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 11.52
3. Sonia Tavares (Portugal) - 11.54

Men's 100 m - Semi-Finals
1. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.28
2. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 10.30
3. Rolando Palacios Cruz (Honduras) - 10.32
-----
12. Shintaro Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 10.49

Men's 100 m - Final
1. Rolando Palacios Cruz (Honduras) - 10.30
2. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 10.31
3. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.33

Men's 400 m - Semi-Finals
1. Christopher Troode (Australia) - 45.79
2. Clemens Zeller (Austria) - 46.33
3. Kacper Kozlowski (Poland) - 46.40
4. Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) - 46.48
-----
8. Hideyuki Hirose (Hosei Univ.) - 46.84

Men's 400 m Hurdles - 1st Round Heats
1. Micheal Bultheel (Belgium) - 49.78 - PB
2. Jussi Heikkila (Finland) - 50.73
3. Abderrahmane Hamadi (Algeria) - 50.80
4. Viktor Leptikov (Kazakhstan) - 50.99
5. Kazuaki Yoshida (Japan) - 51.15

Women's Long Jump - Final
1. Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) - 6.64
2. Irina Kyrachkova (Russia) - 6.47
3. Ruky Abdulai (Canada) - 6.44
-----
10. Yoshimi Sato (Japan) - 6.10

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kyuma Sisters Fall Outside Medals at World Youth Games

by Brett Larner

The identical twin Kyuma sisters Haruka and Moe made up the Japanese contingent in the girls' 3000 m on the first day of the 2009 World Youth Championships in Sudtirol, Italy. Moe Kyuma, who made a memorable impression with her dynamic performance at January's National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden, challenged the lead pack of Kenyans Purity Cherotich Rionoripo and Jackline Chepngeno and Ethiopians Genet Yalew and Emebet Anteneh. Unable to sustain what was for her and all but eventual winner Rionoripo a PB pace, Kyuma finished one second behind Anteneh in 5th, clocking 9:19.73. Haruka Kyuma, marginally the stronger of the sisters, had a weak showing as she finished second to last in 9:54.49.

2009 World Youth Championships - Top Finishers
click division header for complete results
Girls' 3000 m
1. Purity Cherotich Rionoripo (Kenya) - 9:03.79
2. Jackline Chepngeno (Kenya) - 9:05.93 - PB
3. Genet Yalew (Ethiopia) - 9:08.95 - PB
4. Emebet Anteneh (Ethiopia) - 9:18.59 - PB
5. Moe Kyuma (Japan) - 9:19.73
-----
12. Haruka Kyuma (Japan) - 9:54.49

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nishihara Brings Japan First Gold of World University Games

by Brett Larner

Just over a week after making the top ten in the Japanese Nationals 10000 m, Bukkyo University ace Kasumi Nishihara brought the Japanese team its first gold medal of the 2009 World University Games, outclassing the field in the women's 10000 m on the first day of track and field competition. The youngest in the field, Nishihara held the best PB coming into the race and ran like it as she beat runner-up Tatiana Shutova of Russia by over 15 seconds to win in a relatively modest 33:14.62. In a post-race interview Nishihara commented, "It was an easy win, so I was pretty surprised. I didn't just want to run in an international meet but to go home with a medal."

Meijo University's Seika Nishikawa, the second-fastest woman in the field by PB, was less solid, finishing 4th in 33:56.62. Nishihara will double in the 5000 m, with Nishikawa scheduled to run in the half marathon.

Japan's sprinters dominated the first and second round of heats. Five-time national champion Yuzo Kanemaru of Hosei University had the fastest time in the men's 400 m heats, with teammate Hirose Hideyuki ranked 4th overall going into the next round. 2009 men's 100 m national champion and runner-up Masashi Eriguchi and Shintaro Kimura, both of Waseda University, won both of their first round heats with ease, Eriguchi likewise taking the 2nd round with Kimura finishing 2nd in his heat. Kanemaru and Eriguchi both look set to pick up gold medals if they continue on in form. Women's 100 m national champion Momoko Takahashi of Heisei Kokusai University likewise won her first round heat and advanced to the next day of competition.

Distance action continues on July 8 with the men's 10000 m. Toyo University star Ryuji Kashiwabara holds the second-best PB in the field, with Komazawa University's Tsuyoshi Ugachi close behind. The pair will challenge Chinese marathon national record holder Ren Longyun, who earlier this season set a PB of 28:08.00. The 100 m and 400 m also continue on the 25th edition Games' second day.

Update: Click here for the IAAF's report on Day One.

2009 World University Games - Day One Top Results
click event header for complete results

Women's 10000 m - final
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:14.62
2. Tatiana Shutova (Russia) - 33:29.99 - PB
3. Volha Minina (Belarus) - 33:32.35
4. Seika Nishikawa (Meijo Univ.) - 33:56.62
5. Alexandra Becker (Canada) - 34:31.69

Men's 400 m - 1st Round Heats
1. Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) - 46.51
2. Kacper Kozlowski (Poland) - 46.55
3. Clay Watkins (Australia) - 46.56
4. Hideyuki Hirose (Hosei Univ.) - 46.65
5. Clemens Zeller (Austria) - 46.86

Men's 100 m - 1st Round Heats
1. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 10.35
2. Rytis Sakalauskas (Lithuania) - 10.42
3. Marian Catalin Campeanu (Romania) - 10.43
4. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.48
5. Wilhelm Van Der Vyver (South Africa) - 10.51
6. Shintaro Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 10.52

Women's 100 m - 1st Round Heats
1. Lina Grincikaite (Lithuania) - 11.49
2. Sonia Tavares (Portugal) - 11.52
3. Melissa Breen (Austria) - 11.53
4. Tina Murn (Slovenia) - 11.58
5. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 11.58

Men's 100 m - 2nd Round Heats
1. Rolando Cruz Palacios (Honduras) - 10.37
2. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.38
3. Oluseyi Smith (Canada) - 10.38
4. Seoud Amr Ibrahim (Egypt) - 10.40
5. Shintaro Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 10.43

Men's High Jump - Qualifying Round
1. Nerijus Buzas (Lithuania) - 2.20
2. Michal Kabelka (Slovakia) - 2.20
3. Eduard Malchenko (Russia) - 2.20
4. Jussi Viita (Finland) - 2.20
5. Hiromi Takahari (Japan) - 2.20

Women's Long Jump - Qualifying Round
1. Ruky Abdulai (Canada) - 6.51
2. Teresa Dobija (Poland) - 6.48
3. Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) - 6.42
-----
12. Yoshimi Sato (Japan) - 6.15

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Akaba and Sato to Lead World Half Marathon Team

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/090706/oth0907061745029-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

On July 6 Rikuren announced the names of the five men and five women who will make up the Japanese national team for this year's World Half Marathon Championships to be held on Oct. 11 in Birmingham, U.K. Leading the men's team is Beijing Olympics and Berlin World Championships marathoner Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), the half marathon national record holder. The women's team will be headed by Berlin World Championships marathon medal favorite Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), a double Beijing Olympian on the track. For all the athletes chosen for the team, the World Half represents the next step in their careers.

2009 World Half Marathon Championships Team Lineup
Men
Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku)
PB - 1:00:25 (Udine '07) - NR
2nd, Jitsugyodan Half Marathon '09 - top Japanese
9th, Sapporo Int'l Half Marathon '09 - top Japanese
Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota)
PB - 1:01:41 (Jitsugyodan '09)
4th, Jitsugyodan Half Marathon '09 - 2nd Japanese
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN)
PB - 1:02:17 (Jitsugyodan '09)
3rd, Sendai Int'l Half Marathon '09 - top Japanese
Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team JAL Ground Service)
PB - 1:02:49 (Jitsugyodan '08)
5th, Sendai Int'l Half Marathon '09 - 2nd Japanese
Tomomi Itakura (Team Otsuka Seiyaku)
PB - 1:02:58 (Sapporo '09)
11th, Sapporo Int'l Half Marathon '09 - 3rd Japanese

Women
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren)
PB - 1:08:11 (Jitsugyodan '08) - CR
1st, Sendai Int'l Half Marathon '09
Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya)
PB - 1:09:20 (Sapporo '09)
1st, Sapporo Int'l Half Marathon '09
3rd, Jitsugyodan Half Marathon '09 - top Japanese
Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu)
PB - 1:10:03 (Jitsugyodan '09)
4th, Jitsugyodan Half Marathon '09 - 2nd Japanese
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu)
PB - 1:10:16 (Jitsugyodan '09)
4th, Sapporo Int'l Half Marathon '09 - 3rd Japanese
Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon)
PB - 1:11:27 (Sendai '09)
3rd, Sendai Int'l Half Marathon '09 - 2nd Japanese

Translator's note: In the three selection races for the World Half team Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) on the men's side and Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) on the women's were ahead of other runners named to the team. This may say something about Takahashi and Sahaku's plans for the fall season.