Skip to main content

Fujiwara and Sato Likely Choices for Asian Games

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Following the final selection race on Mar. 7, Rikuren director Keisuke Sawaki discussed the candidates for the two men's marathon spots available on the Japanese national team for November's Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. "Now that we have the results from the three selection races [Fukuoka, Tokyo and Biwako], I would like to settle the lineup."

Director Sawaki's indicated his first choice is Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda), the winner of February's Tokyo Marathon. "He set a brilliant example in Tokyo. His newfound strength has brought him to the forefront." Rikuren director of men's marathoning Yasushi Sakaguchi suggested that he favors Biwako runner-up Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei). "In the pressure of a selection race he had the fastest time [by a Japanese runner] and with just a little more luck would have gone under 2:10. He at least cleared one of the main criteria."

In Fukuoka the top Japanese finisher was general division entrant Tadashi Shitamori (Team Yasukawa Denki). Shitamori finished 9th but beat Sato in the process.

Translator's note: Prior to Biwako yesterday Tokyo runner-up Arata Fujiwara (Team JR Higashi Nihon) was also in contention for the Asian Games team. In past years a marathon medal at the Asian Games has secured a Japanese runner a spot on the following year's World Championships team. With Japan's only major competition on the men's side at the Games being Koreans and Qatari Kenyans, of which there are at maximum two each, the chance of at least one medal is high enough that it has happened every time the Asian Games have ever been held. As such, the Asian Games are the easiest way for a Japanese marathoner to make the World Championships.


Most-Read This Week

Saitama International Marathon Elite Field

With just over three weeks to go the Saitama International Marathon has released the elite field for its third running scheduled for Nov. 12, and it's a small one. A problematic event that carries the diminished legacy of the Tokyo International Women's Marathon and Yokohama International Women's Marathon, Saitama occupies a place in the national team selection process that should go to the far superior Tokyo Marathon women's race but remains out in the northwestern suburbs thanks to the sponsor and TV broadcast income it generates for the JAAF. But with a field like this, how much longer will it be able to generate any sponsor interest or income?

The move of the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships from mid-December to late November, just two weeks after Saitama, means that not a single corporate league woman is entered in Saitama's elite field. Not one. The home crowd is represented by 22-year-old Reia Iwade (Dome), who quit the Noritz corporate t…

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…