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World XC Championships - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

For the first time in several years, the Japanese national team at the World Cross-Country Championships will go home empty-handed as its perennial team bronze medal-winning junior women's squad placed only 4th at this year's Championships in Poland on Mar. 28. Junior woman Nanaka Izawa's 19th place finish was the best individual placing on the entire Japanese team, admittedly in the least competitive of the four fields, but her run led the Japanese junior women to finish as the top non-African team.

The junior men were likewise the top non-African team, finishing 6th in their race ahead of a number of teams from countries with far more established cross-country traditions. As JRN predicted Tokai University first-year Akinobu Murasawa was someone to watch. In his last race as a junior Murasawa, the inspiration for JRN's comparison last fall of young American and Japanese men's performances, beat much-hyped American first-year Trevor Dunbar to finish in 28th as the top non-African. Murasawa's run was arguably the best on the Japanese team.

It was through a fluke of birthdays lining up that Murasawa did not join his Tokai teammate Tsubasa Hayakawa on the senior men's team, but it was probably all for the best as the almost exclusively university student team failed to make a dent. After an aggressive start in the front pack Meiji University's Tetsuya Yoroizaka finished only 76th but was still the top senior Japanese man. The squad finished 16th, its worst placing in years. Team Kyudenko's star Kenyan Paul Tanui did not live up to expectations either, finishing 8th overall and only 4th on the Kenyan team after winning the Kenyan selection race.

The senior Japanese women fared better than the men despite predicted weak runs from 2009 18th placer Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and university star Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) in her last run before going pro. Kojima's young teammate Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) was the surprise of the day for the Japanese team, running an aggressive second half and holding off a fast-finishing Hitomi Niiya (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) to finish as the top Japanese woman in 30th.

2010 World Cross-Country Championships - Japanese Results
click here for complete results
Junior Women - 6 km - team 4th place
1. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 18:47
2. Purity Rionoripo (Kenya) - 18:54
3. Esther Chemtai (Kenya) - 18:55
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19. Nanaka Izawa (Toyokawa H.S.) - 20:17
22. Yuka Ando (Toyokawa H.S.) - 20:22
24. Minori Suzuki (Toyokawa H.S.) - 20:26
33. Akane Sueyoshi (Isahaya H.S.) - 20:53
47. Chihiro Tanabe (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 21:25
DNF - Yuki Hidaka (Kyushu Civic H.S.)

Junior Men - 8 km - team 6th place
1. Caleb Ndiku (Kenya) - 22:07
2. Clement Langat (Kenya) - 22:09
3. Japhet Korir (Kenya) - 22:12
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28. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 23:29 - top non-African
32. Suguru Osako (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 23:42
35. Takumi Honda (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 23:48
38. Kazuto Nishiike (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 24:01
40. Takashi Ichida (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 24:09
104. Shun Morozumi (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 26:40

Senior Women - 8 km - team 7th place
1. Emily Chebet (Kenya) - 24:19
2. Linet Masai (Kenya) - 24:20
3. Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia) - 24:26
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30. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 26:29
31. Hitomi Niiya (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 26:30
43. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 26:57
46. Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 26:59
49. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 27:07
53. Nanako Hayashi (Team Yamada Denki) - 27:13

Senior Men - 12 km - team 16th place
1. Joseph Ebuya (Kenya) - 33:00
2. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) - 33:06
3. Moses Mipsiro (Uganda) - 33:10
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76. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 35:48
78. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 35:51
82. Takuya Noguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 36:02
93. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) - 36:19
96. Kazuya Deguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 36:23
101. Minato Oishi (Chuo Univ.) - 36:46

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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