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Mathathi and Ndambiri to Battle Sunday at Hyogo Relay Carnival

by Brett Larner

The second big Japanese meet of the season takes place this weekend at the 58th Hyogo Relay Carnival. The main draw in the distance events is Sunday's grand prix 10000 m A-heat. On the men's side sub-27 men Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) and Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) will once again be pushing each other into new territory as they go after Mathathi's meet record of 27:08.42 from 2005. They'll have company in the form of sub-28 minute men John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota), Jeilan Ibrahim (Ethiopia/ Team Honda), Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem), Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku), Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu).

The women's 10000 m is should be a solo run for 3000 m, 5000 m and half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), but Julia Mumbi (Kenya/Team Universal Entertainment), Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) and a number of other top Japanese women are on the start list including ailing 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), the Miyauchi twins (Team Kyocera), Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) and Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.).

With the grand prix events limited to 1500 m and 10000 m most of the other top competition will be going short in the 1500. The men's race should be a matchup between national record holder Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) and defending national champ Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) with challenges from Girma Bekele (Ethiopia/Team Honda) and Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable). Women's 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) is running the Brutus Hamilton Invitational in California, meaning the race should easily go to defending national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic).

Saturday also features 5000 m events and B-heats. Of these the most interesting may be the high school boys' 5000 m, where 14:02.39 man Kazuto Nishiike (Suma Gakuen H.S.) will try to kick off his senior year with a dip into 13 minute territory.

The Hyogo Relay Carnival will unfortunately not be broadcast nationwide, but if the local broadcast become available JRN will post info on how to watch. Check back Sunday night for complete results.

2010 Hyogo Relay Carnival - Top Entrants
click here for complete start lists
Men's Grand Prix 10000 m
Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 26:57.36
Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 26:59.88
John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 27:11.88
Jeilan Ibrahim (Ethiopia/Team Honda) - 27:22.19
Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 27:25.24
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 27:26.56
Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 27:41.10
Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 27:48.71
Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 27:55.17
Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:00.22

Women's Grand Prix 10000 m
Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 30:51.81
Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) - 31:23.21
Julia Mumbi (Kenya/Team Universal Entertainment) - 31:39.38
Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 31:41.90
Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 31:47.82
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 31:50.45
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:18.57
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 32:24.00
Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 33:07.67
Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - debut

Men's Grand Prix 1500 m
Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) - 3:37.42 - NR
Girma Bekele (Ethiopia/Team Honda) - 3:39.88
Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 3:40.36
Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 3:41.83
Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 3:42.51

Women's Grand Prix 1500 m
Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 4:10.00
Yukari Soh (Asahi Kasei AC) - 4:13.79
Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Universal Entertainment) - 4:17.13
Mai Ishibashi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 4:18.02
Yukari Nomura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:19.09

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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