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Silver for Kyuma, Homma and Nashimoto; Nishiike Just Outside Medals at Youth Olympics

by Brett Larner

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Despite holding PB and SB times head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in the Youth Olympics girls' 3000 m final, Moe Kyuma only managed a silver medal performance with a clocking of 9:23.70, 10 seconds behind Kenyan winner Gladys Chesir who recorded a PB of 9:13.58. Kyuma and Chesir battled from the outset, but after a 3:01.62 first km Kyuma backed off while Chesir, pursued by Eritrean Samrawit Mengisteab, continued to push on. Mengisteab lost touch within 200 m, and by 1600 m Kyuma had overtaken her for 2nd.

At 2000 m Chesir clocked 6:04.09 to Kyuma's 6:14.68. The gap widened slightly over the next 400 m, but over the final 600 m Kyuma steadily reeled Chesir back in. Only over the last 100 m did Chesir again pull away, her winning time nearly 5 seconds off Kyuma's best. With only a decent performance Kyuma easily held 2nd. Mengisteab was overtaken by Greek runner Aikaterini Berdousi and Romanian Monica Florea but outkicked them for 3rd. Although official results at this writing still list Mengisteab as the 3rd place finisher, at the medal ceremony it was reported that she had been disqualified and the bronze medal was awarded to Berdousi, who recorded a PB of 9:37.56.

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In the boys' 3000 m, Kazuto Nishiike delivered a nearly flawless performance but came up an agonizing 0.02 seconds short of the medals despite a PB of nearly 5 seconds. Ranked 4th in the field, Nishiike went out hard, running the first lap in 2nd place. Soon swallowed into the pack as the pace slowed to a 2:47.17 first km, at 1300 m he was the only runner to cover Kenyan Josphat Kiptis' sudden surge into the lead. A faster second kilometer led to a 5:32.58 split for 2000 m, with Nishiike again covering a surge by Ethiopian favorite Fekure Jebesa and Moroccan Hicham Sigueni at 2200 m.

The race slowed and bunched at 2400 m, and if there was any fault in Nishiike's run it was that he did not make an effort to take the lead at this point. Instead, he waited until the start of the final lap at 2600 m to move into the front, but within 50 m he was again swallowed by the African surge. Eventual Eritrean winner Abrar Osman's sensational kick with 250 m to go settled his gold, but as in the qualification round Nishiike had the next fastest final 200 m, coming from far behind to pull even with Jebesa and Sigueni at the line. Sigueni dove for the line and collided with Jebesa, but the move was enough to cost Nishiike a medal as the pair finished 0.04 and 0.02 second respectively ahead of the Japanese runner in a photo finish.

Although he came up short, the facts that Nishiike was only 0.04 seconds from a silver medal, ran PBs in both the qualification round and the final, and was the only non-African not to finish in the last three spots in the field show strength and future potential for this young high school runner. Kyuma may be going home with a medal, but Nishiike's run remains the superior performance.

Kyuma was not alone in picking up silver. Continuing the sprint renaissance the country has seen since Japan's 4 x 100 m bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, sprinters Masaki Nashimoto and Keisuke Homma took silver in the boys' 100 m and 200 m respectively. Nashimoto, the 2009 Asian youth champion, ran a PB of 10.51 in the 100 m, finishing 0.09 behind Jamaican Odane Skeen who likewise ran a PB. No doubt feeling some motivation from Shota Iizuka's gold in last month's World Junior Championships 200 m, Homma led through the curve but could not quite hold off China's Zhenye Xie, who won by a margin of just 0.05.

2010 Youth Olympics - Top Results
click event header for complete results
Girls' 3000 m - Final
1. Gladys Chesir (KEN) - 9:13.58 - PB
2. Moe Kyuma (JPN) - 9:23.70
3. Aikaterini Berdousi (GRE) - 9:37.56 - PB
4. Monica Florea (ROU) - 9:38.64 - PB

Boys' 3000 m - Final
1. Abrar Osman (ERI) - 8:07.24
2. Fekru Jebesa (ETH) - 8:08.53
3. Hicham Sigueni (MAR) - 8:08.55
4. Kazuto Nishiike (JPN) - 8:08.57 - PB

Boys' 200 m - Final
1. Zhenye Xie (CHN) - 21.22
2. Keisuke Homma (JPN) - 21.27
3. Patrick Domogala (GER) - 21.36
4. Brandon Sanders (USA) - 21.44

Boys' 100 m - Final
1. Odane Skeen (JAM) - 10.42 - PB
2. Masaki Nashimoto (JPN) - 10.51 - PB
3. David Bolarinwa (GBR) - 10.51
4. Tahir Walsh (ANT) - 10.71

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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