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Tanaka Wins 10000 m Debut, Gando Adds National Title to His Collection - National University Championships Day One

by Brett Larner



On the first day of the 2010 National University Track and Field Championships Kenyan Benjamin Gando (Nihon Univ.) added a national 10000 m title to his 10000 m win at May's Kanto Regional University Championships. With the fastest PB in the field by over 10 seconds there was little doubt that Gando would go on to exactly the type of runaway victory he scored, winning in 28:26.72 by a margin of nearly 20 seconds. It was left to teammates Akinobu Murasawa and Tsubasa Hayakawa of Tokai University and 2009 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) to battle it out in a chase pack. Despite being one of three athletes over the course of the day to stumble at the same point on the track, possibly due to an obstruction which meet officials were examining immediately after the men's 10000 m, Murasawa took the runner-up spot with Hayakawa 3rd. Tanzanian Jackson Kwarai (Nara Sangyo Univ.) shook things up by overtaking Hiraga for 4th, the only runner from outside the Tokyo-centric Kanto region to make the top 15.



In the women's 10000 m the withdrawal of top-ranked Aki Odagiri (Meijo Univ.) meant that it should have been an easy win for 2008 national university 10000 m champion Michi Numata (Ritsumeikan Univ.), the only woman in the field with a PB under 33 minutes. The race went out roughly on pace for a 33:20 and Numata was content to sit in the front pack, taking the lead at times but never trying to press her competitors and apparently planning to save it for the last kilometer. The lead pack eventually whittled down to Numata, third-ranked Maria Yano (Matsuyama Univ.) and, in their 10000 m debuts, 15:40 5000 m runner Shiho Takechi (Bukkyo Univ.) and Numata's teammate Hanae Tanaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.). Tanaka stole the show with a stunning surge from 300 m out to win in 33:17.52 by a margin of nearly 5 seconds. Yano, coached by Keiichi Murai, the coach and husband of marathon great Reiko Tosa, likewise had a solid kick for 2nd. Takechi and Numata battled to the line with Takechi prevailing over the former champion for 3rd. A victim of her own underestimation of the competition, Numata had to be content with 4th as another teammate, Machiko Iwakawa (Ritsumeikan Univ.) rounded out the top 5.

2010 Japanese National University T&F Championships - Top Results
Men's 10000 m
1. Benjamin Gando (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:26.72
2. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:45.16
3. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:57.72
4. Jackson Kwarai (Tanzania/Nara Sangyo Univ.) - 28:59.96 - PB
5. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 29:00.15
6. Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) - 29:22.83
7. Dai Nakahara (Josai Univ.) - 29:44.96
8. Masaki Ito (Kokushikan Univ.) - 29:47.63
9. Takuya Noguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 29:55.47
10. Takuya Tanino (Nittai Univ.) - 30:06.24

Women's 10000 m
1. Hanae Tanaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:17.52 - debut
2. Maria Yano (Matsuyama Univ.) - 33:22.08
3. Shiho Takechi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:22.36 - debut
4. Michi Numata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:22.40
5. Machiko Iwakawa (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:28.23
6. Natsumi Katsutani (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:30.95
7. Nanami Matsuura (Kagoshima Sports Univ.) - 33:50.44
8. Rika Kawashima (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:56.60
9. Emi Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 34:08.92
10. Mizuki Utsumi (Matsuyama Univ.) - 34:22.33

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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