by Brett Larner
Japan's fall track season is well underway, a transition period designed to sharpen the summer base as the focus shifts to the ekiden season. The Monday, Oct. 11 national holiday saw two major track meets alongside the Izumo Ekiden.
The Niigata Big Athletics Festa focused on 10000 m for the distance runners. Former Sendai Ikuei H.S. standout Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) led the way with a 27:50.64 to move into the 2010 worldwide top 30. In second came Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) in a PB of 28:07.99, just clearing the 2011 World Championships B-standard. The women's 10000 m added two more Japanese women to the 2010 worldwide top 30, with veteran Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) clearing the World Championships A-standard in 31:44.93 and Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) the B-standard in 31:53.22.
In other Niigata events, Miwa Yokoyama (Niigata Meikun H.S.) broke the prefectural high school girls' 5000 m record with a solo 15:58.81, winning by over a minute. Steepler Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) ran the fastest Japanese men's time of the year, 8:30.49 in a 5-second PB. Men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota was just 0.02 off his own record, winning in 1:46.18. Second placer Takanori Matsumoto (SDF Academy) was also under 1:47 and the top four all broke 1:48, the first time this has ever happened in a domestic Japanese 800 m.
Across the country at the Chubu Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships, Kenyan Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) set a meet record of 13:37.07 in the men's 5000 m. Sugihara's teammate, Ethiopian ace Betelhem Moges (Team Denso),had an easy win in the women's 3000 m, winning in 9:03.43 by a margin of nearly 45 seconds. Meet records also came in the women's 100 m, men's 110 mH, men's and women's triple jump and men's discus.
For complete Niigata Big Athletics Festa results, click here.
For complete Chubu Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships results, click here.
(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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