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Ozaki, Onishi, Kizaki Crack World Half Top 10 as Women Take 5th-Straight Bronze

by Brett Larner

2009 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) and 2010 National Corporate 10000 m champion Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) led the way for the Japanese women to secure their fifth-straight bronze medal at the Oct. 16 World Half Marathon Championships in Nanning, China. In a relatively slow race, Ozaki and Kizaki ran together with Chinese rival Xiolin Zhu in a second pack behind the exclusively Kenyan and Ethiopian lead group. While winner Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) ran 1:08:24 to win by a margin of 10 seconds over Ethiopian Dire Tune, Zhu, Ozaki and Kizaki finished over a span of only two seconds with Zhu taking 8th in 1:11:01. Ozaki's teammate Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei), a former pro XC skiier, rounded out the scoring for the Japanese women with a 13th-place finish in 1:11:35.

Fresh from running the top 10000 m time of the year by a Japanese man, 27:50.72, former Toyo University captain Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) delivered another big PB run with a 1:01:31 for 9th, again the fastest time of the year by a Japanese man. First-year pro and former Komazawa University ace Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) was close behind with a large PB of his own, 1:01:49 for 12th. Much-respected Hakone Ekiden 'Mountain God' Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), a past training partner of Chicago Marathon winner Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya), was Japan's third scorer in 1:03:28, his best of the year. The Japanese men finished 4th in the team scoring but impressively were only 1:22 behind the bronze medal-winning Ethiopian team. With this performance Onishi looks set to become one of the leaders of the current crop of under-25 Japanese men.

2010 World Half Marathon - Top Results
click here for complete results
Women
1. Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:08:24
2. Dire Tune (Ethiopia) - 1:08:34
3. Peninah Arusei (Kenya) - 1:09:05
4. Feyse Tadese (Ethiopia) - 1:09:28 - PB
5. Joyce Chepkirui (Kenya) - 1:09:30 - PB
6. Meseret Mengistu (Ethiopia) -1:09:31 - PB
7. Fate Tola (Ethiopia) - 1:09:38 - PB
8. Xiaolin Zhu (China) - 1:11:01
9. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:11:02
10. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 1:11:03
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13. Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:11:35
15. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:11:40
29. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:14:56

Men
1. Wilson Kiprop (Kenya) - 1:00:07
2. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 1:00:11
3. Sammy Kitwara (Kenya) - 1:00:22
4. Silas Kipruto (Kenya) - 1:01:03
5. Samuel Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 1:01:13
6. Titus Masai (Kenya) - 1:01:24
7. Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) - 1:01:28
8. Birhanu Bekele (Ethiopia) - 1:01:28 - PB
9. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) 1:01:31 - PB
10. Moses Mosop (Kenya) - 1:01:31
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12. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:01:49 - PB
21. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:28
31. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:04:49
65. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 1:13:28

Team Results
Women
1. Kenya - 3:26.59
2. Ethiopia - 3:27:33
3. Japan - 3:33:40

Men
1. Kenya - 3:01.32
2. Eritrea - 3:03:04
3. Ethiopia - 3:05:26
4. Japan - 3:06:48

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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