Skip to main content

Osaka Announces 2011 Elite Women's Field

by Brett Larner

On Dec. 20 the organizers of the Osaka International Women's Marathon announced the field for the 2011 edition. Celebrating the event's 30th anniversary with a new, faster course eliminating the famous hilly, twisting section through Osaka Castle and with the addition of female pacemakers, the field features a competitive cross-section of current top Japanese women and several aging overseas elites.

Osaka is the first major domestic selection race for the 2011 World Championships team. The top Japanese woman meeting Rikuren's time goals will be automatically named to the team. If the race is slow then the top domestic finisher will have to wait until mid-March for the final selection announcement. It doesn't look likely to be slow, however. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) is the favorite, coming fresh from a sub-32 road 10k in Sunday's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden in the midst of her marathon training. Akaba says she will be shooting for a fast time, not just the win, and having gone out on 2:21 pace at last year's race while injured she may well follow through. Yumiko Hara (Team Univ. Ent.) is the other major domestic favorite, with the fastest PB among the Japanese women but a major coaching change this year and several recent absences from competition following her win at August's Hokkaido Marathon. Solid 2006 Vienna Marathon winner Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya), the lone reliable marathoner in the stable of fast-debuting one-hit wonders turned out by Tenmaya head coach and Rikuren director of women's marathoning Yutaka Taketomi, is another major contender for the World Championships spot.

Among the relative newcomers in the Japanese field, watch for Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu), one of the all-around best-performing Japanese women of 2010, and Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), who had a good debut earlier this year in Nagoya, to move up and be in contention. A possible strike against Ito: Her teammate Atsushi Ikawa, who likewise had a good debut in the spring, DNF'd in his follow-up at this month's Fukuoka International Marathon.

Three of the six overseas invited elites are over age 38, including seemingly indefatigable Russians Liudmila Petrova and Svetlana Zakharova. Among the younger half of the overseas runners is Romanian Adriana Pirtea, who memorably lost the Chicago Marathon to Ethiopian Berhane Adere by celebrating her victory prematurely.

2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon
Liudmila Petrova (Russia) - 2:21:29 (London '06)
Svetlana Zakharova (Russia) - 2:21:31 (Chicago '02)
Yumiko Hara (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:23:48(Osaka '07)
Adriana Fernandez (Mexico) - 2:24:06 (London '99)
Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 2:24:33 (Vienna '06)
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:24:55 (London '10)
Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:26:09 (Osaka '08)
Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:26:11 (Hokkaido '02)
Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) - 2:27:16 (Osaka '09)
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2:27:34 (Osaka '10)
Anna Incerti (Italy) - 2:27:42 (Milan '08)
Adriana Pirtea (Romania) - 2:28:52 (London '08)
Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:29:13 (Nagoya '10)
Tetyana Holovchenko (Ukraine) - 2:31:37 (Warsaw '10)
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:32:20 (Yokohama '09)
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:33:36 (Nagoya '10)

pacemakers
Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal)
Aniko Kalovics (Hungary)
Kaori Urata (Team Tenmaya)

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
Thanks for all the great info on the Japanese runners. I was just wondering if Japanese endurance races distribute the "space blankets" for the runners after each race? I looked at tons of pictures but haven't seen any.
Brett Larner said…
At your service. I don't remember ever seeing them here, but many races have finishers' towels instead. You'll often see people being draped with them at the finish line in the race broadcasts. They're usually full-sized bath towels printed with the race name, logo and date. Much nicer than disposable mylar sheets, although if you race here enough you start to have the same problem as with race t-shirts.

Most-Read This Week

Japan's London World Championships Marathon Squad Arrives Back Home

The six members of Japan's men's and women's marathon teams at the ongoing London World Championships returned to Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Aug. 9. Decked out in the official team suit, Japanese team captain and at 9th the top-placing Japanese marathoner in London Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) spoke to the media.

Having declared pre-race his intention to withdraw from consideration for future Japanese National Team positions, post-race Kawauchi showed no change in that intent. With regard to his future plans, his motivation as a competitor likewise remaining unchanged, Kawauchi indicated that he will run Decmeber's Fukuoka International Marathon,where his 3rd-place overall finish last year earned him his place in London. "In Fukuoka I want to break my PB and run 2:07," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish besides being on the National Team."

Kawauchi revealed that his next marathon will be September's Oslo Marathon, whe…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…

London World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

Following up on its silver medal at the Rio Olympics, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay squad delivered the first Japanese medal of the London World Championships as it took bronze behind hosts Great Britain and U.S.A. Swapping in alternate Kenji Fujimitsu for ailing anchor Aska Cambridge in the final, the team featured only two starting members of the Rio lineup. Lead runner Shuhei Tada, a student at Kwansei Gakuin University who burst onto the scene in May, again proved himself the best new development in Japanese men's sprinting with a fast start. Rio members Shota Iizuka and Yoshihide Kiryu did their bits on second and third to keep Japan even with Jamaica in 3rd before Fujimitsu delivered the goods.

With bronze at the Beijing Olympics and silver in Rio last year it was Japan's first-ever World Championships men's 4x100 m relay medal. At age Fujimitsu may not make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but with Cambridge, 200 m finalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown and Rio team …