translated by Brett Larner
Rikuren, the Japanese athletics federation, announced on Mar. 4 that it will disband its Long Distance and Road Racing Special Committee at the end of this month. The committee was established following the 2008 Beijing Olympics and tasked with strengthening the state of Japanese marathoning, but with no improvement in results it has been deemed ineffective. From April, long distance and marathoning will be grouped together with the overall track and field strengthening program headed by Susumu Takano in the leadup to the London Olympics. The budget for marathoning and distance running will also be bundled together with the overall track and field budget, allowing greater flexibility in allocating resources.
The Long Distance and Road Racing Special Committee was headed by director Keisuke Sawaki, but apart from the silver medal won by Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) in the women's marathon at the 2009 World Championships it produced insufficient results. The consensus opinion from within Rikuren was that the organization should return to its pre-Beijing form and focus upon improving training methods rather than upon organizational hierarchies.