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Kawauchi Returns to Action - Nittaidai Time Trials Entry Lists

by Brett Larner

The 2011 Nittai University Time Trials series gets underway next weekend in Yokohama. A tuneup event for other track meets on Japan's spring calendar, the 214th edition of Nittai sees the return to action of Japan's current #1 marathoner, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.). The amateur who made worldwide news with a moving 2:08:37 3rd-place finish at February's Tokyo Marathon, Kawauchi comes to Nittai fresh from having been named to Japan's 2011 World Championships marathon team as its #1 man. Entered in both Saturday's 10000 m A-heat and Sunday's 5000 m A-heat it's unlikely he will run both, but whichever distance he chooses it is safe to say that everyone will be watching Kawauchi.

This early in the season most distance men are focusing on 5000 m, and as a result the 5000 m A-heat features a larger number of noteworthy names. Among them are Japan's top man at last month's World XC Championships, Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.), 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda), Kenyans Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu), Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), Ibrahim Mukunga (Team Fujitsu) and Joseph Onsarigo (Sozo Gakuen Univ.), the latter two in their Japanese debuts, and three members of 2011 Hakone Ekiden winners Waseda University, Shota Hiraga, Fuminori Shikata and Yuki Yagi.

Leading the 10000 m A-heat is 2010 Kanto Regional University 10000 m champion Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.). The women's fields are relatively weaker than the men's and are split between 3000 m, 5000 m and 10000 m. Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo has most of its lineup entered in the 5000 m A-heat, led by 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui.

214th Nittai University Time Trials Entry List Highlights

Men's 5000 m Heat 24
Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda)
Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu)
Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.)
Ibrahim Mukunga (Kenya/Team Fujitsu)
Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.)
Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.)
Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.)
Fuminori Shikata (Waseda Univ.)
Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B)
Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.)
Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.)

Men's 5000 m Heat 23
Asefa Fekele (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo)
Takeshi Horiguchi (Team Honda)
Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo)
Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo)
Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku)
Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.)
Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota)
Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota)

Women's 5000 m Heat 16
Risa Nakamura (Team Hitachi)
Chisato Osaki (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo)
Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo)
Ikuyo Yamashita (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo)

Women's 3000 m Heat 3
Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex)
Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku)
Yukina Saijo (Team Sekisui Kagaku)
Murugi Wainaina (Kenya/Toyokawa H.S.)

Men's 10000 m Heat 5
Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.)
Soji Ikeda (Team Yakult)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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