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Kinukawa Takes a Major Win at East Japan Corporate Championships, Gives Credit to Wanjiru

by Brett Larner

The corporate regional spring track championships wrapped up this weekend with the East Japan Jitsugyodan T&F Championships in hot, humid and windy Kumagaya, Saitama. The big news at the meet came in the women's 5000 m, where 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) emerged from nearly four years of illness and injury to take her first competitive win in memory, running 15:37.50 to beat Kenyan Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) and World Championships marathon team leader Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei). Although still short of a World Championships B-standard, Kinukawa's run was her first time under 15:40 in almost four years and a large step in the right direction ahead of next month's National T&F Championships. After the race Kinukawa, who was a star at Sendai Ikuei H.S. at the same time as the late Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya), told journalist Tatsuo Terada, "I didn't think I was ready to run like this. It's been three or four years of darkness, but I think Samuel was there to give me some of his strength. I'd say the doorway to a comeback opened up about 1 cm. I don't want it to swing back shut, so I'll just keep pushing it open."

Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) was strong in the women's 10000 m with a PB of 32:34.00 for the win over the pro debut of university star Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) who was 2nd in 32:50.55. National record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) was 8th in 33:46.70, while marathoner Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) was 11th in 34:00.41.

Apart from Kinukawa and Shoi, Japan-based Africans swept the distance events at the championships. The most interesting race came in the men's 5000 m, where 2008 world jr. XC champion and 2006 world jr. 10000 m champion Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia/Team Honda) had a narrow win over 2010 and 2008 double world jr. 3000 mSC champion Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable), 13:25.71 to 13:27.76. Ndiku did chalk up one win, taking the 1500 m in 3:42.28. Long-distance man Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) took 3rd in the 1500 m in a new PB of 3:44.80, afterwards expressing satisfaction as he looks toward the 5000 m for his first World Championships team.


Japanese 10000 m all-comers record holder Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) had a win in the men's 10000 m, 27:39.21 over past Kenyan XC champion Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin). Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) rounded out the weekend's results with a successful double in the women's 1500 m and 3000 m.

East Japan Jitsugyodan T&F Championships
Kumagaya, Saitama, 5/21-22/11
Women's 10000 m
1. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 32:34.00 - PB
2. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 32:50.55
3. Misaki Katsumata (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:51.92

Men's 10000 m
1. Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 27:39.21
2. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:41.32
3. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 27:51.13

Women's 5000 m
1. Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) - 15:37.50
2. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:39.95
3. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:40.67

Men's 5000 m
1. Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia/Team Honda) - 13:25.71
2. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 13:27.56
3. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:34.68

Women's 3000 m
1. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 9:11.97
2. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:21.21
3. Machi Tanaka (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:24.33

Women's 1500 m
1. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 4:24.69
2. Eri Watanabe (Team Panasonic) - 4:26.31
3. Michiko Suguro (Team Shiseido) - 4:26.80

Men's 1500 m
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 3:42.28
2. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 3:44.66
3. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 3:44.80 - PB

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

yuza said…
Go Kinukawa!

Noguchi, almost back in shape and now maybe even Kinukawa; this is good news.

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