Wednesday, July 6, 2011

19th Asian Athletics Championships - Distance Preview (updated)

by Brett Larner

Update: Start lists for the first day of competition are available here.  National champion Yuki Sato is not running the 10000 m but is still entered for the 5000 m.

The 2011 Asian Athletics Championships run July 7-10 in Kobe, Hyogo, the last major competition for many of the athletes before next month's World Championships in Daegu, Korea. Much of the domestic Japanese attention will be on one of the very first events of the Asian Championships, the men's 10000 m. Two of the top three from this year's Japanese National Championships men's 10000 m, Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) are on the entry list and hunting for a World Championships qualifying mark, Ugachi to improve his 27:41.97 B-standard mark to the A level and Murasawa to at least get under 28 for the first time. The absence of a Kenyan distance squad from Qatar means that the mostly-Ethiopian team running for Bahrain will be the Japanese men's main competition, both defending champion Mahboob Ali Hasan Mahboob and Bilisuma Shugi Gelasa holding best times faster than the Japanese national record. The presence of such quality foreign competition combined with the home ground advantage means that if the weather cooperates A-standard marks may be on the way, possibly with a few records.

The women's 10000 m is comparatively weaker but features the Indian pair of Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut who impressed on the track at last year's Asian Games. With both women and Ethiopian Bahraini Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel holding PBs under 32 minutes it would likely take either a very slow, tactical race or a PB-level performance for either Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) or Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) to factor into the front of the pack.

The women's 5000 m is another story, with a competitive top group led by Japanese National Championships runner-up Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) and India's Raut. Niiya is the only woman in the field to hold a valid World Championships A-standard mark, but with Raut not far behind it could be a head-to-head race for the gold medal. Japanese 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) holds the fastest PB in the field but has been dealing with injuries for the last year and dropped out of the same race where Niiya set her PB of 15:13.12 at the end of June.

The men's 5000 m is heavily tilted in Japan's favor, with the top three from this year's National Championships, Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku), Sato, and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) taking up three of the top four places by PB. Ethiopian Alemu Bekele Gebre (Bahrain) comes in just ahead of Yoroizaka in the seedings with a 13:38.10 PB but would need a weak run from Watanabe and Sato to have a shot at winning. Seungho Baek (Korea) is an outside contender for a medal with the fifth-best PB in the field, 13:42.98.

The Asian Athletics Championships begin July 7 with the women's and men's 10000 m. Look for complete results and highlight videos on JRN.

2011 Asian Athletics Championships Entry List Highlights
Men's 10000 m
Mahboob Ali Hasan Mahboob (Bahrain) - 27:24.46
Bilisuma Shugi Gelasa (Bahrain) - 27:32.72
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 27:41.97
Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:00.78
Suresh Kumar (India) - 28:58.00
Kheta Ram (India) - 29:20.35
Serod Batochir (Mongolia) - 29:43.79
Mohammed Khazaei (Iran) - 30:25.00

Men's 5000 m
Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 13:23.15
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:23.57
Alemu Bekele Gebre (Bahrain) - 13:38.10
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 13:39.31
Seungho Baek (Korea) - 13:42.98
Dejenee Regasa Mootumaa (Bahrain) - 13:50.60

Men's 3000 mSC
Tareq Mubarak Salem Taher (Bahrain) - 8:06.13
Abubaker Ali Kamal (Qatar) - 8:15.80
Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:30.49
Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:34.96
Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8:37.05
Ramachandran Ramdas (India) - 8:42.58

Men's 1500 m
Belal Mansoor Belal Ali (Bahrian) - 3:31.49
Omar Alrasheedi (Kuwait) - 3:39.77
Mohammed Alazemi (Kuwait) - 3:40.14
Chaminda Indika Wijekoon (Sri Lanka) - 3:40.78
Hiroshi Ino (Team Fujitsu) - 3:42.83
Sang Min Sin (Korea) - 3:43.54

Women's 10000 m
Preeja Sreedharan (India) - 31:50.47
Kavita Raut (India) - 31:51
Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel (Bahrain)- 31:53.27
Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) - 32:10.46
Kareema Jasin Saleh (Bahrain) - 32:17.14
Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 32:51.61

Women's 5000 m
Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:05.37
Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:13.12
Kavita Raut (India) - 15:16.54
Tejitu Daba Chalchissa (Bahrain) - 15:29.78
Alia Mohammed Saeed (U.A.E.) - 15:30.00

Women's 3000 mSC
Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:33.93
Sudha Singh (India) - 9:55.67
Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 10:02.24
Thi Phuong Nguyen (Vietnam) - 10:02.28
Kareema Jasin Saleh (Bahrain) - 10:05.60

Women's 1500 m
Tranh Hang Trung (Vietnam) - 4:09.58
Betlhem Desalegn Blayneh) - 4:12.00
Jhuma Khatun (India) - 4:12.30
Jaisha Orchatteri Puthiyaveetil (India) - 4:13.15
Alia Mohammed Saeed (U.A.E.) - 4:14.00
Genzeb Shumi Regasa (Bahrain) - 4:14.05

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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