Saturday, September 10, 2011

Osako, Murayama Win National University 1500 m and 5000 m

by Brett Larner



At the 2011 Japanese National University Track & Field Championships in Kumamoto, Waseda University sophomore Suguru Osako added further evidence to back up the argument that he is Japan's best all-around university distance runner.  Consider everything he has done in the last 10 months:
  • An Asian junior area record 1:01:47 in his half marathon debut to win last November's Ageo City Half Marathon with the largest-ever margin of victory at the world's deepest half marathon
  • A solo 1:02:23 win with another commanding margin of victory on the 21.4 km First Stage at January's Hakone Ekiden, equivalent to a 1:01:31 half marathon
  • A 13:31.27 PB for 5000 m in May, the fastest in several years by a Japanese university runner
  • A 10000 m gold medal at last month's World University Games
At the National University Championships he ran a PB 3:45.06 to win the 1500 m national title over teammate and 1500 m specialist Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.), giving Osako dominant performances at everything from 1500 m to half marathon.  All that is missing is a strong 10000 m PB run to match the marks set this season by Tetsuya Yoroizaka (27:44.30, Meiji Univ.) and Osako's former Saku Chosei H.S. teammate Akinobu Murasawa (28:00.78, Tokai Univ.), but that can't be far away.



With the fastest 5000 m PB in the field by a considerable margin Osako was also the favorite in the 5000 m, but his wins in both the heats and final of the 1500 m caught up to him as he was outrun by two first-years, Komazawa University's Kenta Murayama and the Stephen Mayaka-coached Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.).  Murayama, who ran the all-time 3rd best Japanese high schooler 10000 m time of 28:23.18 in December, won out in a four-way sprint finish against Onsarigo, Osako and teammate Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.), clocking 13:54.00 to Onsarigo's 13:54.76.  Osako took 3rd a few steps back in 13:55.22.  Murayama's win was a landmark performance, the first time in 35 years that a Japanese first-year has won the Nationals 5000 m.  The last runner to achieve the feat?  The legendary Toshihiko Seko (Waseda Univ.).



In the women's 1500 m, Akane Yabushita of once-dominant Ritsumeikan University picked up her school's only national title of these championships, winning in 4:17.35 by more than one second over Chikako Mori of Daito Bunka University.  Yabushita's superb teammate Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) was the favorite in the 5000 m, but she lost out in a one-on-one match race against Nagoya University ace Ayuko Suzuki.  Suzuki had an excellent kick over the last lap to take Takenaka down, 15:44.02 to 15:44.88.  Chinami Mori of defending national champion Bukkyo University was 11 seconds back in 3rd, meaning Bukkyo's distance squad came up empty-ended at this year's championships.

2011 National University Track & Field Championships
Kumamoto, 9/9-11/11
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m
1. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:54.00
2. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 13:54.76
3. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 13:55.22
4. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:56.62
5. Hideyuki Tanaka (Juntendo Univ.) - 14:02.65

Women's 5000 m
1. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 15:44.02
2. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:44.88
3. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:55.35
4. Mai Ishibashi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:05.12
5. Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 16:05.44

Men's 1500 m
1. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 3:45.06
2. Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.) - 3:45.17
3. Toshihiro Kenmotsu (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 3:46.91
4. Keisuke Hirata (Josai Univ.) - 3:47.70
5. Ryota Matono (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:49.09

Women's 1500 m
1. Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:17.35
2. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:18.70
3. Haruka Mochizuki (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:20.72
4. Satoe Kikuchi (Matsuyama Univ.) - 4:21.40
5. Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) - 4:22.02

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ayuko Suzuki is not a member of Meijo University.
She is a student at Nagoya University.

Brett Larner said...

Whoops, right you are. Wrong expansion from the 名大given in the results. Thanks for catching that.