Skip to main content

World Univ. Games 10000 m Champ Osako Leads 1500 m Heat - National Univ. Track & Field Championships Day One

by Brett Larner

The 2011 Japanese National University Track & Field Championships kicked off Sept. 9 in Kumamoto.  2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist and Asian junior half marathon area record holder Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) bypassed the 10000 m for the 1500 m, winning his heat to advance to the final.  His teammate Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.) likewise won the faster second heat where the top four all beat Osako's time of 3:51.39, making for an interesting final on tap later this weekend.  After running 13:31.27 earlier this season, the best time in several years by a Japanese university runner, sophomore Osako is also the favorite in tomorrow's 5000 m where he is on the start list.

The women's 1500 m heats saw a mix of familiar faces and newcomers advancing to the finals, top-ranked women Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.), Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) and Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) all advancing through the competitive third heat with relative unknowns Yasuka Ueno (Tsukuba Univ.) and Haruka Mochizuki (Juntendo Univ.) taking the other two heats.  High school star Mahiro Akamatsu (Tsukuba Univ.) continued to struggle to make the transition to university running as she finished only 7th in her heat and failed to advance.

The men's 10000 m seemed fairly straight-up on the surface, Kenyans Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.), Joseph Onsarigo (Sozo Gakuen Univ.) and John Maina (Takushoku Univ.) taking things out.  What made the race different was that the only Japanese runner to hang in with them hailed from Western Japan, Fukuoka University's Takuro Nakanishi.  East Japan's Kanto Region is the world's highest-level university men's distance system, the home of the Hakone Ekiden, and it is rare to see a quality Japanese runner go to school outside Kanto.  Nevertheless, Nakanishi hung tough to finish 3rd behind defending national champion Gandu and first-year Onsarigo, holding off fast-closing Kanto-based Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) by just over one second.

In the women's 10000 m, collegiate national record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) took the race out at 3:10/km pace after having run the 10000 m at the Daegu World Championships.  Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) was the only runner to consistently stay with Yoshimoto, Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sangyo) falling a short distance back after initially running with the lead pair.  Yoshimoto briefly pulled into the lead but faded by 7000 m and was run down by first Oka and then Kushima.  Oka took her first national title as the only runner in the field to break 33 minutes, crossing the line in 32:45.65.  Kushima was a long distance back in 2nd in 33:09.95, with Yoshimoto fainting after finishing 3rd in 33:26.67.

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

Men's 10000 m Final
1. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:45.74
2. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 29:05.46
3. Takuro Nakanishi (Fukuoka Univ.) - 29:23.99
4. Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) - 29:25.07
5. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 29:29.45
6. Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.) - 29:33.57
7. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 29:35.42
8. Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:38.88
9. Kazuki Noda (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 29:44.32
10. Takamitsu Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) - 29:45.43
DNF - John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.)

Women's 10000 m Final
1. Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 32:45.65
2. Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:09.95
3. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:26.67
4. Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) - 33:33.22
5. Nanami Matsuura (Kanoya Taiku Univ.) - 33:33.82
6. Narumi Shirataki (Nihon Univ.) - 33:34.69
7. Rina Inetsu (Meijo Univ.) - 33:34.97
8. Natsumi Fujiwara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 33:36.73
9. Saori Kitamura (Juntendo Univ.) - 33:40.30
10. Ai Furokubo (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:45.34

Men's 1500 m 
Heat 1
1. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 3:51.39 - Q
2. Toshiki Imazaki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 3:51.69 - Q
3. Fumiya Tanji (Tsukuba Univ.) - 3:51.70 - Q
4. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 3:51.80 - Q
5. Toshiyuki Koyama (Kyoto Univ.) - 3:51.94 - q
6. Daiki Sakaniwa (Keio Univ.) - 3:52.02 - q

Heat 2
1. Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.) - 3:50.35 - Q
2. Toshihiro Kenmotsu (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 3:50.51 - Q
3. Ryota Matono (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:51.02 - Q
4. Keisuke Hirata (Josai Univ.) - 3:51.18 - Q
5. Ryo Iketani (Kanoya Taiku Univ.) - 3:51.55 - q
6. Yusuke Umeki (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 3:52.00 - q

Women's 1500 m
Heat 1
1. Yasuka Ueno (Tsukuba Univ.) - 4:26.22 - Q
2. Izumi Minemura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:28.17 - Q
3. Riho Konishi (Kansai Univ.) - 4:28.34 - Q

Heat 2
1. Haruka Mochizuki (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:24.20 - Q
2. Satoe Kikuchi (Matsuyama Univ.) - 4:24.22 - Q
3. Mayuko Nakamura (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) - 4:25.64 - Q
4. Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:26.00 - q
5. Rina Hidaki (Fukuoka Univ.) - 4:27.71 - q

Heat 3
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:26.89 - Q
2. Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:27.15 - Q
3. Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) - 4:27.98 - Q
4. Miyuki Mandai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:28.98 - q

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Chebii Returns - Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) returns to lead the field for the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. Chebii is one of three men in the field with recent 2:06 times, his 2:06:07 in Amsterdam two years ago leading Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) to form a clear trio of favorites.

Making up the second pack are four current sub-2:10 Japanese men, 2017 Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei), and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama. The addition of sub-61 half marathoner Kenta Murayama in his second shot at the marathon after a failed debut in Tokyo two years ago makes for a formidable quartet of men from 2017 and 2018 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei all aligned in training and talent.

With Japan's depth it's never surprising to see a relatively anonymous runner make a breakthrough and factor into the action. Yoshiki Takenouchi (NTT Nishi Nihon) was one of the …

Yamazaki, Ndirangu, Kamulu and Shitara Top Weekend Road Racing Action

Snow and cold impacted road races across Japan over the weekend, but at the top level almost every event went off as planned. In his marathon debut, Shota Yamazaki (Yakult) downed two-time defending champ Ryoichi Matsuo and debuting training partner Takumi Honda of the locally-based New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei corporate team to take the top spot at the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon in a three-way sprint finish.

Shaking off first-timer Keisuke Tanaka (Fujitsu) late in the race, Yamazaki did all the work in the lead trio with the Asahi Kasei duo hanging off both of his shoulders. Hitting a bridge with 750 m to go Honda surged into the lead with Matsuo following. Yamazaki fell back, looking behind him with 500 m to go and seeming to have settled for 3rd. At 400 m to go Matsuo went to the front and looked to be on track to become only the second man to win Nobeoka three times, but as the pair rounded the final corner Yamazaki came back with a kick that left both his riv…

In Memory of Ken Young

I'm very saddened to hear of the passing of Ken Young, founder of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians. If you're not familiar with Ken or the ARRS, Amby Burfoot's 2016 piece on him in Runners World, The Endless Toil of the Big Data Guy, says everything you need to know. Back in the early days of JRN, Ken was one of several industry people to contact me after I published JRN's first hit article, 397 Under 70 Minutes: The 20th Ageo City Half Marathon. He wanted verification of the results and, seemingly having missed Ageo before, asked me to research its history and past results.

That soon led to me transliterating results from Japanese road, track and cross-country races for him on a weekly basis, results otherwise unavailable to the outside world except for some already covered by Japanese contributors Ken Nakamura and Shigenobu Ota. For the last 10 years I've spent about 10 hours on average every Sunday night and Monday morning, sometimes Tuesday, someti…