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Nishihara With Another Big Win at National Sports Festival 5000 m

by Brett Larner

2011 national corporate 10000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) continued her unbeaten streak in her first year on the pro circuit, winning the National Sports Festival senior women's 5000 m Oct. 7 in Yamaguchi.  Nishihara ran in a tight pack that included collegiate 10000 m national record holder and former teammate Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) and Japan's top woman at the Daegu World Championships 5000 m, Hitomi Niiya (Sakura AC) before surging away in the last km to take the win in a new PB of 15:23.80.  Also continuing a strong season, Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) outran the rest of the pack for 2nd in 15:29.69, with Yoshimoto 3rd in 15:30.94.

The junior men's 5000 m was a closer race, the top four finishing within roughly three seconds of each other with a gap of ten seconds over the rest of the field.  Ken Yokote (Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) took the win in 14:04.49 over three members of top-ranked high schools, Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.), Yuta Katsumata (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) and Shun Morozumi (Saku Chosei H.S.), the son of former Saku Chosei H.S. and current Tokai Univ. head coach Hayashi Morozumi.

The athletics program at the National Sports Festival continues through Oct. 11.  The next distance events take place on the Oct. 10 National Sports Day holiday with the junior women's 3000 m heats.

2011 National Sports Festival
Yamaguchi, 10/7/11
click here for complete results

Senior Women's 5000 m
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:23.80 - PB
2. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 15:29.69 - PB
3. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:30.94
4. Hitomi Niiya (Sakura AC) - 15:32.92
5. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:33.54
6. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.)  15:35.54
7. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 15:40.60
8. Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:44.31
9. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 15:52.16
10. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex ) - 15:58.00

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Ken Yokote (Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) - 14:04.49
2. Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 14:05.56
3. Yuta Katsumata (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:06.43
4. Shun Morozumi (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 14:07.62
5. Kaoru Hirosue (Kobayashi H.S.) - 14:17.13

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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