translated and edited by Brett Larner
On Nov. 8 the organizers of the 2011 International Chiba Ekiden held a press conference to announced the teams for the Nov. 23 event. Teams from ten countries including Japan, Kenya and the United States will face off against the defending champion Japanese University Select Team and a team made up of top runners from hosts Chiba Prefecture over the six-stage, 42.195 km race. Each team includes three men and three women who will alternate stages in handing off the tasuki.
Finishing 3rd last year, the Japanese team features men Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B), Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) and women Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), Hitomi Niiya (Sakura AC), Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) and Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku). Aiming to defend last year's title, the University team includes Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) and Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.).
Kobayashi, the 1500 m national record holder, told reporters, "I couldn't run as well as I wanted during track season, so I want to do something big here and ride that momentum into next year. I don't want to lose again this time." Yoroizaka agreed, saying, "I'll be running against a lot of university guys I know well, so we can't lose." His rival University Select Team rival Osako firmly countered, "We're going for the win."
Translator's note: The 2011 International Chiba Ekiden will be broadcast live beginning at 1:00 p.m. Japan time on Nov. 23. Overseas viewers should be able to watch online for free via Keyhole TV, available here.
2011 International Chiba Ekiden Field
12 teams, six stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete entry lists
Teams and Member Highlights
Australia - Georgie Clarke, Lisa Corrigan
Canada - Taylor Milne, Dayna Pidhoresky
Chiba Pref. - Yusuke Sato
Czech Republic - Jan Kreisinger
Japan - Kensuke Takezawa, Yuichiro Ueno, Tetsuya Yoroizaka, Yuriko Kobayashi, Hitomi Niiya, Kasumi Nishihara
Japanese Univ. Select Team - Takehiro Deki, Suguru Osako, Risa Takenaka, Hikari Yoshimoto
Kenya - Thomas Longosiwa, Patrick Mwikya, Janeth Kisa
New Zealand - Matthew Smith, Lisa Robertson
Poland - Michal Kazamarek, Lidia Chojecka
Romania - Marius Ionescu
Russia - Anatoly and Evgeny Rybakov, Elena Korobkina, Natalia Popkova, Elizaveta Grechishnikova, Elena Zahorozhnaya
U.S.A. - Robert Chesert, Christo Landry, Bobby Mack, Josh Moen, Emily Brown, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom