translated and edited by Brett Larner
Following a stage win to lead Team Asahi Kasei to a course record win at the Nov. 23 Kyushu Corporate Ekiden Championships, Daegu World Championships marathoner Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) announced that he has committed to run March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, the final domestic selection race for the Japanese men's marathon team for next year's London Olympic Games. Horibata was the top Japanese finisher in Daegu, a strong 7th place overall, but, he said, "Right now my chances [of making the Olympic team off that performance] are pretty slim. I've got to be active in getting my spot."
Also on Nov. 23, Nihon University ace sophomore Hirotaka Tamura, 19, revealed that he will be shooting for a place on the Olympic marathon team at Lake Biwa. Tamura, winner of this year's Kanto Regional University T&F Championships half-marathon, made the announcement after winning the 10000 m selection race for the Hakone Ekiden Kanto Regional University Select Team on the 23rd at Tokyo's National Stadium, clocking 28:51.33. At last month's Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Nihon University failed to make the Hakone cut for only the fourth time in 86 runnings, leaving Tamura to shoot for an individual spot on the Select Team.
This month Nihon returned to place well at the National University Ekiden Championships, with Tamura winning the competitive First Stage. He told reporters that he hopes to run and win the First Stage at Hakone as well, then announced that to help alleviate the shame of Nihon's Hakone failure he will be trying for a place on the London Olympic team by making his marathon debut at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. "Coach Tsugumichi Suzuki said we university runners should be aiming for the Olympics too," said Tamura. "I want to answer that challenge."
Translator's note: Suzuki ran the 10000 m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics at age 22 just after graduating from Nihon Univ. He coached 1992 Barcelona Olympic marathoner Yumi Kokamo and 1993 Stuttgart World Championships marathon gold medalist Junko Asari.