Skip to main content

Gebrselassie Gives Words of Support to Kawauchi

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/120228/spg1202280505000-n1.htm
http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/track/news/20120227spn00m050018000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo by Dr. Helmut Winter


Pre-race and pre-haircut.

A day after the Tokyo Marathon Olympic selection race, pre-race favorites Arata Fujiwara (30, Tokyo T&F Assoc.) and Yuki Kawauchi (24, Saitama Pref.) were on opposite sides of the fence after finishing 2nd and 14th.  While Fujiwara celebrated securing his Olympic ticket, Kawauchi appeared at a post-race ceremony at his high school with a "penitent" shaven head, a sign of how seriously he has let go of his hopes of making the London Olympic team.  "I was unable to produce results and I want to apologize to everyone who has supported me," he said.  "My shot at the Olympics is over.  With this result I do not expect to be selected.  I have no regrets about it."

The same day, former world record holder Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) made an appearance as a "coach" at an Adidas-sponsored program at a Tokyo-area school after finishing 4th in the Tokyo Marathon.  When a journalist showed him a picture of the bald-headed Kawauchi, Gebrselassie gave a shout of surprise and shock.  Hearing of Kawauchi's words of despondency Gebrselassie sent him his personal encouragement, saying, "You cannot give up.  If today was a bad day then you must look to tomorrow, and then to think of next year.  There is no other choice."

Although he has given up on his Olympic dream, the truth of the stimulus this full-time working amateur has provided to the Japanese men's marathon world remains unshaken.  "If other Japanese athletes make us all proud and run 2:06 or 2:07 to make the Olympic team then maybe my being here meant something," he said.  In the wake of Tokyo he plans to run the April 29 Metro Group Dusseldorf Marathon, where German Olympic hopefuls and Kenyans will also be lining up.  "This time I want to run in the lead pack and then show all the Germans and Kenyans the strength of the Japanese," he said.  For Kawauchi's competitive spirit, there is no finish line.

photo (c) 2012 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …