Skip to main content

Kawauchi, 14th in 2:12:51: "I Do Not Think I Will be Picked" for Olympics; Shaves Head

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/120226/oth12022616510012-n1.htm
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120227-909730.html

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


His head lolling, just before 24 km Yuki Kawauchi (24, Saitama Pref.) fell back from the second pack at the Feb. 26 Tokyo Marathon.  At the Fukuoka International Marathon he dynamically closed a gap of 23 seconds at 30 km to finish 3rd, but in Tokyo he didn't have enough energy even to make up the distance once he fell behind.  "I'm disappointed in myself that I let my confidence get shaken by not being able to get my drink bottles at 5 km and 10 km," he said after the race.  "Maybe it was a lack of preparation, or a lack of experience.....It was disgraceful."  Having run well in Fukuoka as a practice run, Kawauchi chose to run a second Olympic selection race expecting to do even better, but his Olympic quest has now ended in a disastrous defeat.

At last year's Tokyo Marathon Kawauchi qualified for the Daegu World Championships after running 2:08:37.  Ever since then the 24 year-old government worker has been surrounded by a whirlwind of attention.  He has been constantly approached by journalists, and whenever he goes to do his regular weekend training runs in Komazawa Park the cameras are clicking all around him as he runs.  "If you can't take the pressure then you'll never become a strong athlete," he said, accepting this part of celebrity as a chance for growth.

Kawauchi went into Tokyo without the slightest intention of trying to get into the Olympics just by being the first Japanese man across the line.  He did not view a time like his 2:09:57 from Fukuoka as even close to being competitive with the world's best and made it perfectly clear before Tokyo that he intended to go for a 2:07.  His position as a candidate for the Olympic team on the basis of his Fukuoka result remains unchanged, but Kawauchi is not holding on to any thought of running in the Olympics.  "If you're not good enough to be internationally competitive then you don't need to go to the Olympics," he said.  "I tried, and it's over.  Selection is based on results, and I do not think I will be picked."  Having followed his own vision and failed, even in defeat the strength of Kawauchi's character and sportsmanship shine through.

Following the race Kawauchi shaved his head in atonement for his performance.  "I felt that I had to give everyone who supported me a sign of my remorse," he said.  "It's better that my shame be exposed for everyone to see."  Click here for photos.

Comments

JY said…
Shock!!
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120227-909730.html

Most-Read This Week

60-Year-Old Hiromi Nakata Wins Tottori Marathon Overall Women's Race

The Tottori Marathon held its 12th running on March 10. In light rain and 11˚C temperatures 3717 people ran Tottori's one-way course that passes local historic sites such as the Tottori Sand Dunes and the Tottori Castle ruins. Running 3:12:44 for the overall women's win was 60-year-old Hiromi Nakata.
"I was as surprised as anyone that I won," said Tanaka. "I had to stop at the toilets early on and lost some time, but I tried using the double inhale, double exhale breathing method that the actor Kankuro Nakamura uses on the Idaten TV show and got into a good rhythm. Thanks to that I could just keep going and going. I had no idea I was in 1st, and when they put up the finish tape as I was coming in I thought, 'No way!'""
Nakata is a resident of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. In 2017 she ran the fastest time of the year in Japan by a 58-year-old, 3:05:02. In the mornings she does housework and works in her garden for an hour, fitting in 30 to 60-minute run…

Meet Ken Nakayama

Chuo University fourth-year Ken Nakayama is running Sunday's United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, the eighth year that the New York Road Runners have invited top Japanese university men from November's Ageo City Half Marathon to run their half. You might have seen his training partner Kensuke Horio finish 5th in the Tokyo Marathon in his debut a couple of weeks ago. Nakayama is one of the very top graduating seniors in Japan this year, but his route to that level has been one of the most unconventional.

Japanese distance running is highly systematically organized, with top high schools feeding into top universities where the best runners will run the Hakone Ekiden and get recruited to top corporate teams and then go on to become the country's top marathoners. Scouting at the university level is intense, and for the most part it's pretty clear early on in high school who the cream of the crop are going to be.

Nakayama was nobody in high school. He played soccer in junior…

The 2020 Olympic Trials Qualifiers and the New Olympic Standards

Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon and Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon pretty much wrapped up qualification for the Sept. 15 MGC Race, Japan's new 2020 Olympic trials in the marathon. There's still a chance for people who haven't qualified yet to get in if they can clear the wildcard standards, 2:24:00 or a two-race 2:28:00 average for women and 2:08:30 or a 2:11:00 average for men, by the end of April. At least two men with good chances of making it, Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) and Asuka Tanaka (Hiramatsu Byoin), are planning to race again in April to try to go that route, and there will probably be others. But realistically the numbers of qualifiers probably won't change too much from what they are now.

As of the end of Sunday's races, 14 women and 30 men have qualified. On the women's side, the Tenmaya corporate team, the most successful at putting women on national teams in the marathon, has produced the most qualifiers with three, Honami Maeda, Mizuki …