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

Ichiyama and Kirui Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

Last year's winners Betsy Saina and Edward Waweru, both of Kenya, return to the Feb. 3 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, but in both cases they have tough competition. Ranked #1 in the women's race is Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) with a 1:09:14, 3 seconds better than Saina's winning time last year. 3 seconds slower is Sinead Diver (Australia) with a 1:09:20 on home ground last year. Sara Hall (U.S.A.) isn't far behind, and with track star Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) making her debut off a brilliant run at last weekend's National Women's Ekiden it should be a solid pack up front.

In the men's race, 2017 marathon world champion Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) leads the way, his best recent time a 1:00:04 in New Delhi two years ago. Only 2 seconds behind is Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya), with Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) and the Japan-based Waweru just over 20 seconds back. Waweru's condition is a question mark after an injury at the New Year Ekiden. Kenta Murayama (Asah…

Nissin Shokuhin to Eliminate All Athletes Except Sato and Murasawa

Two-time New Year Ekiden national champion Nissin Shokuhin Group announced on Jan. 10 that it is making major cuts to its men's ekiden team. With the exception of MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials qualifiers Akinobu Murasawa, 27, and Yuki Sato, 32, it will eliminate its other twelve athletes from the team. It has also canceled contracts with two graduating university fourth-years who were scheduled to join the team in April following their graduation.

The Nissin Shokuhin Group team has been one of the leaders of Japanese long distance, home to top class athletes including current marathon national record holder Suguru Osako, 27. The change in its policies comes suddenly. According to a person involved in the situation, of the team's fourteen members the twelve other than Murasawa and Sato have been asked to leave the team. Those who wish to continue their athletic careers will receive support in transferring to another team, while those who wish to retire will have the op…

Aoyama Gakuin First Year Takayuki Iida Leads Weekend Half Marathon Action

The National Women's Ekiden was the weekend's biggest race, but across the country four half marathons saw decently competitive men's action.

At Tochigi's Takanezawa Genki Up Half Marathon, as in the last few years Hakone Ekiden runner-up Aoyama Gakuin University ran its B-team of Hakone non-starters, this year with company from the team that beat it, Tokai University. AGU swept the top ten, first-year Takayuki Iida taking the top spot in 1:03:10 with teammate Shuya Iwami also getting under 64 minutes. Tokai seemed to treat the day more as a workout, but head coach Hayashi Morozumi, 52, took the chance to get in on the action too, running the 10 km division in 43:04.

In Tokyo, the High Tech Half Marathon celebrated its 20th running with the edition of a marathon division. Independent Hideyuki Ikegami (Aminosaurus) won the men's half in 1:05:08. Club runner Eri Suzuki (Noshiro Yamamoto T&F Assoc.) ran the fastest women's time of the weekend, 1:19:34, to win…