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Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Announces 2012 Field

by Brett Larner

Right on schedule the organizers of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, the last chance for Japanese men to make the London Olympics marathon team, have announced the complete field for this year's race.  Coming on Mar. 4 just a week after the Tokyo Marathon, Biwako, as the race is known in Japan, has managed to put together a strong international field, both at the front end and further back at the level where people will be trying to meet their countries' Olympic qualification times.  The clear favorites in the first category are 2:06 Kenyan Nicholas Manza and 2:07 Ethiopian Bekana Daba, but with Japan based Kenyans Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Samuel Ndungu (Team Aichi Seiko) on the list to make their debuts the lead pack could be deeper than usual.  Biwako has always been good to Spanish marathoners, and with sub-28 runner Ayad Lamdassem entered for an apparent debut it is possible that this year could see another one factor into the race.

Among the contenders for the Japanese Olympic team on the entry list, the favorites include half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), 2011 World Championships marathon team members Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN), and, trying again after losing out to Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) at December's Fukuoka International Marathon, Hakone Ekiden star Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu).  Sub-2:10 veterans in the field include Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku), Yuzo Onishi (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Takeshi Hamano (Team Toyota), Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), Shinichi Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) and Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei).

Several current Hakone stars are entered to make their marathon debuts in hopes of a miracle Olympic spot, including Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.), Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) and Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.).  Among the pros scheduled to debut are sub-62 half-marathoners Takanobu Otsubo (Osaka Police Dept.), Muryo Takase (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda), as well as 3000 mSC national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu).

Foreign competition that should be running against the Japanese Olympic hopefuls includes 2:08 Moroccan Abdellah Taghrafet, 2:09 runners Henryk Szost (Poland), Abdellatif Meftah (France), Lee Troop (Australia) and Ruggero Pertile (Italy), Kenyan Ernest Kebenei and Ethiopian Yohanis Abera.  Canadians Dylan Wykes and Steve Osaduik will be trying for their last chance to break Athletics Canada's sub-2:11:30 qualifying time for the London team.

Biwako will be broadcast live and commercial-free nationwide on NHK.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online for free via Keyhole TV, and JRN will again offer live English coverage via Twitter @JRNLive.  Check back closer to race date for more details.

2012 Biwako Mainichi Marathon Elite Field & General Division Highlights
Mar. 4, Otsu
click here for complete field listing

Nicholas Manza (Kenya) - 2:06:34
Bekana Daba (Ethiopia) - 2:07:04
Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:07:13
Abdellah Taghrafet (Morocco) - 2:08:21
Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:08:37
Yuzo Onishi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:08:54
Takeshi Hamano (Team Toyota) - 2:09:18
Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:09:18
Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:25
Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:09:31
Shinichi Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 2:09:32
Henryk Szost (Poland) - 2:09:39
Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:43
Abdellatif Meftah (France) - 2:09:46
Lee Troop (Australia) - 2:09:49
Ruggero Pertile (Italy) - 2:09:53
Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:10:32
Satoshi Yoshii (Team Sumco) - 2:10:45
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51
Ernest Kebenei (Kenya) - 2:10:55
Naoto Yoneda (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:11:00
Yohanis Abera (Ethiopia) - 2:11:08
Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult) - 2:11:17
Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - 2:11:25
Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 2:12:05
Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 2:12:10
Masatoshi Oike (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:12:15
Tomohiro Seto (Team Kanebo) - 2:12:21
Yusuke Kataoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:12:28
Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 2:12:37
Dylan Wykes (Canada) - 2:12:39
Toyoshi Ishige (Team Yakult) - 2:12:45
Etsu Miyata (Team Fujitsu) - 2:13:19
Masayuki Obata (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:13:54
Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:13:54
Steve Osaduik (Canada) - 2:16:49

Debut
Shingo Mishima (Team Toyota) - 1:30:45 (30 km)
Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 59:50 (half-marathon)
Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:55 (half-marathon)
Takanobu Otsubo (Osaka Police Dept.) - 1:01:55 (half-marathon)
Muryo Takase (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:01:57 (half-marathon)
Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 1:01:58 (half-marathon)
Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:03 (half-marathon)
Shota Hiraga (Waseda University) - 1:02:08 (half-marathon)
Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) - 1:02:23 (half-marathon)
Hiroshi Yamada (Team Konica-Minolta) - 1:02:31 (half-marathon)
Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 1:02:47 (half-marathon)
Masahiro Kuno (Team NTN) - 1:02:49 (half-marathon)
Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 58:51 (20 km)
Ayad Lamdassem (Spain) - 27:45.58 (10000 m)
Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) - 28:17.80 (10000 m)
Kosaku Hoshina (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:20.36 (10000 m)
Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:41.26 (10000 m)

Pacers
Boniface Kirui (Kenya)
Isaac Macharia (Kenya)
Ryosuke Maki (Team Osaka Gas)
James Mwangi (Kenya)
Yohei Yamamoto (Team NTT Nishi Nihon)

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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