translated by Brett Larner
Click here for video of Ondiba meeting with Nanyo Mayor Shiota.
Getting off the JR Yamagata shinkansen at Akayu Station in Yamagata is 22-year-old Kenyan runner Cosmas Ondiba. Having come to Japan after graduating from junior high school, Ondiba made his first appearance at the Hakone Ekiden as a second-year at Yamanashi Gakuin University. Running the Third Stage three years in a row, this year as a senior he passed seven people on the way to setting a new course record to cap an outstanding 2011. Hired by Nanyo City Hall, which features a track and field club, Ondiba will begin work this spring.
Meeting with Ondiba, Mayor Shiota told him, "We hope that you will give strength to our track and field club and show our children what it means to do their best." Ondiba hopes to work with the other club members to earn Nanyo its coveted first-ever New Year Ekiden berth. Watch for Ondiba to make his Yamagata debut on the Higashi Ogitama region team at this year's Yamagata Prefecture Ekiden.