translated by Brett Larner
The Nagasaki-based Sumco Techxiv company, a subdivision of major semiconductor silicon wafer manufacturer Sumco, announced on April 18 that it plans to disband its ekiden team on July 31. A statement from the company read, "Due to difficulties in the current business environment we do not expect to be in a position to be able to continue our support of the athletics team." The team hopes to continue elsewhere as a complete unit and is currently looking for a new sponsor.
The Sumco Techxiv team was founded in 1992, changing its name to Sumco in 1992. Its current lineup includes eleven athletes headed by 2011 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon 7th-place finisher Satoshi Yoshii. In 2001 team member Yuki Mori won the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, going on to run on the Japanese National Team at that year's World Half Marathon Championships in England. Sumco qualified for the New Year Ekiden seven times, with its best finish coming in 2005 when it placed 23rd.