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Takezawa, Ugachi Just Off Olympic B-Standard at Kanaguri Memorial 5000 m

by Brett Larner

The Japanese track season got moving Apr. 7 with the first big meet of the year, the 21st Kanaguri Memorial Meet in Kumamoto.  In the men's 5000 m A-heat, relative newcomer Patrick Mwikya (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) led start to finish, winning in a solo 13:21.36.  A tight pack behind him saw Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B), on the mend from his latest round of injuries, emerge to take 2nd in 13:28.70 just short of the 13:27.00 Olympic B-standard.  A step behind were Kenyan Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu) and 10000 m Olympic A-standard holder Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), both under 13:30.  In the men's B-heat, winner Hayato Saito (Team Honda) would have placed well in the A-heat as he won by a comfortable margin in 13:41.80.

Kenyans Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) and, making her pro debut, Beatrice Murugi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) ran together ahead of the Japanese pack with Chepyego pulling away for the win in 15:20.30.  Yuka Ando, debuting with her new Mizuno sponsorship, was 3rd in 15:43.67 with high schooler Shiori Yano (Kitakyushu Civic H.S.) 4th in an impressive 15:44.68.  Like Hayato in the men's race, women's B-heat winner Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) would have been more at home in the A-heat as she won in 15:50.47 by a margin of nearly 12 seconds.

The other noteworthy race of the day came in the men's 1500 m A-heat, where Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) won by a hair over Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon), 3:43.96 to 3:43.99.  800 m NR holder Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) was 3rd in a PB 3:45.63, while 2011 National University 1500 m champ Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) was 5th in 3:46.84.

21st Kanaguri Memorial Middle and Long-Distance Meet
Kumamoto, 4/7/12
click here for complete results


Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Patrick Mutunga Mwikya (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:21.36
2. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:28.70
3. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 13:28.97
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:29.50 - PB
5. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:30.07
6. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:33.16
7. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:33.34 - PB
8. Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 13:38.88
9. Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:41.99 - PB
10. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 13:42.30 - PB

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 15:20.30
2. Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:21.77
3. Yuka Ando (Mizuno) - 15:43.67
4. Shiori Yano (Kitakyushu Civic H.S.) - 15:44.68
5. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 15:46.98
6. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:59.01
7. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 16:00.84
8. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 16:05.48
9. Anna Hasuike (Team Higo Ginko) - 16:07.41
10. Miyuki Mandai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 16:09.25

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Hayato Saito (Team Honda) - 13:41.80
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 13:46.21
3. Hideyuki Tanaka (Juntendo Univ.) - 13:52.16
4. Takehiro Arakawa (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:53.33
5. Teruo Taneno (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 13:54.07

Women's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) - 15:50.47
2. Rina Nabeshima (Kanaya Taiku Univ.) - 16:02.31
3. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 16:03.01
4. Aya Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:04.43
5. Sayuri Sento (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:06.56

High School Boys' 5000 m A-Heat
1. Jeremiah Karemi (Toyokawa H.S.) - 13:52.71
2. Hazuma Hattori (Toyokawa H.S.) - 14:12.50
3. Tadashi Isshiki (Toyokawa H.S.) - 14:22.90

High School Girls' 3000 m A-Heat
1. Kumiko Otani (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 9:31.26
2. Saki Yoshimizu (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) - 9:35.38
3. Misuzu Nakahara (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:37.65

Men's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:43.96
2. Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:43.99
3. Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - 3:45.63 - PB
4. Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 3:46.21
5. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 3:46.84

Women's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Rose Maranga (Team Toto) - 4:24.79
2. Yukari Soh (Team Asahi Kasei) - 4:27.54
3. Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 4:27.97
4. Minami Nakaarai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:28.46
5. Azusa Saito (Niigata Albirex AC) - 4:29.06

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
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