translated by Brett Larner
London Olympics men's marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (30, Miki House) attended an Olympic sendoff party held by his alma mater Takushoku University in Tokyo on May 11 together with his fellow Olympic marathoner Kentaro Nakamoto (29, Team Yasukawa Denki), one year below him at Takushoku. The pair vowed to work together to target the top.
As students at Takushoku Fujiwara and Nakamoto were roommates. "He is a great role model. Standing on the same starting line at the Olympics, I want to work together," Nakamoto declared. Fujiwara told the party's attendees with conviction, "Nakamoto wasn't really an athlete you would have noticed, but I always thought he was going to become strong. We're going to focus everything we have and aim for the top."
The pair received advice and encouragement from Takushoku alumnus Shuichi Yoneshige (50), a member of the 1988 Seoul Olympics long distance team. "Yoneshige said, 'I want to help support athletes who will make the Olympics.' The things I learned from him have become important parts of my mental game," said Fujiwara. Fujiwara will run Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon, where he plans to check his progress toward his planned Olympic peak.
Translator's note: Although Fujiwara gets more attention for his good races and personality, Nakamoto has had a far more stable and consistently-progressing marathon career, PBing every year from his 2:13:54 debut in 2008 to his 2:08:53 best this year and never finishing outside the top ten in eight marathon starts including last summer's World Championships.