Two weeks out from the 2012 National Track and Field Championships in Osaka, the second-to-last Nittai University Time Trials meet of the season was relatively quiet. Olympic track favorites Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) faced off against African newcomers Demmababa Bikila (Team Kanebo), Hassan Agatoyashin (Team Chuo Hatsujo) and Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) over 5000 m with a challenge from Toyo University ace Yuta Shitara. All six took their turns leading, but Sato and Ugachi pulled away over a faster second half to turn the race into a duel, Sato taking the win by three seconds in 13:43.01. Seven men altogether cleared 14 minutes, Shitara recording a new PB of 13:51.16.
But the big result of the meet came in the men's 800 m A-heat, where national high school record holder Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.), who hails from the distance-running Mecca of Saku, Nagano, raced national record holder Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) to a photo finish, chopping a quarter of a second off the nearly sixteen-year-old junior national record. Yokota took the win in 1:46.87, well off his NR mark, but Kawamoto was only 0.02 back in a new junior NR of 1:46.89. The pair will meet again at next month's National Track & Field Championships, where Kawamoto will have to chase both Yokota and the Olympic B-standard.