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Omwamba Takes Kanto Regionals 1500 m and 10000 m Wins in Collegiate Debut

by Brett Larner

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The first university to bring Kenyans to run in Japan, Yamanashi Gakuin University debuted its newest find, first-year Enock Omwamba, on the first weekend of Japan's biggest and best university meet, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, May 12-13 in Tokyo's National Stadium.  Omwamba got the weekend started by taking down rival Nihon University's Kenyan first-year Daniel Kitonyi in the 1500 m, winning the final in 3:45.92.

 Returning the next day in the 10000 m, Omwamba stayed at the rear of the lead pack throughout the race as Nihon University senior Benjamin Gandu battled with Hakone Ekiden winner Toyo University's ace twins Keita Shitara and Yuta Shitara.  The Shitara twins worked together to crack Gandu and other at the front of the race, alternating the lead and pushing the pace until they were alone.  Omwamba came on strong in the final 2000 m, gaining contact with the twins, passing Yuta, then moving into the lead and surging away over the final lap to take the win in a new best of 28:18.93.  Keita, who ran his best of 28:15.90 just a few weeks ago, held off his brother for 2nd in 28:28.61 with Yuta two seconds back in his first time breaking 29 minutes, just ahead of past champions Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) and Gandu.

The Division 2 men's 10000 m was a strange and fascinating race of surges, somewhat slower than the main race but no less interesting.  A lead quartet made up of 5000 m national collegiate champion Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), teammate Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.), Keisuke Fujii (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) and Kenyan Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) all took turns dropping repeated surges throughout the race, then backing off and letting the pace slacken.  National university half marathon champion Toshikatsu Ebina (Teikyo Univ.) struggled to stay with them, opting for a more even pace that saw him repeatedly gain contact with the quartet and then fall back.  In the end Murayama proved the strongest, holding off Fujii over the last lap for the win in 28:58.20.

The women's 10000 m also featured frontrunning teamwork from a pair of twins, Tsukuba University first-years Haruka Kyuma and Moe Kyuma in their 10000 m debuts.  Both Kyumas sat back in the pack through the slow first half before Haruka went to the front at 5000 m.  Moe moved up to join her and the two worked together to lead until Moe abruptly dropped back at 9000 m.  In the final kilometer Haruka paid for her frontrunning, dropping to 6th as defending champion Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) and Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) went to the line in a virtual photo-finish.  Shinozuka took the title in 34:08.45, Tayama clocking 34:08.56.

The Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships continue next weekend with both men's and women's 5000 m and the men's half-marathon, always one of the highlights of the meet.  Look for Shinozuka and others to add further titles to this year's haul.

2012 Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships Part One
National Stadium, Tokyo, 5/12-13/12
click event for video

1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:18.93
2. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:28.61
3. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:30.68
4. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:32.63
5. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:45.83
6. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 28:46.16
7. Hideyuki Tanaka (Juntendo Univ.) - 28:51.06
8. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 28:53.25
9. Takumi Honda (Nittai Univ.) - 28:54.64
10. Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) - 29:06.60

1. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:58.20
2. Keisuke Fujii (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:59.13
3. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 29:00.85
4. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:02.70
5. Toshikatsu Ebina (Teikyo Univ.) - 29:08.25
6. Wataru Ueno (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:22.07
7. Taiki Yoshimura (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 29:27.28
8. Sora Tsukada (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 29:28.13
9. Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:34.87
10. Kazuma Ito (Waseda Grad School) - 29:39.91

1. Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) - 34:08.45
2. Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:08.56
3. Megumi Amako (Waseda Univ.) - 34:12.79
4. Mayumi Watanabe (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:13.10
5. Narumi Shirataki (Nihon Univ.) - 34:13.11
6. Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) - 34:14.66
7. Azusa Kurusu (Juntendo Univ.) - 34:19.53
8. Moe Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) - 34:28.79
9. Akane Kaai (Tamagawa Univ.) - 34:31.55
10. Rika Saito (Chuo Univ.) - 34:43.66

1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:45.92
2. Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 3:47.13
3. Yudai Yamamoto (Josai Univ.) - 3:52.41
4. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 3:53.46
5. Keisuke Hirata (Josai Univ.) - 3:54.76

1. Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:50.95
2. Yuki Kawasaki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 3:51.94
3. Ryotaro Otani (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 3:52.08
4. Harry Mulenga (Kenya/Soka Univ.) - 3:52.09
5. Mitsunori Asaoka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:53.09

1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:25.83
2. Miho Shimizu (Hakuoh Univ.) - 4:27.52
3. Yukina Tanimoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 4:27.60
4. Izumi Minemura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:28.09
5. Shiori Fujinoki (Rikkyo Univ.) - 4:30.43

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
Thanks for the videos, much appreciated!

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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