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Weekend Track Update

by Brett Larner

On the second of two straight weeks of regional track championship meets the most exciting racing came at the biggest Japanese collegiate meet, the Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships.  Mai Shinozuka (Chuo University) won the women's 5000 m to record her second-straight 5000 m - 10000 m double.  Looking to complete a 1500 m - 5000 m - 10000 m triple, Kenyan first-year Enoch Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) fell victim to Waseda University ace Suguru Osako, who came on strong late in the race to win the Division 1 men's 5000 m in 13:47.44 less than a second ahead of Omwamba.  The Division 2 race was dominated by two new African first-years from relatively unknown schools.  William Malel (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) won in a meet-record 13:25.82 as Leul Gebresilase (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.), a rare Ethiopian collegiate, held of Komazawa University's Shinobu Kubota for 2nd in 13:55.25.  Top-ranked Kenyan Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.) rounded out the Kanto Regionals action with a 1:04:13 in the Division 1 half-marathon, Daiki Nomoto (Takushoku Univ.) winning the Division 2 race in 1:05:35.

In pro action, Olympic marathon team members Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) had two of the most noteworthy results, each scoring a new 10000 m PB.  Nakamoto, who qualified for the London Olympics in March with a 2:08:53 marathon best, broke 29 minutes for the first time as he finished 9th at the Kyushu Corporate Track & Field Championships in 28:54.59, not far off winner Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) in 28:47.62.  Shigetomo, winner of January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:23:23, won the Chugoku Corporate Track & Field Championships women's 10000 m in a new best of 33:25.48 despite recent injury troubles.  Both are slated to run next weekend's Bupa London 10000 m road race as part of a Rikuren-sponsored trip to spend time on the London Olympics marathon course.

Shigetomo's junior teammate Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) complete a 3000m-5000 m double with a meet-record 9:28.26 in the women's 3000 m, with Kenyan Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) winning the 10000 m in 28:52.47 after running poorly in last weekend's 5000 m.  Back in Kyushu, Kenyan Rose Maranga (Team Toto) won the junior women's 3000 m in 9:23.40 while marathoner Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) took the win in the 10000 m in 33:32.53.

In the Africanless Kansai region Takaya Iwasaki (Team Shikoku Denryoku) won the men's 10000 m in 28:59.28, Nakamoto's Olympic marathon teammate Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) 3rd in 29:02.11.  The women's 10000 m in Kansai was more competitive, Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) outrunning teammate Yoko Aizu for the win 32:34.55 to 32:36.22, and women's 5000 m times were likewise quick, Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) winning 15:40.72.

The Kanto region had the fastest corporate times of the weekend, Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) winning the women's 10000 m in 32:17.28 over year-leading half-marathoner Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), 2nd in 32:31.04.  Five-time 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) outran Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) in the 5000 m 15:33.48 to 15:39.75, while 2011 corporate track champ Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) easily won the 3000 m in 9:20.07.  Two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Logistics) beat 2012's top-ranked Japanese man in the 5000 m, 13:33.58 and 13:38.57 respectively, but the men's 10000 m was a surprise as not a single one of the Kenyan men entered in the race started.  5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) was there to pick up the win in a conservative 28:53.69.

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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