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Japanese Olympic Team Profiles - Sprints, Hurdles and Walks

by Brett Larner

Japan's best chances for athletics medals in London may come in the men's 400 m hurdles and 50 km race walk.  Hosei University's Takayuki Kishimoto dropped a major PB of 48.41 to win June's National Championships/Olympic Trials and find himself ranked 5th in the world and 4th in the Olympic field.  With little championship experience to his name it will be tough for him to stand up to the pressure of his Olympic debut, but still on an upward roll he could edge his way in for some hardware.

50 km race walk national record holder Yuki Yamazaki (SDF Academy) comes into the Olympics ranked 5th in the field by season best despite being well off his best.  With at least nine men holding faster PB marks it won't be easy for him to break into the medals, but a solid performance could earn him the bronze.

On the subject of bronze, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay comes to London as the defending bronze medal squad.  Only one member of the Beijing lineup, Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) returns, having improved his PB since Beijing from 10.29 to 10.20.  2010 and 2011 were bad years for him, but this year he has already tied his pre-Beijing best and could be in position to improve on his performance there.  As for the rest of the team, compare the Beijing and likely London lineups:
  • Beijing Olympics
    • Naoki Tsukahara: PB/SB ('08): 10.15
    • Shingo Suetsugu: PB: 10.03 / SB ('08): 10.55
    • Shinji Takahira: PB/SB ('08): 10.29
    • Nobuharu Asahara: PB: 10.02 / SB ('08): 10.17
  • London Olympics
    • Ryota Yamagata: PB/SB ('12): 10.08
    • Masashi Eriguchi: PB: 10.07 / SB ('08): 10.18
    • Shinji Takahira: PB: 10.20 / SB ('12): 10.29
    • Shota Iizuka: PB: 10.52
The London team compares pretty favorably on time, offset by the Beijing lineup's years working together on perfecting their exchanges.  Probable London anchor and 2010 World Jr. 200 m champion Shota Iizuka (Chuo University) looks like the weak link on paper, but he has this inside him:



If he can muster up the same magic, the team's exchanges gel, and, maybe, if the Americans bring their regular quality baton work, then who knows?  It happened once.


Men's Sprints


Masashi Eriguchi
100 m, 4x100 m relay
Corporate Team: Osaka Gas
Born: Dec. 17, 1988
PB: 10.07

Ryota Yamagata
100 m, 4x100 m relay
School: Keio University
Born: June 10, 1992
PB: 10.08

Shinji Takahira
200 m, 4x100 m relay
Corporate Team: Fujitsu
Born: July 18, 1984
PB: 20.22

Kei Takase
200 m, 4x400 m relay
Corporate Team: Fujitsu
Born: Nov. 25, 1988
PB: 20.42

Shota Iizuka 
200 m, 4x100 m relay
School: Chuo University
Born: June 25, 1991
PB: 20.45

Yuzo Kanemaru
400 m, 4x400 m relay
Corporate Team Otsuka Seiyaku
Born: Sept. 18, 1987
PB: 45.16

Takumi Kuki
4x100 m relay
School: Waseda University
PB: 10.25

Hiroyuki Nakano
4x400 m relay
School: Aichi Kyoiku University
PB: 45.81

Yoshihiro Azuma
4x400 m relay
School: Kansai University
PB: 46.26


Women's Sprints

Chisato Fukushima
100 m, 200 m, 4x100 m Relay
Club: Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC
Born: June 27, 1988
PBs: 11.21 - NR, 22.89 - NR

Momoko Takahashi
4x100 m Relay
Corporate Team: Fujitsu
PB: 11.32

Anna Doi
4x100 m Relay
School: Saitama Sakae H.S.
PB: 11.43

Kana Ichikawa
4x100 m Relay
School: Chukyo University
PB: 11.43


Yumeka Sano
4x100 m Relay
School: Tsuru Bunka University
PB: 11.59


Men's Hurdles
Takayuki Kishimoto
400 mH
School: Hosei University
Born: May 6, 1990
PB: 48.41

Akihiko Nakamura
400 mH
School: Chukyo University
Born: Oct. 23, 1990
PB: 49.38

Tetsuya Tateno 
400 mH
School: Chuo University
Born: Aug, 5, 1991
PB: 49.49


Women's Hurdles

Ayako Kimura
100 mH
Corporate Team: Edion
Born: June 11, 1988
PB: 13.04

Satomi Kubokura 
400 mH
Club: Niigata Albirex AC
Born: Apr. 27, 1982
PB: 55.34 - NR


Men's Walks

Yusuke Suzuki
20 km Race Walk
Corporate Team: Fujitsu
Born: Jan. 2, 1988
PB: 1:20:06

Isamu Fujisawa
20 km Race Walk
Corporate Team: Alsok
Born: Oct. 12, 1987
PB: 1:20:12

Takumi Saito
20 km Race Walk
School: Toyo University
Born: Mar. 23, 1993
PB: 1:21:01

Yuki Yamazaki
50 km Race Walk
Club: SDF Academy Born: Jan. 16, 1984
PB: 3:40:12 - NR

Takayuki Tanii 
50 km Race Walk
Corporate Team: Sagawa Express
Born: Feb. 14, 1983
PB: 3:43:56

Koichiro Morioka
50 km Race Walk
Corporate Team: Fujitsu
Born: Apr. 2, 1985
PB: 3:44:45


Women's Walks

Masumi Fuchise
20 km Race Walk
Corporate Team: Otsuka Seiyaku
Born: Sept. 2, 1986
PB: 1:28:03 - NR

Mayumi Kawasaki
20 km Race Walk
Corporate Team: Fujitsu
Born: May 10, 1980
PB: 1:28:49

Kumi Otoshi
20 km Race Walk
Corporate Team: Fujitsu
Born: July 29, 1985
PB: 1:29:11

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

V. said…
Just curious - were injuries behind Naoki Tsukahara's struggles in recent years? Considering he made the semi-finals in the 100 in Beijing (along with the relay bronze) I would have expected him to be in his prime now.

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