translated by Brett Larner
Speaking to members of the media on Sept. 20, Rikuren executive Susumu Takano evaluated the results of the Japanese Olympic team in athletics, where the team's record of one medal and two top eight performances fell short of the federation's goal of one medal and five top eight performances. "It's a very disappointing result," he said. "We beat ourselves." Takano was positive about hammer thrower Koji Murofushi's bronze medal but identified the female marathoners' inability to cope with pace changes and the disqualifications of the race walkers as challenges that must be dealt with in the future.
With regard to the men's and women's marathon teams' inability to score a medal, board member Toshihiko Seko spoke frankly, saying, "The volume of their training is insufficient. Kenyan athletes are training more than the Japanese." Sydney Olympic gold medalist Naoko Takahashi and Athens Olympics gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) trained at over 1000 km per month, but Seko was critical of London 19th place finisher Yoshimi Ozaki's (Team Daiichi Seimei) peak volume of only 800 km a month. "Our women are in for tougher times than our men," he predicted.
Director Yohei Kono commented, "The results were unfortunate, but we haven't thrown away all hope," calling for Japan's athletes to rouse themselves and rise to the challenge.