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Niiya Tears Up National Sports Festival 5000 m, Kiryu Under 100 m Youth World Record

by Brett Larner

After impressive runs in the Olympic 5000 m and 10000 m where she frontran her way to all-time Japanese top-ten marks at both distances, independent-spirited Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) made a decisive return to competitive racing on Oct. 5, smashing the meet record in the senior women's 5000 m on the first day of the 67th National Sports Festival in Gifu.  The 2012 national champion for 5000 m, Niiya characteristically set out a pace that simply nobody else could follow, winning by a margin of 17 seconds as she set a new meet record on 15:17.79.

2011 national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno) was a casuality, dropping out partway, but in the chase pack ascendant collegiate star Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) outran all competition for 2nd in 15:34.15, edging into the year's ten best Japanese women's times.  Just five days after setting a stage record on the anchor leg of the Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden, first year Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) was 6th in 15:46.88.  Collegiate 10000 m record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Team Yamada Denki) continued to struggle with the transition to pro running, finishing last in 16:47.20.

The day's other big news came in the youth boys' 100 m.  Running with a legal 0.1 wind, Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) won the final in 10.21, 0.02 ahead of American Rynell Parson's youth world record of 10.23.  More than for being an apparent Japanese world record, Kiryu's performance caused excitement for his upcoming run in the 200 m, where the youth world record is held by none other than Usain Bolt.

67th National Sports Festival
Gifu, Oct. 5-9, 2012
click here for complete results

Senior Women's 5000 m
1. Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:17.79 - MR
2. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 15:34.15
3. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:37.78
4. Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:41.50
5. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 15:44.32
6. Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) - 15:46.88
7. Aya Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:50.64
8. Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:54.88
9. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 16:01.16
10. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 16:02.52
DNF - Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno)

Youth Boys' 100 m Final (wind +0.1)
1. Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) - 10.21 - Youth WR (pending)
2. Akiyuki Hashimoto (Sensatsu Seijukan H.S.) - 10.42
3. Yusuke Uozato (Takigawa H.S.) - 10.58

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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