Skip to main content

Takechi, Kyuma Twins Lead Bukkyo University and Tsukuba University to Regional Ekiden Wins

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20120930-OHT1T00285.htm
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0005414888.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The university women's ekiden season kicked off Sept. 29 with the Kansai Region (Kobe/Kyoto/Osaka area) qualifier for the Oct. 28 National University Women's Ekiden Championships in Sendai.  22 schools ran in the six-stage, 30 km Kansai qualifier in Kobe's Shiawase no Mura, with defending champion Bukkyo University taking its second-straight and fourth-overall win in 1:37:54.  Last year's national champion Ritsumeikan University finished 4th in Kansai.  Along with Bukkyo and Ritsumeikan, five other schools from the Kansai Region made the cut for Nationals.

Having run on the Shiawase no Mura course since her days at Tomogaoka H.S., Bukkyo's Shiho Takechi had the fastest time on the anchor stage for the second year in a row.  Takechi ran 47 seconds faster than the next-fastest woman on the anchor stage, making a major contribution to Bukkyo's overwhelming victory.  Now a senior, Takechi is the team's captain this season.  In the spring she had trouble getting in good shape, but at last month's National University Track and Field Championships she ran 15:56.78 for 3rd, her first time in a year to go sub-16.  "I didn't have any problems with my training this summer," she said with a smile.  Showing her leadership, she added, "I think that was a good example for the other runners."  Targeting a third-straight win last year, Bukkyo finished 2nd.  Now in her final year, Takechi swore to find vindication.  "We don't have any big stars this year, so we all have to work together to improve our overall level.  That's how we're going to win."

A day later, first-year twins Haruka and Moe Kyuma led Tsukuba University to its first Kanto Region (Tokyo/Yokohama area) qualifier win in ten years, covering the six stage, 30.6 km course in Chiba New Town in 1:38:26.  Tsukuba's fourth-ever Kanto title, the win secured the school a place at Nationals for the first time in nine years.  Both Kyuma twins won their stages, Moe taking the Fourth Stage and Haruka claiming the anchor stage. Daito Bunka University was 2nd as both schools broke the course record, with four other schools earning places at the National Championships.  Altogether 26 schools nationwide qualified for Nationals, with two further schools set to be named to the field on Oct. 3 in honor of the National University Women's Ekiden Championships' 30th anniversary.

The superbly talented twins have brought new life to the former powerhouse Tsukuba University. Their experience as members of Kyoto's two-time National Women's Ekiden Championships team proved crucial to Tsukuba's fortunes.  On the 5.8 km Fourth Stage Moe took the lead.  Tsukuba dropped behind on the Fifth Stage, but on the 7.8 km Sixth Stage Haruka passed Daito Bunka University's anchor in the first km, ultimately opening a one-minute gap before the Tsukuba jersey broke the tape after a ten-year dry spell.  Her time of 24:43 was a new stage record.  The National University Track and Field Championships 10000 m winner last month, Haruka said, "I have to be critical of myself for slowing down near the end, but I'm very happy that we won," showing no small share of pride.

Tsukuba has won the National University Women's Ekiden Championships twice, finishing 7th in its last appearance in 2003.  Needless to say, with Nationals having moved to Sendai in 2005 this year will be the school's first time on the new course.  This year the team's uniform has also changed, its runners now sporting fuchsia blue singlets.  Leading the way for a new era at a famous school, the twins are excited for their Nationals debut.  "I love the sense of accomplishment you get in an ekiden," said Haruka.  "I think we are going to do well at Nationals."  Moe added, "I want to win my stage to help make sure that the team is right up front."  If they can crack the domination of the Kansai Region they will be shaking up the existing order at Nationals, where Kanto always takes a back seat to the sisters' native Kansai.

2012 Kansai Regional University Women's Ekiden
Shiawase no Mori, Kobe, 9/29/12
six stages, 30 km
top seven teams qualify for National University Women's Ekiden Championships
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Bukkyo University A - 1:37:54
2. Osaka Gakuin University A - 1:40:19
3. Kyoto Sangyo University - 1:40:34
4. Ritsumeikan University - 1:40:48
5. Osaka Geidai University - 1:42:59
6. Kansai University - 1:44:13
7. Nara Sangyo University - 1:46:25
-----
8. Hyogo University - 1:47:54
9. Kobe Gakuin University - 1:48:03
10. Koka Joshi University - 1:48:16

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (3.9 km) - Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 12:30
Second Stage (3.3 km) - Miyuki Mandai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 10:12
Third Stage (6.5 km) - Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ. A) - 21:11
Fourth Stage (6.5 km) - Chika Ogawa (Bukkyo Univ. A) - 21:50
Fifth Stage (3.3 km) - Chisaki Takegami (Bukkyo Univ. A) - 10:34
Sixth Stage (6.5 km) - Shiho Takechi (Bukkyo Univ. A) - 21:18

2012 Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden
Chiba New Town, Chiba, 9/30/12
six stages, 30.6 km
top six teams qualify for National University Women's Ekiden Championships
click here for complete results

Top Team Performances
1. Tsukuba University - 1:38:26 - CR
2. Daito Bunka University - 1:39:26 (CR)
3. Tamagawa University A - 1:40:47
4. Hakuoh University - 1:41:02
5. Chuo University - 1:41:22
6. Josai University - 1:41:45
-----
7. Juntendo University - 1:41:58
8. Nittai University - 1:43:16
9. Tokyo Nogyo University A - 1:44:34
10. Toyo University - 1:45:37

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (4.6 km) - Nami Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) - 14:55
Second Stage (4.5 km) - Yasuka Ueno (Tsukuba Univ.) - 14:03
Third Stage (3.3 km) - Yuko Iwata (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:23 - CR
Fourth Stage (5.8 km) - Moe Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) - 18:29
Fifth Stage (4.6 km) - Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 14:46 - CR
Sixth Stage (7.8 km) - Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) - 24:43 - CR

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…