Skip to main content

Seko's Goal for New DeNA Team: "A Marathon Medal at the Tokyo Olympics"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/01/11/kiji/K20130111004955310.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Their ultimate goal is the stuff of dreams: a medal.  With their current sponsorship set to expire at the end of March, all twelve athletes and staff members on the S&B Foods team appeared at a Tokyo-area press conference on Jan. 10 to formally announce their new contract with cell phone video game maker DeNA.  Team DeNA supervising head coach Toshihiko Seko, who made the Japanese men's Olympic marathon team for Moscow in 1980, Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988, was clear about his grand ambitions for the new project: "We are going to produce athletes who can win a medal in the marathon at the Olympics.  With the Olympics coming to Tokyo in 2020 we're not interested in anything else.  I hope others will share in this dream."

As a starting point, the team's first goal is to win the New Year Ekiden national championships within three years.  At the moment there are only six athletes on the team, led by 2008 Beijing Olympian Kensuke Takezawa and 2012 London Olympian Bitan Karoki.  With seven stages at the New Year Ekiden the current team lineup is insufficient.  "I want to add three or four people," said Seko.  "If there are athletes around from teams that are closing down or whose contracts have not been renewed, I'd like to talk to them.  Tomorrow I'm already going to be talking to some people."  The very same day as the DeNA press conference, the Shikoku Denryoku company announced the termination of its team including 27-minute 10000 m runner Terukazu Omori and a slew of 28-minute athletes.  The chance that some of them appear next in the DeNA uniform seems high.

"Without a doubt, not putting out the results will mean the axe, and that is just going to be the way it is.  I want us to go forward carrying that kind of pressure and tension in mind," said Seko, himself looking revitalized as he prepares to lead the team in relaunching itself on new ground.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

JAAF Announces Preliminary Team for London World Championships

A day after the end of the 2017 Japanese National Track and Field Championships, the JAAF announced its preliminary team for August's London World Championships. No men made the team in long distance, while no women were named in any event except long distance. Top-placing athletes at the National Championships have until July 23 to chase standards in hope of being added to the team, but excluding the marathon and race walk, the team as announced on June 26:

Women's Long Distance
Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) - 5000 m
Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) - 5000 m / 10000 m
Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) - 10000 m
Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 10000 m

Men's Sprints
Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 100 m / 200 m
Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 100 m
Aska Cambridge (Nike) - 100 m
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 200 m
Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 400 m

Additional Relay Members
Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 4x100 m
Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) - 4x100 m
Kentaro Sato (Fujitsu) -…

Itagaki Runs Second-Fastest 100 km Ever to Win Lake Saroma

The IAAF-certified Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon took place June 25 along the lake's interior shore in the Okhotsk coast towns of Yubetsu, Saroma and Kitami, the selection race for the Japanese national team for the 2018 IAU 100 km World Championships.

Three weeks after winning the JAL Chitose Marathon in 2:17:19, Tatsuya Itagaki (Sapporo Kokusai Univ.) won the men's race for the second year in a row. His time of 6:14:18 was the second-fastest ever run for 100 km on the roads, missing the 6:13:33 world record set at Lake Saroma in 1998 by Takahiro Sunada by just 45 seconds after going through halfway in 3:00:50.

In the women's race 2009 Berlin World Championships marathon 7th-placer and 2010 Nagoya International Women's winner Yuri Kano (Will Forward RC) ran 7:37:21 to win her debut.



32nd Lake Saroma Ultramarathon
Yubetsu, Hokkaido, 6/25/17

Men's 100 km
1. Tatsuya Itagaki (Sapporo Kokusai Univ.) - 6:14:18
2. Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 6:29:52
3. Nao K…