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Japanese World Cross-Country Team Rosters

by Brett Larner

With a few exceptions cross-country has never been a major part of Japanese long-distance methodology, but each World Cross-Country Championships sees a roster featuring many of Japan's best.  London Olympian Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) heads the senior women's squad for Sunday's Worlds in Bydgoszcz, Poland, accompanied by the runner-up in last weekend's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) and top-ranked collegiate Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya University).  2013 Hakone Ekiden winner Nittai University fields three members of its champion team, Takumi Honda and Keigo Yano in the senior men's race and 1st-year Hideto Yamanaka leading the junior men's squad.  Alongside Yamanaka is Tadashi Isshiki of 2012 National High School Ekiden champion Toyokawa H.S.  Curiously, the senior men's team includes only four athletes, with top-ranked men Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) having given Worlds a pass after finishing well at the Chiba and Fukuoka selection races.

As usual Japan's best chance of getting into the medals comes in the junior women's 6 km where it has a long streak of team medals.  With a 9:06.91 best for 3000 m Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) is the top-ranked woman on the list, along with Nanami Aoki of 2012 National High School Ekiden winner Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. and Fukuoka International XC winner Azusa Sumi of runner-up Toyokawa H.S.

Two members of the Kenyan men's team also run for Japanese corporate teams.  On the junior team, Leonard Baroston runs for Tokyo-based Team Nissin Shokuhin, while on the senior team Jonathan Ndiku is a longtime member of Chiba-based Team Hitachi Butsuryu.

Senior Men's 12 km
Takumi Honda (Nittai University) 5000 m: 13:56.47   10000 m: 28:46.38   half: 1:02:37
Hiroyuki Ono (Team Nissin Shokuhin) 5000 m: 13:44.76   10000 m: 28:06.35   half: 1:03:30
Wataru Ueno (Komazawa University) 5000 m: 13:46.79   10000 m: 28:42.89   half: 1:02:50
Keigo Yano (Nittai University) 5000 m: 13:54.54   10000 m: 28:53.25   half: 1:03:16

Senior Women's 8 km
Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) 5000 m: 15:53.03
Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) 5000 m: 15:48.23   10000 m: 32:18.00
Mai Ishibashi (Team Denso) 5000 m: 15:35.38   10000 m: 32:37.25
Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) 5000 m: 15:10.20   10000 m: 30:59.19   half: 1:11:41
Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) 5000 m: 15:34.21   10000 m: 32:27.56   half: 1:09:18
Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya University) 5000 m: 15:34.15

Junior Men's 8 km
Tatsuya Hayashi (Ishin H.S.) 5000 m: 14:05.90 10000 m: 29:20.35
Yuki Hirota (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) 5000 m: 14:07.85
Tadashi Isshiki (Toyokawa H.S.) 5000 m: 14:00.31
Yusuke Nishiyama (Iga Hakuo H.S.) 5000 m: 14:03.12
Kazuki Takahashi (Omagari Kogyo H.S.) 5000 m: 14:16.07
Hideto Yamanaka (Nittai University) 5000 m: 14:10.49   10000 m: 29:26.74

Junior Women's 6 km
Nanami Aoki (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) 3000 m: 9:17.14
Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) 1500 m: 4:17.15
Maki Izumida (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) 3000 m: 9:13.30
Azusa Sumi (Toyokawa H.S.) 3000 m: 9:11.30
Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) 3000 m: 9:06.91
Saki Yoshimizu (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) 3000 m: 9:19.31

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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