translated and edited by Brett Larner
At an Okayama-area press conference on Mar. 19, Team Tenmaya announced that head coach Yutaka Taketomi 59, whose athletes made four-straight women's Olympic marathons, will be replaced as head coach on April 1 by current assistant coach Tetsuya Urakawa, 51. Taketomi will move to a new capacity as general manager.
Having led the team since its inception in 1992, Taketomi explained his departure, saying, "For reasons including my service as head of the Japanese Federation's women's marathoning program I became slow to respond to minute details. I want to resolve that situation." In the shift to his new supporting capacity he hopes to ensure a smooth transition. Urakawa commented, "I will be facing pressure, but I want to continue to learn from coach Taketomi as I aim to send our athletes to the Olympics and to win the National Corporate Women's Ekiden."
2004 Athens Olympian Naoko Sakamoto, 32, will also retire from competition with Tenmaya, taking on a new role as an advisory coach with the team.