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Omwamba Dominates First Weekend of Kanto Regionals With 1500 m and 10000 m Double

by Brett Larner

For the second-straight year, Kenyan Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) pulled off the 1500 m - 10000 m double on the first weekend of the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, May 18-19 in Tokyo's National Stadium.  Despite high winds in Saturday's Division I 1500 m final, Omwamba went out hard with a 55-second opening lap, holding on alone to take a full 4 seconds off the meet record with a new best of 3:39.16.  Runner-up Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) was more than 10 seconds behind, narrowly beating Kazuki Miyake (Chuo Univ.) for 2nd with both cracking 3:50.  Division II winner Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) also got under 3:50 with the fastest Japanese time of the day, 3:49.52.

A day later, Omwamba won again against a tough field in the Division I 10000 m.  Facing Nihon University's new Kenyan ace Daniel Kitonyi, 2013 Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage winner Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.), Meiji University star Shuho Dairokuno and, fresh from both running sub-28 eight days ago at the Golden Games in Nobeoka meet, Toyo University twins Keita and Yuta Shitara.  Omwamba took the race out at 28-flat pace with immediate pressure from Hattori.  Kitonyi and Keita Shitara were close behind, but Yuta started in last place and took his time working his way up through the field.

Omwamba alternated the lead with Kitonyi, Hattori stepping up to keep things on pace any time it slowed, and just past a 14:15 split for halfway the lead pack was down to the main six athletes.  Yuta Shitara began to have trouble staying with the others, and near 7000 m Keita dropped back to chat with him and give him some encouragement, but at 8000 m a it was Keita who was had trouble answering a move from Hattori that also knocked Dairokuno out of the pack.  Yuta was next, and a surge by the Africans at 9000 m cut off Hattori's chances. Omwamba was too much for Kitonyi to handle over the last two laps, taking the win in a PB 28:15.80 with Kitonyi next in 28:21.30, also a PB.  Yuta Shitara put on a sensational kick to overtake Hattori for 3rd in 28:31.14, with Keita likewise outkicking Dairokuno who nevertheless pulled out a new best of 28:41.10.

The Division II 10000 m was a 1-2 for 2012 National University Ekiden champions Komazawa University.  Eight days after both running in the same Golden Games in Nobeoka 10000 m as the Shitara twins, 2013 National University Half Marathon champion Shogo Nakamura and senior teammate Shinobu Kubota tag-teamed the lead to grind down Africans Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) and Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.).  Nakamura, who ran 28:05.79 in Nobeoka to beat Kubota's best by just over a second, got the win in 28:39.52, Kubota next in 28:48.77. The most impressive performance of the race had to go to another identical twin, Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.), who came up to join the leaders after 7000 m and nearly succeeded in beating Kubota for 2nd, running 28:49.50 for 3rd.  Muthee, a sub-28 man, was 4th, with Gebreselassie dropping out shortly after a short stint in the lead.

Defending national collegiate champion Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) was a DNS in the women's 10000 m, leaving the race wide open for sub-33 rival Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.). Unfortunately for Izawa she was less than 100% on the day and never factored into the race which suffered in quality as a result. A slow early pace stayed that way, with Izawa's teammates Hiromi Hikida and Maki Ashi finally stepping up late in the race to push ahead for the win. Tamagawa University's Hitomi Suzuki unexpectedly answered, and on the bell lap it was Suzuki who had the fastest close, getting the win in 34:01.34, more than five seconds better than Hikida.

92nd Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships
National Stadium, Tokyo, 5/18-19/13
click here for complete results

Div. I Men's 1500 m - 5/18
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:39.16 - MR/PB
2. Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:49.63
3. Kazuki Miyake (Chuo Univ.) - 3:49.67
4. Daiki Hirose (Meiji Univ.) - 3:50.07
5. Shinya Saito (Toyo Univ.) - 3:50.67

Div. II Men's 1500 m - 5/18
1. Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:49.52
2. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 3:50.01
3. Taketo Kumazaki (Teikyo Univ.) - 3:53.69

Div. I Men's 10000 m - 5/19
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:15.80 - PB
2. Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:21.30 - PB
3. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:31.14
4. Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) - 28:36.03
5. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:40.44
6. Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) - 28:41.10 - PB
7. Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) - 28:59.35
8. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 29:00.02
9. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:01.94
10. Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 29:03.45

Div. II Men's 10000 m - 5/19
1. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:39.52
2. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:48.77
3. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:49.50
4. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 29:09.73
5. Hiroki Yamagishi (Jobu Univ.) - 29:13.61
DNF - Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.)

Women's 10000 m - 5/18
1. Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.) - 34:01.34
2. Hiromi Hikida (Nittai Univ.) - 34:07.36
3. Maki Ashi (Nittai Univ.) - 34:11.41
4. Yuko Kikuchi (Hakuoh Univ.) - 34:14.96
5. Mari Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:15.18
6. Nami Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) - 34:15.40
7. Rika Saito (Chuo Univ.) - 34:19.08
8. Azusa Kurusu (Juntendo Univ.) - 34:20.09
9. Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 34:24.88
10. Chitose Shibata (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 34:27.53

text and photos (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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