Skip to main content

National Track and Field Championships Start Today

by Brett Larner

The 2013 Japanese National Track and Field Championships kick off today at western Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium, three days of top-level domestic action with places on the national team for August's Moscow World Championships at stake.  The Federation set multi-tiered standards for Worlds qualification this year.  Any athlete with an A-standard mark who wins their event will automatically be on the team.  Likewise for any athlete clearing an ambitious set of special qualifying marks, in many cases better than the Japanese national records, and finishes in the top eight.  Any other A or B-standard athlete who makes the top three will also be given consideration.

Below is a quick guide to the Day One finals with the best head-to-head competitions and the most people likely to go on to Moscow.  Click here for complete entry lists.  JRN will be on-site to cover the meet each day, so check back for detailed coverage as the weekend progresses.

Women's 10000 m - June 7
Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) ran 30:59.19 at last summer's London Olympics and comes into Nationals as the only woman with a valid A-standard.  Having broken the Federation's special qualifying mark of 31:12.79 she is guaranteed a place in Moscow if she finishes in the top eight.  That should be a given, but she has been out of competition since a disastrous run at this year's World Cross Country Championships and is a large question mark.  Likewise for junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno), on the list with a best of 31:10.02 but out of sight since last year's Olympic Trials.  Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) looks like the favorite, just missing the A-standard at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in 31:45.29 but coming in strong.  1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) also holds a B-standard mark and could be in competition for a place if she is at full fitness after returning from training with American coach James Li.  Likewise for Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku), holder of an A-standard 31:43.25 best but entering Nationals just off the B-standard in 32:07.70.  37-year-old Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) is the only other woman in the field to have ever broken the A-standard but holds a season best of only 32:20.98.

Men's 3000 mSC - June 7
No Japanese men have hit the 8:32.00 World Championships B-standard, but past national champions Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) and Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) have both improved their bests this season and are just a step away, Shinoto at 8:32.79 and Takeda at 8:33.48.  A good one-on-one race could see the victor make it.

Men's Pole Vault - June 7
Three men, Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu), Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) and Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) have hit the 5.70 m A-standard mark, and with their nearest competition at only the 5.40 m level all three should make the national team if they go 1-2-3.

Women's Javelin Throw - June 7
Holding down the women's side of the current golden era of Japanese javelin, Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) set a national record of 62.83 m to clear the A-standard this season.  A top three finish will get her to Moscow, and with the next best competitor, Yuka Sato (Higashi Osaka Univ.), just under the B-standard in 59.22 m there isn't much chance of that not happening.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…