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Niiya Tears It Up With Solo 31:06.67 National Championships Meet Record

by Brett Larner
photos by Mika Tokairin
videos by okukon

Reaching all-time Japanese #3 for 10000 m with a 30:59.19 at the London Olympics, last year's 5000 m women's national champion Hitomi Niiya (Team Universal Ent.) took her first 10000 m national title in aggressive style June 7 at the first day of the Japanese National Track and Field Championships, lapping the entire field as she soloed a meet record 31:06.67 to secure a place on the Moscow World Championships team and earn the #2 spot in the world so far this year, less than two seconds behind Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan's 31:04.85.

Running in the lead pack through 3000 m in 9:32, Niiya dropped a 3:00 split for the fourth km to blow the race apart and go it alone.  Pushing on, she ran alone right on national record pace for the final 7000 m split, picking off the rest of the field one by one and, in the home straight, kicking past eventual 2nd, 3rd and 4th-place finishers Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku), Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) and Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) to finish more than 400 m up on the rest of the field.  Her performance was all the more impressive in that it was her first major appearance since a rare bad run at this year's World XC Championships.  As the only Japanese woman to currently hold an A-standard 10000 m time she may be alone in Moscow, but based on today in a faster race the long-standing national record of 30:48.89 set by Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) in 2003 is surely a target.

London Olympian Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) was the only other athlete to guarantee himself a place in Moscow, winning the men's pole vault in an A-standard 5.70 m ahead of national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) who only cleared a B-standard 5.60 m.  Women's javelin national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) won again in a B-standard 60.41 m to give herself a chance of selection for the Moscow team.  Behind her, Tsukuba University's Kiho Kuze set a women's national junior record of 58.98 m.  In the men's 3000 mSC, Minato Yamashita (Team NTN) outran top-ranked men Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) to win a PB of 8:33.57, unfortunately missing the B-standard by less than two seconds.

In qualifying rounds, London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) earned himself the top-seeded spot in the men's 100 m final, winning Heat One in 10.14 (+0.3).  High school sensation Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) won Heat Two in 10.28 (+0.9), the next fastest time in either heat after Yamagata's.  Beijing Olympics 4x100 m bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) made it in to the final in 10.33 behind Kiryu, but London Olympian and past national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas) faltered and failed to advance beyond Heat One.

Women's 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) easily made it to the final seeded #1 in 11.38 (+1.9), but her longtime rival Momoko Takahashi (Team Fujitsu) was nohwere to be seen, 6th of seven in Heat Two in 12.02 (+0.2).  Long ranked #1 nationally in the men's 400 m, Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) likewise easily went to the final maintaining his rank after running 46.57 to win Heat Three. Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko) had a busy afternoon, advancing to the final in both the women's 400 m and 400 mH, while men's 400 mH favorite Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) had no trouble clearing his heat as he won in a conservative 50.93, the slowest winning time of the event's four heats.

The Japanese National Track and Field Championships continue Saturday and Sunday.

97th Japanese National Track and Field Championships Day One
Ajinomoto Stadium, Chofu, Tokyo, 6/7/13
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 31:06.67 - MR
2. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:16.58
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 32:17.17
4. Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:20.87
5. Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:37.10
6. Ayumi Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 32:37.65
7. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:39.90
8. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:41.82
9. Yuka Inami (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 33:00.21
10. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 33:41.25

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Minato Yamashita (Team NTN) - 8:33.57 - PB
2. Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:33.82
3. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8:36.17

Men's Pole Vault
1. Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) - 5.70 m
2. Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) - 5.60 m
3. Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) - 5.50 m

Women's Long Jump
1. Saeko Okayama (Hiroshima JOC) - 6.59 m (-0.3) - PB
2. Sachiko Masumi (Team Kyudenko) - 6.54 m (+0.1)
3. Yurina Hiraka (Hokusho Univ.) - 6.32 m (+0.0)

Women's Discus
1. Ai Shikimoto (Kokushikan Club) - 52.86 m
2. Ayumi Takahashi (Tsukuba Univ.) - 52.74 m
3. Marika Tokai (I most AC) - 50.28 m - PB

Women's Javelin
1. Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 60.41 m
2. Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.) - 58.98 - NJR
3. Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 56.22 m

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photos (c) 2013 Mika Tokairin
all rights reserved


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