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Japan Scores Five Half Marathon Medals to Cap World University Games

by Brett Larner

Five days after winning bronze in the women's 10000 m behind gold medalist Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) Mai Tsuda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) bookended Japan's 2013 World University Games with another gold as she outkicked 10000 m silver medalist Alina Prokopyeva (Russia) by five seconds over the final kilometer to win the women's half marathon in 1:13:12 on the final day of athletics competition.  Tsuda and Prokopyeva sat in a pack of nine made up entirely of Japanese and Russian athletes through 15 km before pulling away as a pair, crossing 20 km in 1:09:42 with Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) alone four seconds back in 3rd.  Prokopyeva was outclassed in the final stage of the race and could only watch Tsuda surge away for the gold medal as she took silver in 1:13:18. Okuno held on to the bronze medal position in 1:13:24, nine seconds ahead of Russian Lyudmila Lebedeva.  Although the Russians' third runner came through ahead of Japan's, on aggregate time Japan took the team gold medal by just eight seconds over Russia, China a distant 3rd.

Tsuda's 10000 m teammates Suzuki and Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) also doubled, both running the 5000 m.  Behind Romanian Roxana Elisabeta Birca and Russian Olga Golovkina Suzuki won bronze in 15:51.47.  In a replay of the 10000 m Shoji was shut out of the medals as she placed 4th.

In the men's half marathon national collegiate champion Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) was the only runner to go with the three-member South African team from the gun. Outlasting Xolisane Zamkele, Nakamura lost touch with eventual winner Sibabalwe Gladwin Mzazi and 10000 m gold medalist Stephen Mokoka with 5 km to go.  Mzazi took the sprint finish over Mokoka for gold in 1:03:37, Mokoka clocking the same time to add a silver to his 10000 m gold, Nakamura fading to 1:04:21 for bronze.  Hiroki Yamagishi (Jobu Univ.) led the main chase pack for much of the race and was rewarded with a 4th-place finish in 1:04:41.  2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University captain Shota Hattori took 5th in 1:05:00 to round out Japan's team scoring, but despite Zamkele dropping to 7th in 1:05:38 South Africa came out ahead on aggregate time to win the team gold in 3:12:52.  Japan won silver in 3:14:02, hosts Russia picking up bronze in 3:16:38.

Japan's other medals all came courtesy of student members of the 2012 London Olympics team.  Two-time national champion Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) took silver in the men's pole vault, while on the track men's 100 m national champion Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) earned silver and 200 m national champion Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) bronze.  Yamagata and Iizuka also formed half of the men's 4x100 m squad which took silver behind a surprisingly strong Ukraine.  All three medalists are due to compete again in Russia next month at the Moscow World Championships. 

2013 Summer Universiade Summary of Japanese Medalists in Athletics
Kazan, Russia, July 7-12, 2013
click here for complete results

Overall Medal Count:   gold: 3   silver: 4   bronze: 5
Men:   gold: 0   silver: 4   bronze: 2
Women:   gold: 3   silver: 0   bronze: 3

Women's Half Marathon - Individual - July 12
1. Mai Tsuda (Japan) - 1:13:12
2. Alina Prokopyeva (Russia) - 1:13:18
3. Yukiko Okuno (Japan) - 1:13:24
4. Lyudmila Lebedeva (Russia) - 1:13:33
5. Elena Sedova (Russia) - 1:13:58
6. Hitomi Suzuki (Japan) - 1:14:05
7. Ayako Mitsui (Japan) - 1:14:10
8. Natalia Novichkova (Russia) - 1:14:31
9. Yasuka Ueno (Japan) - 1:14:50
10. Olga Skrypak (Ukraine) - 1:15:25

Women's Half Marathon - Team
1. Japan - 3:40:41
2. Russia - 3:40:49
3. China - 3:57:30

Men's Half Marathon - Individual - July 12
1. Sibabalwe Gladwin Mzazi (South Africa) - 1:03:37
2. Stephen Mokoka (South Africa) - 1:03:37
3. Shogo Nakamura (Japan) - 1:04:21
4. Hiroki Yamagishi (Japan) - 1:04:41
5. Shota Hattori (Japan) - 1:05:00
6. Andrey Leyman (Russia) - 1:05:08
7. Xolisane Zamkele (South Africa) - 1:05:38
8. Toshikatsu Ebina (Japan) - 1:05:39
9. Anatoly Rybakov (Russia) - 1:05:41
10. Artem Aplachkin (Russia) - 1:05:49
-----
20. Yuta Shitara (Japan) - 1:08:25

Men's Half Marathon - Team
1. South Africa - 3:12:52
2. Japan - 3:14:02
3. Russia - 3:16:38

Women's 10000 m - July 7
1. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan) - 32:54.17
2. Alina Prokopyeva (Russia) - 33:00.93
3. Mai Tsuda (Japan) - 33:14.59
4. Mai Shoji (Japan) - 33:22.83
5. Natalia Puchkova (Russia) - 33:27.52

Women's 5000 m - July 11
1. Roxana Elisabeta Birca (Romania) - 15:39.76
2. Olga Golovkina (Russia) - 15:43.77
3. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan) - 15:51.47
4. Mai Shoji (Japan) - 16:11.90
5. Dudu Karakaya (Turkey) - 16:12.77

Men's 200 m - Final - July 10
1. Anaso Jobodwana (South Africa) - 20.00
2. Rasheed Dwyer (Jamaica) - 20.23
3. Shota Iizuka (Japan) - 20.33

Men's 100 m - Final - July 8 - +0.5 m/s
1. Anaso Jobodwana (South Africa) - 10.10 - PB
2. Ryota Yamagata (Japan) - 10.21
3. Hua Wilfried Serge Koffi (Cote d'Ivoire) - 10.21 - PB

Men's 4x100 m Relay - Final - July 12
1. Ukraine - 38.56
2. Japan - 39.12
3. Poland - 39.29

Men's Pole Vault - July 11
1. Gavin Kendricks (U.S.A.) - 5.60 m
2. Seito Yamamoto (Japan) - 5.60 m
3. Nikita Filippov (Kazakhstan) - 5.50 m

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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