translated by Brett Larner
On day three of the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia, Ryota Yamagata (21, Keio Univ.) ran 10.21 in the men's 100 m final for 2nd, becoming the third man in Japanese history to win a 100 m medal after Hideo Ojima's gold at the 1965 Budapest Games and Masashi Eriguchi's bronze in Beograd in 2009.
With the silver medal hung around his neck, Yamagata had a bright, delighted expression as he stood on the podium. Although he missed becoming Japan's first gold medalist in 48 years, his second place finish came in the midst of a pack of three athletes all clocking the same time. "I lost, but I gave it what I had and did my best," he said with calm maturity.
In the final the athletes on both sides of Yamagata were black, but he showed no signs of being intimidated and was the second-fastest out of the blocks after the starting pistol with a reaction time of 0.157. His acceleration was smooth and graceful, but after the halfway point the South African athlete who won pulled away to open a gap of 0.11 seconds. With cold rain falling during the final Yamagata clocked 10.21, missing a chance to become Japan's first man sub-10. "That was so-so," he commented post-race. "I wanted to run a little better time than that, but I felt good."
In August Yamagata will be back in Russia for the Moscow World Championships. "I want to sharpen things up and get stronger before the main event," he said.