by Brett Larner
After winning the 1500 m in 4:09.90 to find herself ranked 5th in the world among juniors over that distance, Aomori Yamada High School's Rosemary Wanjiru was back in the 3000 m with the performance of the meet on the final day of the Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships in Oita, outclassing her competition by over fifteen seconds to win in a personal best, meet record and world junior-leading 8:49.32. With her nearest competition, Sendai Ikuei High School ringer Mariam Waithira just holding off top-ranked Japanese runner Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) for 2nd in 9:04.68, Wanjiru continued a steady progression over the last years that suggests she is a prime candidate to follow in the footsteps of Aomori Yamada's most famous Kenyan graduate, two-time Olympian Lucy Wangui Kabuu.
Plenty of other events over the second half of the championships likewise saw meet records, making this year one of the most competitive on record. Most notably, in the boys' 110 m hurdles final Takumu Furuya (Soyo H.S.) set a national high school record and meet record 13.92 s (+0.4 m/s), the only boy to clear 14 seconds. After running undefeated through the heats, semis and finals of the 100 m and 4x100 m relay, Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) continued his winning streak through the qualifying rounds of the boys' 200 m before setting a meet record 20.66 s (-1.4 m/s) to win the final. As in the girls' walks, the boys' 5000 m racewalk saw a new meet record of 20:55.24 as Toshikazu Nishiyama (Horikawa H.S.) held off Takahiro Hiwada (Shikama Kogyo H.S.) for the win. Ryoma Yamamoto (Isahaya Nogyo H.S.) also pulled out a meet record 15.79 m (-1.3 m/s) in the boys' triple jump.
For a breakdown of the major results from the first half of the National High School Track and Field Championships, click here. Complete results are available here. Reader Bruce Carrick gives a detailed breakdown sure to bring many down of how the Japanese high school results stack up against the best of the U.S. here, well worth a read for a more complete picture of the overall health of Japanese high school athletics. As Carrick says of the girls' 3000 m, "You'd have to go to USA big school (NCAA Div 1) collegiates to see a race of this caliber."
(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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