Skip to main content

Takahashi to Lead New Japan Post Women's Corporate Team

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20131001-00000000-spnavi-spo

translated by Brett Larner

The Japan Post Group held a press conference Oct. 1 in Tokyo to formally launch its new women's distance running team.  Masahiko Takahashi, who helped train Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former world record holder Naoko Takahashi and two-time Olympic marathon medalist Yuko Arimori, was named to the team's leadership position along with the announcement of an initial lineup of five female athletes headed by 2013 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.).

Scheduled to get underway at the start of the new fiscal year on April 1, 2014, the women's distance team is the first fully sports-oriented team that the Japan Post Group has sponsored since its founding.  The strong and deep parallel between the postal service's mission of faithfully delivering letters and the ekiden's ideal of passing on the tasuki to those yet to come was the precipitating factor in the decision to sponsor the team.  The new team's goals are both to win the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships and to develop athletes competitive at the international level, with an eye to both the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 150th anniversary of the postal service's founding.  With only five athletes the team is not yet ekiden-ready, but the team management's goal is to have a fully-operational squad of twelve women within three years.

With a record of success training world-class athletes, head coach Takahashi spoke of his goals, commenting, "This will be my first time working to develop young athletes.  It's important to help already-established athletes to refine what they are doing, but in terms of the potential to see how much someone can change and progress, [the chance to work with young athletes] is incredibly exciting and worthwhile."

Attending the press conference as a special guest, noted sports journalist Akemi Masuda interviewed the team's athletes.  Asked why she chose the Japan Post Group team from among the countless corporate league teams eager to sign her, Suzuki said, "I really wanted to be part of a team that was starting from zero, and to help build it together with Coach Takahashi."  Of her personal goals she said with confidence, "To begin with, I want to become as strong as I can on the track over 5000 m and 10000 m."

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Terrific reason. You've got to love the Japanese....

I don't recall the US Postal service, when they sponsored the cycling team, saying anything about fast bike riding symbolizing fast mail delivery.

Most-Read This Week

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Nittai University Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe Fired Over Abuse Scandal

On Sept. 12 Nittai University announced that it will fire ekiden team head coach Masaaki Watanabe, 55, over the current power harassment scandal surrounding him. According to the university's public relations office, interviews by the alumni association with five current and one former team member reported multiple acts of violence by Watanabe including kicking athletes' legs and grabbing them by the chest.

The interviews also reported that Watanabe verbally abused and threatened student athletes and attacked their character. When runners fell off pace during workouts he was reported to have shouted, "Get the hell out of this university!" and, following the runners in a car, "I am going to f*cking run you over and kill you." Injured team members were also reported to have been subject to verbal humiliation by Watanabe, including, "Look at this f*cking cripple," and "You f*cking deserve it." Watanabe admitted the accusations but said tha…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…