Tuesday, July 30, 2013

'Citizen Can'

I will never become the fastest runner, but I'm doing my best to become the strongest.
                                                                                                          --Yuki Kawauchi


The August/September issue of Australia's Run For Your Life magazine features my extended story on Gold Coast and Sydney Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) including the most in-depth interview with Kawauchi available in English.  Click here for ordering information.  Single-issue purchase is available.

Monday, July 29, 2013

'Karoki in Favour of Searing Pace to Burn Opposition'

http://www.nation.co.ke/sports/athletics/Karoki-in-favour-of-searing-pace/-/1100/1929848/-/4huomuz/-/index.html

Note: The photo caption in the linked article incorrectly identifies the athletes on the Kenyan 10000 m squad.  Kyushu-based Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) is third from the right in red, while Tokyo-based Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) is rightmost in blue.

Five Meet Records at Twilight Games - Weekend Roundup

by Brett Larner

The threat of heavy rain held off for Sunday's 10th edition of the Twilight Games meet at Tokyo's Oda Field, allowing meet records in five of the meet's twenty-three events.  Both the men's and women's 1500 m saw new records, the men's by Kanto Regionals 1500 m champion Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) just off his PB in 3:40.84 and the women's via Daito Bunka University ace Chikako Mori, who just held off Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) in the last 100 m for the record in 4:20.24 with Iino 0.23 seconds behind and also under the old record.

The men's 4x100 m and women's 4x400 m relays both saw multiple teams break the record, Chuo University winning the 4x100 m in 39.18 without its star member, 200 m national champion Shota Iizuka, and Nittai University leading four women's 4x400 m teams under the old record in 3:43.75 thanks in large part to a spectacular anchor run from senior Misaki Ishibashi.  The men's high jump saw the other record of the day, with pro Taira Omata (Mizuno AC) jumping 2.22 m to defeat a mostly-collegiate crowd.

The big draw of the meet was the men' 100 m, where national champion Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) made an appearance in preparation for the Moscow World Championships.  Yamgata lived up to pre-race words that he was not focusing on time after just completing a period of intensive training, easily winning in 10.23 +0.1 m/s as he concentrated on the technical aspects of his race.  The meet's other main event, the men's javelin, suffered due to the withdrawal of 2012 national champion and London Olympian Roderick Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.).

Overseas, a large contingent of Japanese men continued their stay on the European summer circuit at Belgium's Memorial Rasschaert meet.  2010 World Half Marathon 9th-placer and former Toyo University star Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) continued his comeback from almost two flat years, taking the top Japanese position in the men's 5000 m in 13:40.46 for 6th.  This year's 5000 m national champion Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) ran 13:46.85 for 8th, just beating Nationals runner-up Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) and Hoshi's former Komazawa University teammate Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) who rounded out the top ten.

In the U.S., two members of the Panasonic women' team made a relatively undistinguished appearance at the Bix 7 road race, Rina Yamazaki taking 8th in 38:16 and steepler Hitomi Nakamura 12th in a weak 40:00.  Yamazaki's most noteworthy achievement was beating 2011 Boston Marathon runner-up Desi Davila (U.S.A.), 10th in 38:34 as she returns from a long injury cycle.

10th Twilight Games - Highlights
Oda Field, Tokyo, 7/28/13
click here for complete results

Men's 1500 m
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:40.84 - MR
2. Tsukasa Anzai (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:44.98
3. Shogo Hata (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:46.14
4. Yasunori Kusu (Team Komori Corp.) - 3:47.09
5. Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:47.26

Women's 1500 m
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:20.24 - MR
2. Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:20.47 (MR)
3. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:21.79
4. Rina Koeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:28.35
5. Natsuno Furuya (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:28.70

Men's 100 m +0.1 m/s
1. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 10.23
2. Asuka Cambridge (Nihon Univ.) - 10.33
3. Ryo Onabuta (Chuo Univ.) - 10.34
4. Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 10.44
5. Takumi Kuki (Waseda Univ.) - 10.50

Women's 4x400 m Relay
1. Nittai Univ. (Nakada/Shiranaga/Watanabe/Ishibashi) - 3:43.75 - MR
2. Chuo Univ. (Shintaku/Sugawara/Hatori/Kira) - 3:44.17 (MR)
3. Tsuru Bunka Univ. (Yamaguchi/Okita/Nishida/Ikejima) - 3:44.50 (MR)
4. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. (Omori/Umemoto/Toki/Nakamura) - 3:44.59 (MR)
5. Tokyo Joshi Taiiku Univ.) (Otomo/Muramoto/Tokizawa/Kojima) - 3:48.31

Men's 4x100 m Relay
1. Chuo Univ. (Onabuta/Taniguchi/Naoki/Matsumra) - 39.18 - MR
2. Hosei Univ. (Nishigaki/Oseto/Kobayashi/Ishikawa) - 39.48 (MR)
3. Waseda Univ. (Takei/Naganuma/Kakehata/Tamai) - 40.26
4. Josai Univ. (Suzuki/Honma/Koji/Nakazawa) - 40.32
5. Toyo Univ. (Kozasa/Kobayashi/Arai/Watanabe) - 40.62

Men's High Jump
1. Taira Omata (Mizuno AC) - 2.22 m - MR
2. Naoto Tobe (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2.19 m
3. Ryo Sato (Tokai Univ.) - 2.19 m
4. Takaya Sugawara (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 2.10 m
5. Hiroaki Akai (Aichi Meiya Club) - 2.10 m

23rd Memorial Rasschaert Meet
Ninove, Belgium, 7/27/13

Men's 5000 m
1. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 13:27.32
2. Bachir Youssouf Hiss (Djibouti) - 13:28.20
3. Bobby Curtis (U.S.A.) - 13:29.79
4. Koen Naert (Belgium) - 13:34.31
5. Olle Wallerang (Sweden) - 13:34.74
6. Tomoya Onishi (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:40.46
7. Soufiane Bouchikhi (Belgium) - 13:43.55
8. Sota Hoshi (Japan/Team Fujitsu) - 13:46.85
9. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:48.05
10. Takuya Fukatsu (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:49.41
-----
13. Hiromitsu Kakuage (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:53.78
16. Minato Oishi (Japan/Team Toyota) - 14:03.14
17. Ryo Kiname Japan/Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 14:09.37
19. Yohei Nishiyama (Japan/Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 14:12.23

39th Quad City Times Bix 7
Davenport, Iowa, 7/27/13

Women
1. Sule Utura (Ethiopia) - 36:34
2. Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) - 36:39
3. Caroline Rotich (Kenya) - 37:02
4. Adrienne Herzog (Netherlands) - 37:06
5. Jane Murage (Kenya) - 37:20
6. Betsy Saina (Kenya) - 37:25
7. Diane Nukuri-Johnson (Burundi) - 37:31
8. Rina Yamazaki (Japan/Team Panasonic) - 38:16
9. Makida Abdela (Kenya) - 38:33
10. Desi Davila (U.S.A.) - 38:34
-----
12. Hitomi Nakamura (Japan/Team Panasonic) - 40:00

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kawauchi Breaks Own Course Record for Third-Straight Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Win (updated)

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/p-sp-tp0-20130729-1164794.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

After withering in the heat of last weekend's Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon, Moscow World Championships men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was back in form July 28 with a win at the 41st Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km road race in Hokkaido.  Running an entirely solo race in 27-degree temperatures, Kawauchi broke his own 1:33:55 course record from two years ago with a new mark of 1:33:27 to take his third-straight Kushiro title just three weeks after his win at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon.   While he struggled in similar conditions in Shibetsu, this time Kawauchi ran full-strength, staying on his feet after finishing and able to walk back to the change room under his own power.

Kushiro was Kawauchi's last race before the Aug. 17 World Championships marathon and followed his 22nd-place finish in 1:06:45 in Shibetsu.  "I'm glad everything tallied up on the final balance sheet," he said afterwards.  "I'd rate this just barely 80%, but it's enough to see me off [to Moscow] feeling positive.  Two failures in a row would make me anxious, so I was pretty nervous this time and wasn't very nice before the race."  Indeed, the day before the race Kawauchi had been unusually terse, but liberated from stress post-race he was out shaking hands and talking lightheartedly with fans, even posing for photos with a life-sized poster of himself.

On a commemorative placard celebrating Japan's traditional Festival of the Stars Kawauchi wrote "Top six at the World Championships."  Two years ago at the Daegu World Championships he finished 18th after leading the first 5 km.  "It doesn't mean anything just to say that you ran assertively," he said.  This time around, carefully monitoring the race development, he is shooting for something much higher up among the stars.

Kawauchi's complete (?) 2013 race schedule so far: Twenty-two races run, fourteen wins, eight course records, three PBs, one all-comers' record.

Jan. 13: Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon, Tokyo: 1:05:31, 1st
Jan. 18: Egyptian Marathon, Luxor: 2:12:24 - ACR/CR, 1st
Jan. 20: Saitama Ekiden 3rd Stage (11.9k), Saitama: 36:54, 2nd
Jan. 27: Okumusashi Ekiden 4th Stage (4.679k), Hanno: 13:00 - CR, 1st
Feb. 3: Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, Oita: 2:08:15 - CR/PB, 1st
Feb. 17: Kumanichi 30 km, Kumamoto: 1:29:31 - CR/PB, 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Tamana: 1:03:12, 2nd
Mar. 17: Seoul Int'l Marathon, Seoul: 2:08:14 - PB, 4th
Mar. 24: Saitama City Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:52, 1st
Apr. 7: Satte Sakura 10-Miler: cancelled due to bad weather
Apr. 14: Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:06:28, 1st
Apr. 21: Nagano Marathon: 2:14:27, 1st
Apr. 28: Oda Memorial Meet GP Men's 5000 m, Hiroshima: 14:09.88, 18th
May 4: Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon: guest run - started at rear of field and tried to chase everyone down; finished 10th with no time recorded
May 5: Toyohiragawa Half Marathon, Toyohiragawa: 1:05:45, 1st
May 12: Sendai Int'l Half Marathon, Sendai: 1:03:30, 10th
May 19: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:05:05, 14th
May 26: Kurobe Meisui Half Marathon, Kurobe: 1:03:58 - CR, 1st
June 2: Chitose Int'l Marathon, Chitose: 2:18:29 - CR, 1st
June 16: Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km, Oki: 2:57:28, 1st
July 7: Gold Coast Airport Marathon: 2:10:01 - CR tie, 1st
July 21: Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon - 1:06:45, 22nd
July 28: Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Road Race - 1:33:27 - CR, 1st

Still to come:
Aug. 17: Moscow World Championships marathon
Sept. 29: Hakodate Half Marathon
Oct. 6: Hirosaki Shirakami Apple Half Marathon
Oct. 13: Melbourne Marathon
Nov. 17: Ageo City Half Marathon
Nov. 24: Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon
Dec. 1: Fukuoka International Marathon
Dec. 15: Hofu Yomiuri Marathon
and more.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Matsumoto and Daugherty Win Fuji Mountain Race

http://mainichi.jp/feature/news/20130727k0000m040056000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

With Mt. Fuji newly named to the World Heritage Site list, the 66th Fuji Mountain Race took place July 26 on a course starting at 769 m elevation in front of Fujiyoshida City Hall and ending 21 km and more than 3000 m climb later at the summit, along with a 15 km race halfway up the mountain ending at its Fifth Stage.

In the summit division, Dai Matsumoto (29, Gunma Pref.) won the men's race in 2:49:40.  American Leah Daugherty (28) won the women's race in 3:23:47.  In the Fifth Stage race, Naoto Ikuta (33, Tokyo) won for the second time, while veteran Yoshimi Hoshino (47, Shizuoka) won a third title.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Quotes From Niiya, Sato, Kawauchi, Yamagata and Iizuka at Japan's Pre-World Championships Press Conference

translated and edited by Brett Larner
source articles at bottom

The Japanese national team for August's Moscow World Championships appeared at a press conference on July 25 at the Ajinomoto National Training Center in Kita-ku, Tokyo.

10000 m national champion Hitomi Niiya (25, Team Univ. Ent.) revealed that recently she has gotten into an eccentrically bizarre new hobby.  "Watching videos of animals giving birth," she said.  As she gained more international experience at the Daegu World Championships and last year's London Olympics, anxiety became more and more of an issue because, she said,  "I'm in pursuit of perfection."  To help relieve the stress and anxiety she took up watching the videos on an online site.  "Did you know that when dogs give birth the mother eats the umbilical cord?  It's true," she said.  "We're not allowed to have pets in our team dormitory, so I go to pet shops all the time.  It helps me forget about running."  Is she going to run like an animal in Moscow?  Her goal is to make the top six.

Men's 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (26, Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran an all-time Japanese third-best 13:13.60 for 5000 m at the July 13 KBC Night of Athletics in Belgium, missing the national record by 0.41 seconds but finishing only 8th.  "I definitely got to experience how high the standard is at the international level," he said with a tightened facial expression.  "If I let myself by satisfied with this then I'll never get any better."  In his second-straight World Championships Sato said he is shooting for a time goal.  "I want to break my PB in the 10000 m," he said with confidence.  With regard to placing he said, "I'm aiming for a place in the single digits.  I'm ready for that."

Marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't.) is also running his second-straight World Championships after running the marathon in Daegu.  "This is my second time, so I know that I have to do something to improve on last time," he said.  "I think the best approach is to make use of my experience.  I have to be ready for any type of race no matter how it develops.  In the first half I'm going to run in an inconspicuous position, and when somebody makes a move I will be right there to go after them."  Daegu was only Kawauchi's third time racing outside Japan, but, he said, "Since then I've raced in Australia, Germany, Bulgaria and Egypt and have gotten a lot of international experience, so I am not afraid to compete against the rest of the world.  I think that if I can bring my best performance then a top six finish is realistic."

In the men's sprints, 100 m national champion Ryota Yamagata (21, Keio Univ.), the rival of Yoshihide Kiryu (17, Rakunan H.S.) in the race for Japan's first sub-10 clocking, said, "Right now I'm feeling nervous.  I've got to turn that around at some point."  Kiryu was absent from the press conference, but up until the day before Yamagata was training with him and the rest of the 4x100 m relay team, focusing on improving the team's baton work. Seeing Kiryu in action forced Yamagata to up his time goal as well.  "Kiryu must have been training in secret because he was looking incredibly smooth," he said.

Asked about recent revelations of widespread doping at the top level of the sport Yamagata took a positive outlook, saying, "I'm a track fan too so it's really sad, but it gives the rest of us more of a chance, for sure."  With the cheating American and Jamaican athletes having kept him from realizing his dream of becoming Japan's first sprinter to make an Olympic men's 100 m final and from defending Japan's 4x100 m Olympic bronze, the downturn in those countries' fortunes can only be a plus this time around. Yamagata will run in Sunday's Twilight Games at Oda Field in Tokyo.  With few races on his schedule the Twilight Games' main purpose for him will be to maintain his racing sense, but, he said, "It's a valuable opportunity, so I want to run my best there."

Kiryu and Yamagata's 4x100 m relay teammate, 200 m national champion Shota Iizuka (22, Chuo Univ.), has promised a full revolution.  Doubling in the 200 m and the relay, Iizuka potentially faces three races in the individual event and two in the relay, something he is looking forward to.  "I'm going to run all five races with all my strength," he said.  "The relay final is on the last day, so I have to stay focused right to the end."  Earlier this month Iizuka won bronze at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, and still feels some fatigue.  "My body is still a little stiff," he said, but he plans to sweat out the fatigue with his usual weight and training routines.  "I'm not feeling bad, so I just have to be careful about injury," he said.  Like his 100 m counterparts, Iizuka hopes to achieve his dream of Japan's first sub-20 time and then to follow up with a relay medal.

Source articles:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DeNA's Seko Holds Team's First Public Coaching Session

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130718-1159625.html

translated by Brett Larner

Late last week in Tokyo the DeNA Running Club held its first public coaching session since the team was founded in April.  DeNA head coach Toshihiko Seko (57) greeted fifteen amateur runners who responded to ads for the session, joking, "Let's have a good time running today.  This is a class, but the training session will be pretty leisurely.  School will really be in session when we go drinking afterwards."

The session started at 7:00 p.m. in the busy Udagawacho shopping district of Shibuya, heading up Spain Hill to Yoyogi Park.  Meeting up with other runners already waiting in the park, the group ran together in Yoyogi Park before returning to the Tip.X Tokyo training gym in Udagawacho.  Altogether the session took around 1 1/2 hours.

The DeNA Running Club formed to absorb the remnants of the S&B Foods team.  "DeNA was kind enough to take us on, and we will contribute to them through our running activities," said Seko.  "In the future we will hold these sessions once or twice a month, including ones with elementary school students."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Imai and Ito Win Shibetsu Half Marathon in 29-Degree Temperatures

http://www.niigata-nippo.co.jp/world/sports/20130721055950.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130721/ath13072115580000-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Former Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage star Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) won the July 21 Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon, tying the course record of 1:03:24.  Defending champion Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) won the women's race in 1:12:27, with rookie Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu) taking the women's 10 km in 33:24. Last year's men's winner, Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), ended his day in 22nd after running only 1:06:45.

With temperatures climbing to 29 degrees, Kawauchi lost touch with the lead pack after 7 km.  By halfway he was 15 seconds behind, and in the second half he rapidly lost speed.  "My legs felt a little heavy," said Kawauchi.

Having done the race as part of his training it was something of a miss for the amateur runner.  "My goal here was not to completely blow it, but I blew it entirely.  I have to find a way to beat the heat," he added unhappily.  Including June's Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon where he suffered dehydration, Kawauchi has shown weakness running hot conditions.  Temperatures in Moscow in August average 22 degrees.  "That's better than other summer races," Kawauchi said.  "I'm glad they put it somewhere cool."

Following an acupuncture session to aid his recovery this week Kawauchi plans to run the July 28 Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km road race for his final pre-Worlds tuneup.  But with less than a month to go to the big day on August 17 his result in Shibetsu has to have left him with his share of uncertainty.

27th Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon and 10 km
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 7/21/13
click here for complete results

Men's Half Marathon
1. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:24 - CR tie
2. Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 1:03:41
3. Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:01 - PB
4. Shingo Mishima (Team Toyota) - 1:04:03
5. Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:04:04
6. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:04:13
7. Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:57
8. Kazuki Ikenaga (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:04:58
9. Shoya Kurokawa (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:05:06
10. Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 1:05:19
-----
22. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:06:45

Women's Half Marathon
1. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:12:27
2. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:12:52
3. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:54
4. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:14:16
5. Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) - 1:14:24
6. Shino Saito (Team Shimamura) - 1:14:27
7. Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) - 1:14:52
8. Ayaka Hitomi (Team Shimamura) - 1:15:24
9. Saki Tabata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:16:22
10. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) - 1:16:45

Women's 10 km
1. Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu) - 33:24
2. Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) - 33:50
3. Misato Tanaka (Team Sysmex) - 33:53
4. Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 33:56
5. Yui Okada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 34:03

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Diamond League Monaco Men's 5000 m Results

Monaco, 7/19/13
click here for complete results

1. Edwin Soi (Kenya) - 12:51.34 - MR
2. Albert Rop (Bahrain) - 12:51.96 - AR
3. Isiah Koech (Kenya) - 12:56.08
4. Thomas Longosiwa (Kenya) - 12:59.81
5. Lawi Lalang (Kenya) - 13:00.95 - PB
6. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 13:05.17
7. Augustine Choge (Kenya) - 13:11.02
8. Ben True (U.S.A.) - 13:13.98
9. Hayle Ibrahimov (Azerbaijan) - 13:27.94
10. Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 13:29.48
11. Alberto Lozano de Pedro (Spain) - 13:32.32
12. Yuki Sato (Japan/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:34.18
13. Andrew Bayer (U.S.A.) - 13:36.61
14. Yigrem Demelash (Ethiopia) - 13:39.97
15. Chris Thompson (Great Britain) - 13:40.26
DNF - Gideon Gathimba (Kenya)
DNF - Bernard Lagat (U.S.A.)
DNF - Vincent Rono (Kenya)
DNF - Nouredine Smail (France)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spitzen Leichathletik Luzern Men's 3000 m Results

Mittwoch, Switerland, July 17, 2013
click here for complete results

1. Cornelius Kangogo (Kenya) - 7:42.51
2. Evan Jager (U.S.A.) - 7:43.36
3. David Torrence (U.S.A.) - 7:43.48
4. Chris Derrick (U.S.A.) - 7:44.01
5. Daniel Huling (U.S.A.) - 7:44.42
6. Diego Estrada (Mexico) - 7:47.77
7. Gideon Gathimba (Kenya) - 7:48.74
8. Moses Mukono Letoyie (Kenya) - 7:51.71
9. Hicham Sigueni (Morocco) - 7:59.01
10. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 7:59.82
11. Ryo Kiname (Japan/Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 8:01.66
12. Andreas Kempf (Switzerland) - 8:15.08
13. Shinobu Kubota (Japan/Komazawa Univ.) - 8:15.66

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yamagata, Kiryu and More Getting Ready for World Championships in Domestic Meets This Month

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130714-1157211.html

translated by Brett Larner

With August's Moscow World Championships drawing near, the members of the Japanese national team are building toward their sharpening phase.  While the world focues on the Diamond League, some of the Japanese team's star members will be competing domestically at the Twilight Games and National High School Championships.

The July 28 Twilight Games at Shibuya's Oda Field will feature three members of the Moscow team, Ryota Yamagata (21, Keio Univ.) and Kei Takase (24, Team Fujitsu) in the men's 100 m, with Miyuki Fukumoto (36, Konan Gakuen AC) leading the women's high jump.  Yamagata, who beat teen sensation Yoshihide Kiryu (17, Rakunan H.S.) at last month's National Championships, comes to the Twilight Games in excellent shape after winning silver at last week's World University Games.  He is a strong contender in the race for Japan's first sub-10, but with a Federation-sponsored training camp on his schedule immediately before the Twilight Games it's doubtful he'll run the time there.  More likely is that he will use the race to work on his technique.  Under those circumstances anything under 10.20 would put him in good position to be competitive in the semi-finals at the World Championships.

One of Japan's leading mother athletes, Fukumoto is the type who builds toward peak fitness through high-level performances in a series of competitions.  It wouldn't be surprising to see her jump close to her National Championships-winning 1.90 m.

Other athletes who missed making the Moscow team will also be in the spotlight as they build back from disappointment.  Among them, javelin star Roderick Genki Dean (21, Waseda Univ.), 400 m hurdler Tetsuya Tateno (21, Chuo Univ.) and sprinter Takumi Kuki (21, Waseda Univ.) were all part of the Japanese men's team at the London Olympics.  Of particular interest is Dean.  In London he finished 10th, but this spring his condition slipped and he lost ground to rival Yukifumi Murakami (33, Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  At both the National Championships and the World University Games he threw only 78 m.  Fans will hope to see him get back on his feet with a return over-80 m territory.

On the second day of the July 30-Aug. 3 National High School Championships, Kiryu and Anna Doi (17, Saitama Sakae H.S.) are scheduled to run the 100 m.  Besides the 100 m, Kiryu is also entered to run the 200 m and 4x100 m relay, with the possibility of also running the 4x400 relay.  With a tough schedule like this it would be hard to run a fast time, but there are cases where the super-focused concentration of running in the biggest meet on the high school calendar has led to fast times.  There's no telling whether Kiryu could come out of it with a sub-10.

Having become the youngest post-war Japanese Olympian in athletics last year in London, Doi experienced back trouble in February and is off to a late start this season.  Her rival Yuki Jinbo (Kanazawa Nisui H.S.) has run 11.61 this year, better Doi's season best by 0.05 s.  Doi's best is the national high school record, 11.43.  If she cannot return to the 11.5 level it will be a challenge for her to win.

Relays and Walks Bring Japan World Youth Championships Medals

by Brett Larner

Despite several close calls, Japan went empty-handed for the first three days of the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.  Not until the July 13 race walks did its fortunes turn around.  In the women's 5000 m race walk, far behind Russian winner Olga Shargina's world-leading 22:13.91, Momoko Mizota narrowly held off Noemi Stella (Italy) for silver in a PB 22:42.77.

Less than an hour later, Toshikazu Yamanishi turned in Japan's only gold medal of the championships with a PB 41:53.80 in the men's 10000 m race walk, ten seconds ahead of silver medalist Maksim Krasnov (Russia) and bronze medalist Diego Garcia (Spain).  Just behind in 4th, Yuga Yamashita clocked a PB 42:07.94 but could not match Krasnov and Garcia on the final lap.

On the final day of competition, both the women's and men's medley relay teams picked up bronze, the women behind the U.S.A. and, by a step, British Virgin Islands, and the men behind Jamaica and the U.S.A.

8th IAAF World Youth Championships - Summary of Japanese Medalists
Donetsk, Ukraine, July 10-14, 2013
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Race Walk - July 13
1. Toshikazu Yamanishi (Japan) - 41:53.80 - PB
2. Maksim Krasnov (Russia) - 42:03.10 - PB
3. Diego Garcia (Spain) - 42:03.32 - PB
4. Yuga Yamashita (Japan) - 42:07.94 - PB
5. Nathan Brill (Australia) - 42:54.70

Women's 5000 m Race Walk - July 13
1. Olga Shargina (Russia) - 22:13.91 - PB
2. Momoko Mizota (Japan) - 22:42.77 - PB
3. Noemi Stella (Italy) - 22:48.95
4. Wenli Zhao (China) - 22:58.56 - PB
5. Klavdiia Afanasieva (Russia) - 23:33.24

Men's Medley Relay Final - July 14
1. Jamaica - 1:49.23
2. U.S.A. - 1:50.14
3. Japan - 1:50.52
4. Qatar - 1:52.55
5. Bahamas - 1:52.97
6. Poland - 1:53.36
7. Nigeria - 1:53.61
8. Hungary - 1:54.38

Women's Medley Relay Final - July 14
1. U.S.A. - 2:05.15
2. British Virgin Islands - 2:07.40
3. Japan - 2:07.61
4. Czech Republic - 2:08.55
5. Canada - 2:08.59
6. Hungary - 2:09.32
7. Italy - 2:10.64
DQ - China

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kawauchi Satisfied With "Heavy Training" at Mt. Zhao

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130714/ath13071416510002-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Moscow World Championships men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) talked to the media July 14 at his training camp at Mt. Zhao, Yamagata, his face showing satisfaction as he told reporters, "I've gotten good training done here where it's cool.  [The heat in] Saitama is unbelievable right now."

At 900 m altitude the mid-afternoon temperatures scarcely reach 25 degrees, making for good conditions for running.  On the 14th, just a week after running 2:10:01 to win Australia's Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Kawauchi completed 30 km on an undulating 2.5 km cross-country course.  "You could say my body was a bit heavy, so I wanted to see how much it could take," he said.

Kawauchi has been doing summer training at Mt. Zhao since his days at Kasukabe Higashi H.S. and Gakushuin University, always heading straight to a hot spring post-workout to soak away his fatigue.  "I love it here," he said.  "It makes me strong."  Other members of the Moscow team are doing extended training camps overseas and in remote locations within Japan, but in order not to impact his full-time job Kawauchi has made use of the long weekend to do three straight days of concentrated training.  "Every day here I'm doing high-density heavy training," he said of the camp's effectiveness.

In order to peak properly for the World Championships marathon on August 17, Kawauchi said, "There's only one path to follow from now to the final stages.  I have to prioritize making adjustments as I go."  He plans to run two more races to help sharpen his racing sense ahead of his second-straight World Championships, the July 21 Shibetsu Half Marathon and the July 28 Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Road Race.

Sato Runs All-Time Japanese #3 5000 m in Heusden

by Brett Larner

A large Japanese men's contingent returned this year to Heusden, the site of Takayuki Matsumiya's 13:13.20 national record for 5000 m, for the July 13 KBC Nacht meet. Moscow World Championships 10000 m team members and Saku Chosei H.S. graduates Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) ran the 5000 m A-heat in pursuit of A or B-standard times that would allow them the option of doubling in Moscow.  Sato, already all-time Japanese #2 over 3000 m and #3 over 10000 m, surprised by chopping ten seconds off his best to finish 8th just off the national record in 13:13.60 for another all-time Japanese #3 ranking.  Osako, who recently turned 22, came up short of the B-standard but went under 13:30 for the first time, finishing 17th in a new PB of 13:27.54.  Having cleared the World Championships A-standard, Sato is now the only Japanese man with the 5000 m A or B and could line up in both the 5 and 10, something that would have been hard to imagine just six months ago when he ran a halfhearted 2:16:31 marathon debut in Tokyo.

2012 national champion Komazawa University-related athletes featured heavily in the 5000 m B-heat.  2013 graduate Hiromitsu Kakuage (Team Konica Minolta) ran a PB of 13:32.22 for 4th with fellow alum Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) 9th in 13:42.54. Current Komazawa ace Shinobu Kubota scored a new PB of 13:45.50 in his first solid performance since a failed marathon debut at Lake Biwa in March, while 2013 5000 m national champion Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) was far off peak form in 14:28.99.  Among non-Komazawa men in the field, former Toyo University star Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) was just short of his best in 13:43.73, while Minato Oishi (Team Toyota) was just behind him in a new best of 13:45.10 and the three other Japanese athletes in the B-heat all cleared 14 minutes.  After the midsummer track tour Oishi will be back in Europe for the Aug. 31 Lille Half Marathon in France.

2013 KBC Nacht
Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, 7/13/13
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Albert Rop (Bahrain) - 12:59.43 - PB
2. Ben St. Lawrence (Australia) - 13:10.83
3. Ben True (U.S.A.) - 13:11.59 - PB
4. Hassan Mead (U.S.A.) - 13:11.80 - PB
5. Andrew Bumbalough (U.S.A.) - 13:12.01 - PB
6. Arne Gabius (Germany) - 13:12.50 - PB
7. Dame Tasama (Ethiopia) - 13:12.64 - PB
8. Yuki Sato (Japan/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:13.60 - PB
9. Zane Robertson (New Zealand) - 13:13.83 - PB
10. Ryan Hill (U.S.A.) - 13:14.22 - PB
-----
17. Suguru Osako (Japan/Waseda Univ.) - 13:27.54 - PB

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Meshack Letim (Kenya) - 13:27.33 - PB
2. Elliott Heath (U.S.A.) - 13:27.60
3. Maverick Darling (U.S.A.) - 13:27.93 - PB
4. Hiromitsu Kakuage (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:32.22 - PB
5. Joe Stilin (U.S.A.) - 13:34.19
6. Philipp Pflieger (Germany) - 13:34.54
7. Brenton Rower (Austria) - 13:38.18
8. Morten Munkholm (Denmark) - 13:41.81 - PB
9. Takuya Fukatsu (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:42.54
10. Ababa Lama (Ethiopia) - 13:43.25
-----
12. Tomoya Onishi (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:43.73
14. Minato Oishi (Japan/Team Toyota) - 13:45.10 - PB
15. Shinobu Kubota (Japan/Komazawa Univ.) - 13:45.50 - PB
16. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:50.27
17. Ryo Kiname (Japan/Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:50.72
18. Yohei Nishiyama (Japan/Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:55.18
20. Sota Hoshi (Japan/Team Fujitsu) - 14:28.99

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Japan-Based Karoki and Tanui Beat Rivals, Cherono Wins 10,000m Title'

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000088340&story_title=Kenya-japan-based-karoki-and-tanui-beat-rivals-cherono-wins-10-000m-title

Saturday, July 13, 2013

'Karoki the Key Man in Men’s 10,000m Duel'

http://www.nation.co.ke/sports/athletics/Karoki-the-key-man-in-mens-10000m-duel/-/1100/1913300/-/yn1e6sz/-/index.html

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
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kawauchi Tells Crowd of 1000 at High School World Championships Sendoff Ceremony: "I Will Make Top Six"

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130710/ath13071011260000-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

On July 10, Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) appeared at a sendoff ceremony at his alma mater Kasukabe Higashi H.S.  Speaking to the entire school body of 1000 in the school gymnasium, Kawauchi told them confidently, "I will make top six, so please continue to give me your support as I prepare to achieve that goal."  He smiled as he received a bouquet of flowers from student representatives and an enthusiastic round of applause from the entire crowd.

On the commemorative placard he signed for students at the ceremony Kawauchi wrote to them the message "Overthrow the status quo."  In interviews after the ceremony Kawauchi was earnest and determined as he said, "I will never give up and will run people down one by one to keep moving up in the standings at the World Championships.  I want to give the students here something worth remembering."

Kawauchi was a valuable member of the Kasukabe Higashi H.S. track and field team before his graduation in 2005.  He is currently an employee of the Saitama Prefectural Government, working in the office of the nearby Kasukabe Continuing Education H.S.  On July 7th he tied the course record at Australia's Gold Coast Airport Marathon, his tenth marathon win in twenty-five marathons to date, showing that he is in good shape.  The Moscow World Championships will be his second-straight appearance on a World Championships marathon national team.

Yamagata Earns Japan's Third-Ever 100 m Medal: "I Did My Best"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/07/10/kiji/K20130710006186850.html

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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summary of Japanese Medalists at Asian Athletics Championships

Overall:   gold: 4   silver: 6   bronze: 10
Men:   gold: 1   silver: 3   bronze: 4
Women:   gold: 3   silver: 3   bronze: 6

20th Asian Athletics Championships
Pune, India, July 3-7, 2013
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Final +0.7 m/s
1. Xie Zhenye (China) - 20.87
2. Fahad Mohammed Alsubaie (Saudi Arabia) - 20.912
3. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.918

Men's 400 m Final
1. Yousef Ahmed Masrahi (Saudi Arabia) - 45.08
2. Ali Khamis (Bahrain) - 45.65
3. Yuzo Kanemaru (Japan) - 45.95

Men's 110 m Hurdles Final +0.1 m/s
1. Jiang Fan (China) - 13.61
2. Abdulaziz Almandeel (Kuwait) - 13.78
3. Wataru Yazawa (Japan) - 13.88

Men's 400 m Hurdles Final
1. Yasuhiro Fueki (Japan) - 49.86
2. Cheng Wen (China) - 50.07
3. Satinder Singh (India) - 50.35

Men's 3000 m SC
1. Tarek Mubarak Taher (Bahrain) - 8:34.77
2. Dejene Regassa Mootoma (Bahrain) - 8:37.40
3. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Japan) - 8:48.48

Men's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Hong Kong - 38.94
2. Japan - 39.11
3. China - 39.17

Men's 4x400 m Relay
1. Saudi Arabia - 3:02.53 - MR
2. Japan - 3:04.46
3. Sri Lanka - 3:04.92

Men's Decathlon
1. Dmitriy Karpov (Kazakhstan) - 8037 - MR
2. Akihiko Nakamura (Japan) - 7620
3. Leonid Andreyev (Uzbekistan) - 7383

Women's 100 m Final -0.3 m/s
1. Wei Yongli (China) - 11.29
2. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 11.53
3. Tao Yujia (China) - 11.63

Women's 1500 m
1. Betlhem Belayneh Desalegn (U.A.E.) - 4:13.67
2. Gebregeiorges Mimi Belete (Bahrain) - 4:14.04
3. Ayako Jinnouchi (Japan) - 4:16.73

Women's 10000 m
1. Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel (Bahrain) - 32:17.29 - MR
2. Alia Saeed (U.A.E.) - 32:39.39
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Japan) - 32:47.44

Women's 100 m Hurdles Final -0.5 m/s
1. Ayako Kimura (Japan) - 13.25
2. Anastassiya Soprunov (Kazakhstan) - 13.44
3. Hemasree J (India) - 14.01

Women's 400 m Hurdles
1. Satomi Kubokura (Japan) - 56.82
2. Manami Kira (Japan) - 57.78
3. Jo Eun-Ju (South Korea) - 58.21

Women's Long Jump
1. Sachiko Masumi (Japan) - 6.55 m +0.0 m/s
2. Anastasiya Juravleva (Uzbekistan) - 6.36 m -0.1 m/s
3. Mayookha Johny (India) - 6.30 m +0.0 m/s

Women's Hammer Throw
1. Wang Zheng (China) - 72.78 m - MR
2. Liu Tingting (China) - 67.16 m
3. Masumi Aya (Japan) - 63.41 m

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Li Lingwei (China) - 60.65 m - MR
2. Nadeeka Lakmali (Sri Lanka) - 60.16 m (MR)
3. Risa Miyashita (Japan) - 55.30 m

Women's 4x100 m Relay
1. China - 44.01
2. Japan - 44.38
3. Thailand - 44.44

Women's 4x400 m Relay
1. India - 3:32.26
2. China - 3:35.31
3. Japan - 3:35.72

Women's Heptathlon
1. Wassana Winatho (Thailand) - 5818
2. Yekaterina Voronina (Uzbekistan) - 5599
3. Chie Kiriyama (Japan) - 5451

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'World University Games Kick Off in Kazan'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/world-university-games-kick-off-in-kazan

Note: The 4th-place women's 10000 m finisher mentioned in the article should be Mai Shoji rather than Mai Sho Ji.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Akaba and Kawauchi Win Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner

Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) lived up to pre-race talk as they won the women's and men's divisions at the 35th running of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.  In a moderate headwind over the opening 15.5 km that grew in strength as the morning progressed, Akaba ran a characteristically controlled and steady race, ignoring the fast early pace set by Kenyans Alice Ngerechi and Helen Mugo and going out at a steady 2:27 course record pace before picking it up over the second half of the race aided by the growing tailwind.  By 25 km she had overtaken Mugo, Ngerechi's turn coming just minutes later.

Rounding the second turnaround at 36.5 km Akaba suffered in the now-stronger headwind and her pace dropped, but she was never in danger of missing the antique 2:29:29 course record set 20 years ago by Eriko Asai.  Akaba took more than two minutes off that record, setting a new mark of 2:27:17.   "I didn't worry about the Africans when they went out fast," she said post-race.  "I just stuck to plan and ran course record pace hoping that it would be enough for the win."  Akaba's next major race is the Aug. 30 Lille Metropole Half Marathon in Lille, France.

Ngerechi was not far off the old course record, becoming only the third woman in Gold Coast history to break 2:30 as she took 2nd in 2:29:48.  Past Nagano Marathon champion Alevtina Ivanova (Russia) was never in the front of the race but pushed on for a 3rd-place finish in 2:32:01.

The men's race was a tight pack until 30 km, splitting a slower-than-hoped-for 1:05:00 at halfway.  Ethiopian Girmay Birhanu Gebru made the move at 30 km that got thing moving, surging away and opening an eight-second lead over Kawauchi, the only runner to chase him.  Girmay soon faded, leaving Kawauchi alone in pursuit of the 2:10:01 course record as he turned into the headwind over the final 5.5 km.

Despite a 6:47 split from 40 km to the finish, the fastest in the field, Kawauchi came up just shy of a new record and his goal of a sub-2:10 as he tied the existing course record in 2:10:01.  "One second....." he told JRN post-race.  Adding resolution to pre-race interview comments about his desire to beat Africans he added,  "I'm glad at least that I was able to run down the Ethiopian.  Next year I'll bring Gold Coast its first sub-2:10."  In his 25th marathon and 6th of 2013 Kawauchi had at least one consolation: his 2:10:01 at Gold Coast gives him an average of 2:09:01 for his five fastest marathons, passing London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) and the legendary Toshihiko Seko to become the all-time #4 Japanese man.

Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was a surprise 2nd-place in his second time at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, not far off his best in 2:11:52.  Half marathon specialist Tewelde Hidru (Eritrea) turned out a 2:13:09 best for 3rd, running down Girmay late in the race.

Further back, Singaporean 5000 m and half marathon national record holder Mok Ying Ren fell short of a new national record in the marathon but set a new PB of 2:26:30 to qualify for December's Southeast Asian Games.  59+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC) told JRN pre-race that he was not fully fit and hoped to run around 2:50 but finished in 2:46:17, the second-fastest ever by a 64-year-old.  He plans to make a serious assault on Clive Davies' current record of 2:42:44 at October's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

In the Asics Half Marathon, 2010 Marugame International Half Marathon winner Nikki Chapple (Australia) had an easy win in 1:11:00, while London Olympian Martin Dent (Australia) held off Shinichi Yamashita (Japan) by one second for the men's win in 1:03:56.  Moscow World Championships team member Jessica Tengrove (Australia) also had an easy win in the Southern Cross University 10 km in 33:05, finishing just behind 50-year-old marathon great Steve Moneghetti (Australia) who ran 32:58 for 31st in the men's division.  Craig Mottram (Australia) won the men's 10 m in 29:38 after outkicking Olympic marathoner Michael Shelley over the last kilometer.


35th Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/7/13
click here for complete results

Marathon - Women
1. Yukiko Akaba (Japan/Team Hokuren) - 2:27:17 - CR
2. Alice Ngerechi (Kenya) - 2:29:48
3. Alevtina Ivanova (Russia) - 2:32:01
4. Hellen Wanjiku Mugo (Kenya) - 2:33:25
5. Eri Okubo (Japan/Miki House) - 2:39:14

Marathon - Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:10:01 - CR tie
2. Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:11:52
3. Tewelde Hidru (Eritrea) - 2:13:09 - PB
4. Girmay Birhanu Gebru (Ethiopia) - 2:14:06
5. Jairu Ondora Chanchima (Kenya) - 2:17:45
-----
8. Mok Ying Ren (Singapore) - 2:26:30 - PB
55. Yoshihisa Hosaka (Japan/Natural Foods AC) - 2:46:17

Half Marathon - Women
1. Nikki Chapple (Australia) - 1:11:00
2. Jessica Tengrove (Australia) - 1:11:51
3. Abigail Bayley (Australia) - 1:14:23
4. Yuki Sakata (Japan) - 1:15:05
5. Nicki McFadzien (Australia) - 1:15:13

Half Marathon - Men
1. Martin Dent (Australia) - 1:03:56
2. Shinichi Yamashita (Japan) - 1:03:57
3. Ben Moreau (U.K.) - 1:03:59
4. Benjamin Ashkettle (Australia) - 1:04:12
5. Liam Adams (Australia) - 1:04:49

10 km - Women - July 6
1. Lara Tamsett (Australia) - 33:05
2. Milly Clark (Australia) - 34:25
3. Bridey Delaney (Australia) - 34:26

10 km - Men - July 6
1. Craig Mottram (Australia) - 29:38
2. Michael Shelley (Australia) - 29:45
3. Jackson Elliott (Australia) - 29:55
-----
31. Steve Moneghetti (Australia) - 32:58

text and photos (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Grand Tour Kyushu to End With This Year's 62nd Running

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/f_sougou/article/24670

translated by Brett Larner

A fixture in local culture with runners from Kyushu, Okinawa and Yamaguchi handing off the tasuki on the late autumn roads of Kyushu, the organizers of the Grand Tour Kyushu ekiden announced that the historic event will come to an end following this year's 62nd running from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3.  Organizing board chairman Hiroshi Okazaki told reporters, "This race has long played an important role for the athletics world in Kyushu and across Japan, but we were forced to make this decision due to a combination of growing traffic and budget problems."

With enthusiastic support from dedicated athletes and fans alike the organizers have tried to make adaptations to keep the race alive.  To cope with increased automobile traffic timing rules for the white sash starts were tightened, the number of lead and accompanying vehicles was reduced and more police were employed along the course, but in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to guarantee the safety of all athletes.  The race's operating expenses have also increased.  Yasuyoshi Kuramoto, director of project planning for principal sponsor Nishi Nippon Newspapers Inc., commented, "We determined that the time had come to draw the curtain on this event with a long history as a constant part of Kyushu's middle and long-distance world."

With one after another runner contributing to covering 1000 km in ten days, the world's longest ekiden began as the Kyushu One-Circuit Ekiden seven years after the end of World War II in 1952 to commemorate the restoration of Japanese sovereignty following the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco peace accord.  From its course through each of Kyushu's major cities sprang most of the greatest names in Japanese men's marathon history, from Kenji Kimihara, Shigeru Soh, Takeshi Soh, Kunimitsu Ito, Hiromi Taniguchi, Koichi Morishita and Toshinari Takaoka to this year's Moscow World Championships team members Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) and Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko).  Anniversary years have included all-star select teams from Asia, Hiroshima and the Hakone Ekiden university championships.

For its 60th running in 2011 the race was rebranded as the Grand Tour Kyushu, switching from its historical loop around the island of Kyushu to an eight-day format with non-continuous stages.  Under this format the overall winner was determined by the cumulative time of all eight days.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Akaba and Kawauchi Aiming for Course Records at Gold Coast Airport Marathon


by Brett Larner

In its 35th edition the Gold Coast Airport Marathon makes its debut as an IAAF bronze label event, the first Australian race to earn an IAAF label.  Both the women's and men's races feature fields worthy of an even higher level, and on both sides course records look likely.

The clear favorite in the women's race is this year's London Marathon 3rd-placer Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren).  Having been left off the Japanese World Championships team in favor of two empty seats, Akaba told JRN that she came to Gold Coast to go for the 20 year-old 2:29:29 course record in a moderate mid-summer effort ahead of an ambitious fall. Speaking later at the press conference she commented, "The field is a lot better than I expected and so getting the win will be a challenge, but I'll be going for the course record either way and hopefully that will put me up front."  Asked whether the $20,000 bonus for clearing Naoko Takahashi's 2:23:14 Australian all-comers' record is on her radar Akaba laughed and said, "That would be pretty tough."

Her biggest challenge may come from 2:26:08 athlete Eri Okubo, making her debut with sponsorship from Miki House, the same children's clothing company that sponsors London Olympian Arata Fujiwara, after having abruptly quit the Second Wind AC club team this spring.  The question will be whether Okubo has made a smooth transition in coaching and training environments in time to run 100% on Sunday.  Despite not having arrived as of Friday evening, Goitetom Tesema (Ethiopia) should be another strong contender with a 2:26:21 best at the 2011 Rome Marathon.  Helen Mugo (Kenya) rounds out the list of top-level favorites with a 2:27:16 best at the 2010 Carpi Marathon.  Whoever crosses the line first, the course record is sure to go.

The men will have a tougher time of clearing the record, but the current 2:10:01 mark is in range of at least the top six.  With a 2:07:43 best from last year's Seoul International Marathon Jairus Chanchima (Kenya) is the favorite, with the as-of-this-writing-still-in-transit Girmay Birhanu Gebru (Ethiopia) close behind with a 2:08:11 mark at March's Rome Marathon.

The other big contender is #3-seed, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), 4th at last year's Gold Coast Airport Marathon and running this year as part of a quest to get the course records at Australia's three largest marathons despite being on the Japanese team for the World Championships next month.  "I won't be setting a PB, but I am here to break the course record," he commented.  "I am complete focused on running sub-2:10 here."  The main question for Kawauchi will be to what extent he will feel the lingering effects of heat-related problems he faced in winning the Okinoshima 50 km ultra three weeks ago.

Kenyans Samson Barmao and Jacob Wanjuki round out the top bracket, Barmao with a 2:08:52 best last year in Rome and Wanjuki, based in Japan where he runs for the Aichi Seiko corporate team, making his marathon debut off a 1:00:32 half marathon best.  With such a quality group lined up, pacers in the men's race due to go out at 2:09:00 pace and favorable weather forecast, Rob De Castella's Australian all-comers' record of 2:09:18 may well fall to the tune of a $20,000 bonus.

Speaking of half marathons, Gold Coast will also incude elite-level half marathon and 10 km events featuring a large number of top Australia's top distance runners, many of who will be in Moscow next month for the World Championships.  London Olympian Martin Dent looks like the favorite in the men's race with a 1:02:16 best on the same course in 2009, while 2010 Marugame International Half Marathon winner Nikki Chapple is the class of the women's field with her 1:08:37 time from Marugame nearly four minutes better than her closest competition.  Both races also feature elite-level Japanese athletes.

The men's 10 km looks like a showdown between London Olympians Craig Mottram and Michael Shelley, while #1-ranked woman Lara Tamsett looks set to be going it alone in search of an improvement on her 32:27 road best.  Mottram caused a stir in the audience by saying that he plans to make a serious marathon "within the next twelve months."

The half marathon and full marathon will be webcast live on the Gold Coast Airport Marathon site, the half marathon going off at 6:00 a.m. local time and the full at 7:20 a.m.  Live results will also be available here.  Check back for original coverage from JRN as the weekend progresses.

2013 Gold Coast Airport Marathon Elite Field
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/7/13

Marathon - Men
1. Jairus Chanchima (Kenya) - 2:07:43 (Seoul, 2012)
2. Girmay Birhanu Gebru (Ethiopia)  2:08:11 (Rome, 2013)
3. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul, 2013)
4. Samson Barmao (Kenya) - 2:08:52 (Rome, 2012)
5. Robert Mwangi (Kenya) - 2:10:04 (Prague, 2011)
6. Edwin Kiprop Korir (Kenya) - 2:10:26 (Zurich, 2013)
7. Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:11:15 (Tokyo, 2013)
8. Kensuke Takahashi (Japan/Toyota) - 2:11:25 (Tokyo, 2009)
9. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - debut (1:00:32, Nagoya Half, 2010)

Marathon - Women
51. Yukiko Akaba (Japan/Team Hokuren) - 2:24:09 (London, 2011)
53. Eri Okubo (Japan/Miki House) - 2:26:08 (Tokyo, 2012)
55. Goitetom Tesema (Ethiopia) - 2:26:21 (Rome, 2011)
56. Alice Ngerechi (Kenya) - 2:26:36 (Milan, 2001)
57. Alevtina Ivanova (Russia) - 2:26:38 (Nagano, 2008)
58. Helen Mugo (Kenya) - 2:27:16 (Carpi, 2010)
59. Yui Ouchi (Japan/Team Noritz) - 2:39:06 (Ohtawara, 2011)

Half Marathon - Men
1. Liam Adams (Australia) - 1:03:28 (Gold Coast, 2012)
2. Lee Troop (Australia) - 1:01:00 (Tokyo, 1999)
3. Martin Dent (Australia) - 1:02:16 (Gold Coast, 2009)
6. Shinichi Yamashita (Japan) - 1:03:36
7. Ben Moreau (U.K.) - 1:04:27

Half Marathon - Women
51. Nikki Chapple (Australia) - 1:08:37 (Marugame, 2010)
52. Jessica Tengrova (Australia) - 1:12:28 (Gold Coast, 2011)
53. Danielle Ingram-Trevis (New Zealand) - 1:13:08 (Auckland, 2010)
54. Abi Bayley (Australia) - 1:13:40 (Gold Coast, 2011)
55. Miki Oka (Japan) - 1:14:00 (Miyazaki Women's, 2009)
58. Yuki Sakata (Japan) - 1:13:14
76. Eri Ueno (Japan) - debut

10 km - Men - June 6
1. Michael Shelley (Australia) - 28:44 (Launceston, 2012)
2. Craig Mottram (Australia) - 27:54 (Manchester, 2004)
3. Jackson Elliott (Australia) - 29:43 (Launceston, 2011)

10 km - Women - June 6
51. Lara Tamsett (Australia) - 32:27 (Sydney, 2011)
52. Sophie Barker (Australia) - 34:19 (Launceston, 2012)
87. Tara Palm (Australia) - 33:08

text and photos (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Kawauchi Talks About Racing Overseas Ahead of Return to Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner

Last year Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) made his Australian debut at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, finishing 4th in 2:13:26.  In September he was back to set a course record of 2:11:52 at the Sydney Marathon.  This weekend he returns to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon for the 25th marathon of his 4 1/2-year career to try to become the first man under 2:10 in the IAAF bronze label event's 35-year history.

As part of an article for Australia's Run For Your Life magazine, JRN talked to Kawauchi about his return to the Gold Coast, racing outside Japan, and the appeal Australia holds for him.  The full-length interview covering his evolving training and racing methodology and how he copes with serial racing at a high level, his views on doping and drug testing in the wake of a positive EPO test by last year's GCAM women's winner Kaori Yoshida, and his goals, hopes and dreams for the rest of his competitive career and beyond, will be published in the August/September issue of Run For Your Life.

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be streamed live on the race website starting at 7:00 a.m. local time.  Live results are available here. JRN is on-site throughout race weekend to cover what looks set to be course record-breaking men's and women's races.

JRN: The Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be the third overseas marathon of your six so far this year along with the Egyptian Marathon in January and the Seoul International Marathon in April. None of them is part of the regular canon of races run by top-level Japanese athletes. What are your current views on racing outside Japan?

Kawauchi: There are a lot of high-level domestic full marathons in Japan, so most of the top Japanese athletes never go to overseas races other than the fastest ones in the World Marathon Majors. When they do go most Japanese marathoners just look at the overwhelming time difference between themselves and the best Africans, and I think the tendency is for them to come out of it seriously underestimating their own strength and abilities, give up on trying to compete and to just run time trials instead. There are also races they can’t enter because of ekiden season. For example, New York City perfectly coincides with the East Japan Corporate Ekiden Championships and the Grand Tour Kyushu, so most of the best Japanese athletes will never run there.

But I don’t believe this means that Japanese marathoners are falling behind other countries. Since I’ve become a gold label athlete I’ve had dozens of offers from overseas races. To me this says that overseas race directors are hungry to see athletes from Japan, one of the world’s great marathon nations, come and run assertively. When those chances are there and people don’t take them it’s a complete waste, so we should think about the future of Japanese athletics and expanding the opportunities for athletes to come, take the opportunities to race overseas as often as possible, and show up and race seriously and aggressively.

You have said that winning Australia’s big three marathons, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Sydney Marathon and Melbourne Marathon, is one of your goals. How do you view Australia and its athletes? What is the appeal of Australian races for you?

Decades ago both Japan and Australia were among the top marathon nations in the world, but once the Africans started climbing the ranks we lost our pride somewhere along the way. Maybe partly as a consequence of that, the national record hasn’t changed in either country for years. At the current time Africans win and monopolize the upper places in pretty much every competitive marathon in the world, but I don’t think that means any of those Africans cannot be beaten by non-Africans on an individual level. Right now there’s a pretty big difference between the best of them and the rest of us, so I think it’s still too early to be thinking about changing the mindset from an inward-facing ‘Top Japanese’ or ‘Top Australian’ orientation to targeting them. Just comparing our times it would be natural for anyone to want to feel that way, but I think the reality is that the marathon is the distance where that kind of thinking is not really true.

In the year since I missed the Olympics I decided that I wanted to race Africans overseas as much as I could. I beat them to set the course record in Sydney. In a field of more than twenty Africans I came 4th in Seoul. All three of Australia’s main marathons bring in Africans, so that is part of my motivation to win them all and I hope that by doing so top Japanese and Australian runners will look at me and say, “If this guy Kawauchi can beat the Africans then we can do better too.” In these countries that used to have pride as world leaders in the marathon I want to help change the mindset from the weak “I want to be top Japanese” or “I want to be top Australian” to a stronger “I’m aiming for the top, Africans or no Africans.”

A few years ago Japan had fallen to the point where it only had one man going sub-2:10 a year, but for the Moscow World Championships this year all five men ran 2:08 to get on the team. We’re on the way back. Having produced legends like Robert De Castella and Steve Moneghetti, I think that if Australia’s athletes can, like Japan, regain their old pride and strength then together with us they will be able to rise to the overwhelming challenge presented by the dominant African athletes of this era and begin to present a counter-challenge. That is my great hope for Australia.

In more practical terms, the seasons in Australia are reversed from Japan and the start times are earlier, so the racing conditions are comfortable and pleasant without any jet lag problems. The level of the races is also just right for Japanese athletes to be able to target winning. There are a lot of plusses all around. The sheer size of Australia and the beautiful coastline means there are a lot of great things to see that we can’t in Japan, too. On a personal level, my home prefecture of Saitama has a sister relationship with Queensland where the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is held, and Kasukabe High School where I work has a sister school relationship with Melbourne High School, so I feel a lot of affinity with Australia.

Are there are Australian athletes you view as competitors or colleagues?

Harry Summers is the one I’m most aware of. We ran against each other at the Gifu Half and World Half and talked at the World Half’s closing banquet. Collis Birmingham ran great at the Marugame Half too, and I’d really like to see him go after the marathon soon. I really admire Australia’s great veteran runner Lee Troop as well. I’ve run in the same race as him many times and, hoping to have a long competitive career of my own, I have great respect for him.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 1, 2013

5000 m and 10000 m Olympian Kensuke Takezawa to Join Sumitomo Denko Corporate Team

http://www.sei.co.jp/news/press/13/prs079_s.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Sumitomo Denko corporation is proud to announce today that Beijing Olympics 5000 m and 10000 m Olympian Kensuke Takezawa, with bests of 13:19.00 and 27:45.59, has joined the company as a member of its men's long-distance running team.  "I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to make a new start now at Sumitomo Denko," Takezawa said.  "A lot of people have supported and encouraged me through some difficult times, and from the heart I offer my sincerest gratitude for being able to stand here today for this announcement.  Since the Olympics I haven't been able to become the kind of internationally-competitive athlete I hoped to become, but in this new environment I will dedicate myself to becoming the best I can be, not just as an athlete but as a human being. I ask for your continued support and encouragement."

Sumitomo Denko head coach Toshihiro Matsumoto commented, "With many options before him I welcome Takezawa's decision to join Sumitomo Denko.  Having an athlete who ran at the Olympics as a member of the Japanese national team join our program is a cause of great happiness for the entire team and I think it will have deep, positive effects.  I hope to help provide him with overall support in setting and achieving his goals and he in turn will give his best for the team.  We know that many supporters will be watching in great anticipation and we hope to rise to meet those expectations.  Thank you for your support."

Translator's note: Collegiate 5000 m national record holder Takezawa graduated from Waseda University and joined the Toshihiko Seko-coached S&B corporate team.  In March he quit the S&B team instead of accompanying them to new sponsor DeNA.

'Farah Delivers as Other Favorites Falter in Birmingham'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/farah-delivers-as-other-favourites-falter-in