Skip to main content

Again For the Team - Omwamba and Yamanashi Gakuin Post-Hakone Fracture

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/ekiden/2014/news/20140107-OYT1T01067.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Eliminated from the Jan. 2-3 90th running of the Hakone Ekiden when second year Enock Omwamba fractured the fibula in his right leg and dropped out 9.7 km into Hakone's Second Stage, Yamanashi Gakuin University's remaining athletes were able to refocus themselves and complete the race with all they had.  Head coach Masahito Ueda commented, "Even though their times won't be in the record books, they will live on in people's memories and in the team's history," reflecting on how this year's race will influence the future.

This year's results will remain unofficial, but each of Yamanashi Gakuin's athletes ran his part of the Hakone course full of compassion for the injured Omwamba.  After the race captain Yutaro Matsuyama, who ran the Seventh Stage in his final Hakone as a senior, said, "As captain I didn't leave the team in position to get off to a good start [since they have to requalify for Hakone at October's Yosenkai 20 km], but I think the younger guys on the team have already renewed themselves and started over today [on Day Two of Hakone, where YGU's time placed in 9th of 23 despite not counting in the results]."

Anchoring senior Yuma Mori, who did an extra year at Yamanashi Gakuin after sustaining a stress fracture and being forced to give up Hakone last year, ran an excellent time that would have put him at 5th on the Tenth Stage.  "Omwamba's going to be OK too," he said, expressing his belief that his teammate will make a full comeback.

After the race at the team's post-race assembly near the Hakone finish line in Otemachi, Tokyo in front of alumni and other university supporters, team members gathered around Omwamba, smiling as they patted him on the head and put their hands on his shoulder, showing that they were of one heart as a team.  On crutches, Omwamba said, "It was devastating, but I will run again for the team," his competitive spirit still burning strong.

Coach Ueda praised the athletes who fought hard enough that Yamanashi Gakuin would have placed 9th on Day Two, saying, "Each of them represented himself in his running with a strong spirit of moving forward from this to face next year.  Last year we weren't good enough, but this year they competed win strength.  From this teeth-clenching disappointment we have to come back hitting twice as hard next year."  For coach Ueda and the Yamanashi Gakuin athletes the curtain has already opened on their next challenge.

Comments

Metts said…
How can you not like the positive attitudes displayed from this team? In contrast, what is Komazawa thinking right now?
Metts said…
I used to like Komazawa; watched all their summer camp training vidoes on youtube etc., and all their interviews with their coach. Still like their athletes etc. for their effort, but remember even in the videos the coach would be very vocal in their training sessions. Toyo, Aoyama, and Yamanashi coaching styles seem to bring out the best in their athletes, its the best coaching styles for them. Maybe Oyagi gets the most out of his athletes, it works for him. But is it the best way overall these days?

Most-Read This Week

Kusu Runs Steeplechase World-Leading Time, Yabuta and Yoshimura Break National Records, Tanaka Just Misses Fukushi's NR - Kitami and Liege Highlights

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw the fourth meet in this year's five-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series, this time in the town of Kitami. The program included the little-raced 2000 m steeplechase as a tuneup for Monday's series-closing Abashiri meet, and in both the women's and men's races the national records went down. A top collegiate steepler while at Kyoto Sangyo University, Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) ran 6:27.74 to break the women's record. In the men's race 1500 m specialist Yasunari Kusu (Ami AC) surprised many by breaking the Japanese national record with a world-leading 5:31.82 despite little experience in the steeple.

The women's 3000 m in Kitami was more explicitly set up as a national record attempt, with four of the ten fastest Japanese women ever over the distance lined up to gun for the great Kayoko Fukushi's 8:44.40 record dating back to 2002. From the gun it was out at NR pace, with pacers Hellen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) an…

Lemeteki and Aoki Win Shibetsu Half

Kenyan Razini Lemeteki (Takushoku Univ.) and relative unknown Nanami Aoki (Iwatani Sangyo) took the top spots in hot and sunny conditions at the Shibetsu Half Marathon in Hokkaido. With Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) doing early frontrunning in the men's race only to fade to a 20th-place finish in 1:06:40 Lemeteki had little competition for the win in 1:03:25. 2017 Shibetsu winner Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) was the top Japanese man at 2nd in 1:03:42, beating MGC Race Olympic marathon trials qualifiers Daichi Kamino (New Balance) and Naoki Okamoto (Chugoku Denryoku) - by 4 seconds and 11 seconds. Other MGC Race qualifiers Masato Imai (Toyota Jidoshokki), Yuji Iwata (MHPS) and Ryo Kiname (MHPS) all struggled, none of them breaking 66 minutes.

Aoki won the women's race easily in 1:15:12 by almost a minute over Mai Nagaoka (Sysmex). MGC Race qualifiers Reia Iwade (Under Armour) and Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) were listed to start but apparently did not run.
33rd Suffolkland Shibets…

Koike Runs Japan's Third Sub-10, Niiya Clears Doha 5000 m Standard - Weekend Track Highlights

Japanese athletes were busy on the track overseas this weekend. At Friday's Stumptown Twilight meet in Portland, indoor mile Asian record holder Nanami Arai (Honda) took 2nd in the men's 1500 m in 3:39.58, his second time this season breaking 3:40. It used to be a rarity to see a Japanese man clear 3:40, something that happened once every couple of years, but so far this season four Japanese men have done it a total of six times. If the distance had even a fraction of the prestige of the Hakone Ekiden, or of that it has in the U.S., there's no doubt there'd be more.

Speaking of distances with prestige, on the first day of London's Muller Anniversary Games Diamond League spectacular Yuki Koike (Sumitomo Denko) became the third Japanese man to join the sub-10 club, running 9.98 (+0.5 m/s) for 4th in the men's 100 m final. Koike also ran 2nd on the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team, which clocked a season best 37.78 for 2nd despite featuring only two regulars…