Skip to main content

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

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.


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

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Japan Dominates Asian Cross Country Championships

Japan dominated the 14th Asian Cross Country Championships Thursday in Guiyang, China, winning all four team gold medals to hold the hosts China back to silver in every race.

Japan's only individual gold came in the Junior Women's race, one of its usual areas of strength. Yuna Wada led a Japanese sweep of the top four positions to win the 6 km race in 20:43 with scoring teammates Ririka Hironaka and Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu just behind.

Wada Yuna of Japan wins Junior Women’s 6km cross country race of 14th Asian Cross Country Championship . Japan also won Team championship — Asian Athletics (@asianathletics) March 15, 2018
With the meet also serving as China's National Championships Chinese athletes won the individual gold in the other three races, Dan Li, Cairen Suolong and Jianhua Peng all showing better closing speed to beat their Japanese rivals by 3~4 seconds. Li won the Senior Women's 8 km by 3 seconds over Japan's Yukari Abe, leadi…