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

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…