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Hakone Ekiden Winner Toyo University Greeted by Throngs of Screaming Fans at Victory Rally

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20140117-OHT1T00043.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having returned to the victor's stand for the first time in two years, 2014 Hakone Ekiden overall winner Toyo University held a victory rally Jan. 16 at its Hakusan Campus in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.  Members of the champion team were greeted by deafening cheering from the crowd of university women.  The 700-seat Inoue Enryo Hall was sold out and packed to overflowing, almost entirely by female university students.  When the athletes whose running on the Hakone course wowed the nation Jan. 2 and 3 appeared, the hall was filled with screaming as if it was a pop idol concert.  Head coach Toshiyuki Sakai, 37, told his athletes sternly, "Do not get the wrong idea."

Set to become the team's star runner next season, second-year Yuma Hattori did not betray a smile as he declared Toyo's intent to defend its title, saying, "Next year we will do everything we can to win again."

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