Skip to main content

Olympian Hitomi Niiya Announces Retirement

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/01/25/kiji/K20140125007456230.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo by Mika Tokairin

On Jan. 25 a representative of Moscow World Championships women's 10000 m 5th-placer Hitomi Niiya (25, Team Universal Entertainment) announced Niiya's retirement.  A press conference to explain the decision is scheduled for Jan. 31.

Born in Okayama, as a student at Kojokan H.S. she won her stage at the National High School Ekiden Championships three years in a row.  In 2006 she joined the Toyota Jidoshoki corporate team, and the following year at age 18 won the first Tokyo Marathon.  In 2011 she left Toyota Jidoshokki to remain with coach Yoshio Koide when the team moved from Chiba to Aichi, qualifying as an independent for the Daegu World Championships where she made the final in the 5000 m.  After joining the Universal Entertainment team she won the 2012 National Championships 5000 m, and at the London Olympics she was 9th in the 10000 m after leading much of the race.  She lapped the entire field to set a meet record in the 10000 m at the 2013 National Championships before leading almost all the way in Moscow and taking 5th in a PB 30:56.70.  After Moscow she injured the sole of her right foot and has not raced again.

Translator's note: In a tearful interview immediately after her race in Moscow Niiya said, "I feel like there's no reason for me to be here.  There's no reason to be at Worlds if you can't medal."  Not long afterwards on her now-deleted Twitter account she said, "I think this race might have killed my career."

photo (c) 2013 Mika Tokairin
all rights reserved

Comments

Anna Novick said…
This breaks my heart. I hope she finds strength in running again ,and if that takes getting away from the publicity of racing, then that's what she should do.
Metts said…
I agree. She is too young to quit. She should take some time, even if its a year, and get back to running injury free. Even if she has to leave her professional running life and join an amatuer club. But that might be hard to do.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…