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

Fukuoka Winner Yuma Hattori: "Running Isn't Fun"

At the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International MarathonYuma Hattori (25, Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to win and become the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever. It was the first time since 2004 that a Japanese man became the Fukuoka champion. Hattori now stands among the leading competitors in the fierce battle to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team.

Hattori and his younger brother Hazuma Hattori (23, Toenec) were star members of Toyo University's 2014 Hakone Ekiden winning team. They rank among the most famous brothers in Japanese athletics, but neither of them actually wanted to be a runner. "I wanted to play soccer," Hattori said. "Hazuma wanted to play table tennis. We're from the sticks out in Niigata and my junior high school didn't have a soccer team. I thought about joining a club team, but it was too far away."

"My dad had been a decathlete," Hattori continued, "so I started doing track and field as well. My mom was a cross-country skier, so bo…

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls' Distance Running

To treat anemia some of the country's top high school ekiden teams inappropriately utilize iron injections that could have a harmful effect on athletes' health.

Iron injections are primarily used to treat serious anemia arising from iron deficiency, but according to experts they also improve endurance. As a result their use has spread across the country over the last 20 years, primarily among female athletes who are more prone to anemia.

Following a 2015 case in which an athlete was confirmed to have suffered liver damage as a result of excess iron levels, in April, 2016 the JAAF issued a warning for coaches to stop the practice of injections, saying, "The accumulation of iron in the internal organs has deleterious effects on the body." In an interview two women who graduated prior to the JAAF's warning talked about their firsthand experience in high school. Under their coaches' direction both used iron injections throughout their high school careers and pro…

Yamanouchi Leads Six Under Doha Standard in Deepest Women's 10000 m in World This Year

With the 31:50.00 standard for the 2019 Doha World Championships 10000 m announced earlier this week following the IAAF's about-face on its new world rankings system, Japan wasted no time in getting its people under the mark.

In cold conditions for the mid-afternoon Corporate Women's Time Trials meet at Yamaguchi's Ishin Me-Life Stadium the women's 10000 m A-heat went out strong and steady, 15:45 through halfway before the lead group began to splinter. Just two weeks after a season-worst performance at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden the Atsushi Sato-coached Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) roared back into form with a 31:16.48 meet record for the win, outkicking Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Starts) to land at #2 in the world so far this year and #8 on the all-time Japanese list. Yamanouchi and Kimanzi were the only two to clear 31:20, but all told six women made it under the 31:50 Doha standard, making the race the year's deepest worldwide.

Having fully recovered f…