translated and edited by Brett Larner
On Feb. 12 Rikuren announced the lineup for the Japanese team for the Feb. 22 Asian Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka's Uminonakamichi Kaihin Park. Held in conjunction with the Fukuoka International Cross Country Meet, the Asian Championships will consist of the senior men's 10 km, senior women's 6 km, junior men's 8 km and junior women's 6 km events.
2013 National Championships 5000 m champion Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) and runner-up Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) lead the men's team in the 10 km, with National Championships 10000 m 3rd-place Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) and marathon national collegiate record holder Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) topping the women's team for the 6 km division. Thirteen countries are scheduled to compete, some of them fielding leading African athletes with transferred citizenship. Rikuren strengthening committee director Katsumi Sakai commented, "It will be respectable if they finish in the top eight."
Also competing as invited individuals in the 10 km men's race as an individual are the popular Akinobu Murasawa (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and others. With the cancellation of the Feb. 9 Chiba International Cross Country Meet due to heavy snow, Fukuoka has also been designated the selection race for the Japanese team for the Mar. 22 World University Cross Country Meet in Uganda. 2014 Hakone Ekiden Third Stage winner and 2012 World University XC silver medalist Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) leads the contenders for the team.
Note: 2013 Southeast Asian marathon gold medalist Mok Ying Ren (Singapore) will also run the men's 10 km, returning to Japan for the first time since setting the Singaporean national record at November's Ageo City Half Marathon.