Skip to main content

World Leads and a Strong Run from Kiryu at Oda Memorial, Plus a National Record

by Brett Larner
videos by okukon

With the Tuesday national holiday making it something of a perforated long weekend it was a busy one on the Japanese track circuit with a national record and a handful of world-leading performances.

Decathlon national record holder Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) topped the list with a new national record at the decathlon National Championships on the 26th and 27th in Wakayama.  On track to break his old record by more than 100 points at the end of the first day, Ushiro continued strong the second day.  With a solid 1500 m announcers predicted 8300 could be in range, but with just a 4:45:53 Ushiro came in with a breakable new record of 8143 that put him 4th in the world so far this season and left him the potential for more.



Shortly after Ushiro's record, relative unknown Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Team Yakult) brought the first world-leading mark of the weekend with a 13:18.92 to win the Nittai University Time Trials 5000 m A-heat, a quick heat that saw three Japanese collegiates, Ken Yokote and Shuho Dairokuno of Meiji University and Hikaru Kato of hosts Nittai go under 13:50 for the first time.

Kimani's world lead lasted only 48 hours before it went down at the Tuesday holiday's biggest event, the 48th Oda Memorial Meet.  James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) raced Berlin World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/ Team Kyudenko) throughout the Grand Prix 5000 m, pulling away at the end to clear Kimani's time and get the win in a new world-leader of 13:18.35 to Tanui's 13:19.88.  Tanui's teammate, 2014 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Sally Chepyego Kaptich (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) had an easy win in the women's 5000 m in 15:15.80, top-ranked Japanese Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) running down Kenyans Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) and Pauline Kamulu (Team Toto) for 2nd in 15:31.28.



Returning to the meet where he last year ran the 10.01 that made him famous, teen sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) generated a large amount of buzz early on at the Oda Memorial Meet when he ran 10.10 (+2.0) to win his heat.  With Kiryu looking under control and his London Olympics teammates Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu), 10.14 (+2.6), and Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.), 10.19 (+2.4), also qualifying there was great excitement about what Kiryu might do in the final, but with ten minutes to go it was announced that he had scratched with no immediate word on his situation.  Takase stepped up with a 10.13 (+0.7) PB for the win, earning himself a place in the all-time Japanese top ten.



The biggest surprise of the meet came in the men's javelin, where 22-year-old Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), a junior training partner of Berlin World Championships bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), threw a series of massive PBs to take the win and the top position in the world. Coming in to the meet with a best of 78.21 from when he was 19, Arai threw a world-leading PB of 84.06 on his second throw.  His third throw was even better, a massive 85.48 that put him well ahead of the rest of the competition at the meet, well clear into the #1 position in the world so far this year, and within sight of the national record.  He cleared 82 on his next throw but the 85.48 was enough to secure him the win and establish him as another potential new star in the thriving Japanese athletics world.



(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Shiroyama's 8.40 m Jump Leads Four National Records at Athlete Night Games in Fukui

Held in the stadium where Japan saw its first-ever sub-10 clocking for 100 m, Saturday's new Athlete Night Games in Fukui meet produced four national records highlighted by an incredible men's long jump competition. Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) opened with a jump of 8.32 m +1.6 m/s that shattered the national record dating way back in 1992 by 7 cm. Hibika Tsuha (Toyo Univ.) followed him with a jump of 8.21 m + 2.0 m/s that put him into the all-time Japanese top three, then bettered that with an 8.23 m +0.6 m/s.



Out of nowhere, Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) knocked them both back in the record books on his third jump with a new national record of 8.40 m +1.5 m/s, the #2 mark in the world so far this year and only his second time clearing 8 m with a legal wind. Japanese fans were quick to compare the trio's results to this season's Diamond League meets.

DL Shanghai
🥇8m24🥈8m16🥉8m14
DL Lausanne
🥇8m32🥈8m19🥉8m13
DL London
🥇8m37🥈8m32🥉8m11
DL Fukui
🥇8m40🥈8m32🥉8m23 htt…

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier - Naoki Okamoto

Naoki Okamotoage: 35
sponsor: Chugoku Denryoku
graduated from: Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S., Meiji University

best time inside MGC window:
2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

PB: 2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

other PBs:
5000 m: 13:37.71 (2009) 10000 m: 28:05.84 (2011) half marathon: 1:02:16 (2009)

marathons inside MGC window (Aug. 1 2017 – April 30 2019)
DNF, 2019 Beppu-Oita Marathon
1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon, 2:11:29 – PB
DNF, 2018 Boston Marathon

other major results:
4th, 2019 Shibetsu Half Marathon, 1:03:53
2nd, 2019 New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.4 km), 1:05:13
1st, 2018 Chugoku Corporate Ekiden Sixth Stage (19.0 km), 56:25 – CR
1st, 2018 Ome 30 km Road Race, 1:33:09
21st, 2017 Tokyo Marathon, 2:13:53

We’re picking Okamoto as our official dark horse of the men’s race. The second-oldest man in a field, Okamoto is a journeyman corporate leaguer who never broke 2:12 and whose PBs all came a decade ago. But, nearing the end of his career, over the last two years he has really come on…

One Month Until the Japanese Olympic Marathon Trials

It's one month to go until what's bound to be the best marathon of 2019, Japan's 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, the Sept. 15 Marathon Grand Championship Race. Up to now Japan has typically picked its Olympic and World Championships marathon teams based on performances in a series of specific races, primarily the Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon for men, and the Saitama International Marathon, Osaka International Women's Marathon and Nagoya Women's Marathon for women. This time around they're going with a U.S.-style one-shot trials race, the MGC Race.

People had a nearly two-year window from August, 2017 to April this year to hit tough standards to qualify. Only 34 men and 15 women made it, and after withdrawals for the Doha World Championships the MGC Race's final entry list is just 31 men and 12 women. Swedish Athletics Federation official Lorenzo Nesicalled it "the most difficult marathon race ever to quali…