Skip to main content

Kanaguri Memorial Meet Kicks Off Japanese Track Season

by Brett Larner

With the start of the Japanese fiscal and academic year this week, outdoor track season gets rolling this Saturday at the Kanaguri Memorial Meet in Kumamoto.  A distance-oriented meet with a focus on 5000 m, Kanaguri is the place where many of the top young talents make their debuts wearing new high school, university and corporate team colors.

Competition in the women's races is thin, with Kenyans Pauline Kamulu (Team Toto) and Susan Wairimu (Team Denso) leading 2014 Marugame Half Marathon winner Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and the talented Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) as the top contenders in Heat 2 of the 5000 m.  The high school girls' 3000 m, featuring a long list of top juniors, may supply the more interesting races.

The big races on the men's side are heats 4 and 5 of the 5000 m.  Heat 5 features three of the very best Japan-based Kenyans, Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), two-time 3000 mSC junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) and 2011 World Youth 3000 m gold medalist William Malel (Team Honda).  Many of the best Japanese men are on the starting list, including past distance event national champions Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) and Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC), Hakone aces Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.), Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) and Hideto Yamanaka (Nittai Univ.), and other big names including Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei), Shota Hattori (Team Honda), Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei).

Heat 4 features a mostly-African field including many of the top Japan-based Kenyans and Ethiopians including Clement Langat (Team Subaru), Edward Waweru (Team NTN), Jacob Wanjuki (Team Aichi Seiko) and Patrick Muwaka (Team Aisan Kogyo).  Hakone Ekiden stars Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.), Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.), Yusuke Nishiyama (Komazawa Univ.) and Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) are also in Heat 4 looking for early-season PBs, with 2014 Hakone champion Toyo University ace Yuta Shitara making his pro debut with the Honda corporate team.

Shitara's identical twin brother Keita Shitara will likewise make his debut for 2014 New Year Ekiden national corporate champion Konica Minolta on Saturday at the Tokyo-area Setagaya Time Trials meet, where he will run as a pacer for a university 5000 m heat.  Big-name pacers in other heats include talented half marathoners Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo).

The weekend's action is not limited to the track, though.  Kihara's teammate Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo), all-time #4 on the Japanese marathon debut list with a 2:09:12 in heavy rain at the 2012 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, will run Sunday's Brighton Marathon, where he is the #2 seed.  Coached by Toshinari Takaoka, who debuted in 2:09:41 before running the still-standing Japanese national record of 2:06:16 a year later in Chicago, there is plenty of reason to hope that Morita will take another step forward in the Japanese ranks in Brighton.

Back on the home front, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will run his third marathon of the year at Sunday's amateur-level Saga Sakura Marathon.  Saga is the first of two marathons Kawauchi plans to run in April in preparation for next month's Hamburg Marathon, where he will face greats Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) and Martin Lel (Kenya).  Retired Berlin World Championships women's marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki will also appear at Saga as a special guest runner.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Metts said…
Stanford had a few good races especially the 10,000 this weekend.

Most-Read This Week

Former Coach Koide on Hara's Arrest: "She Was Really F*cking Serious"

A World Championships marathoner was arrested for shoplifting. On Aug. 17 The Tochigi Prefectural Police Ashikaga Department arrested temp worker Yumiko Hara, 35, on suspicion of stealing skin lotion and other items from a convenience store.

Yoshio Koide, Hara's former coach at the Universal Entertainment corporate team and head of the Saku Athlete Club, was surprised by the events. "She trained harder than anybody," Koide said. "She never missed training, and she was really f*cking serious. I think there must have been a reason for her to commit shoplifting, but she was always a normal kind of girl who would say, "Yes!" when you told her to do something. When she retired she said, 'I've done what I could but I just can't run the way I want to.' I haven't spoken to her since she quit, but it's very unfortunate news and I can't understand it."

source article:https://www.nikkansports.com/general/nikkan/news/1873808.html
translat…

World Championships Marathoner Yumiko Hara Arrested for Shoplifting Cosmetics

Former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 35, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting cosmetics and other goods. A resident of Ashikaga, Tochigi, Hara is suspected of shoplifting eight items including cosmetics and soft drinks with a total value of 2700 yen [~$25 USD] from a local convenience store on July 30. According to police, a clerk performing a store inventory found that the item totals did not match. When police reviewed security camera footage they identified Hara as a suspect.

Hara represented Japan at two World Championships, finishing 6th in the marathon at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships. During her interrogation Hara admitted her guilt in the charges, saying that there was "no mistake."
Translator's note: Along with the 2005 Helsinki World Championships and 2007 Osaka World Championships, Hara represented Japan at the 2003 Vilamoura World Half Marathon Championships. She was the winner of both the 2007 Osaka International Women's Maratho…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…