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Japan's outdoor track season got underway on Saturday with the rainy 23rd edition of Kumamoto's Kanaguri Memorial Meet. Teammates James Mwangi and Edward Waweru of the NTN corporate team got the season off to a good start with a 1-2 finish in Heat 4 of the men's 5000 m, Mwangi leading the way with a 13:25.56 a full ten seconds ahead of Waweru. Japan-based Kenyans and Ethiopians took 11 of the top 13 places, with the only Japanese runners to get into the middle of things both running PBs to get there. Second-year Keisuke Nakatani of three-time defending National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University ran a sizable best of 13:48.99 for 8th, a time that ranks him 2nd on the Komazawa squad behind only World Half Marathon Championships team member Kenta Murayama. Sub-28 and sub-1:02 as a collegiate, Yuta Shitara made a good debut in the Honda uniform by knocking 2 seconds off his best for 9th in 13:49.98.
Two-time world junior 3000 mSC champion Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) led the otherwise all-Japanese Heat 5 in 13:47.55, with Yuki Yagi (Team Asahi Kasei) alternating the lead with him and get just under Nakatani's time for 2nd in 13:48.12. Past national champions Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) were close behind.
Yagi's teammate Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) was 5th in 13:54.71 two hours after running a 3:46.84 PB for 2nd in the men's 1500 m.
Heat 2 of the men's 5000 m saw a rare happening as Josai University second-year Kazuki Takahashi was disqualified after false starting twice. Why or how remains a mystery.
Susan Wairimu (Team Denso) and Pauline Kamulu (Team Toto) completed a Kenyan sweep of the main distance events in Heat 2 of the women's 5000 m, Wairimu winning in 15:50.72 by a comfortable margin. Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) raced Kamulu to the line but lost out by a lean, 3rd in 15:54.47.
Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) took the all-high school women's 3000 m in 9:23.58.
2012 and 2013 national 1500 m champion Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) opened her season with a 4:20.30 win in Heat 2 of the women's 1500 m.
23rd Kanaguri Memorial Meet
click here for complete results
Men's 5000 m Heat 4
1. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:25.56
2. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:35.63
3. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:36.79
4. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 13:40.81
5. Ayele Abayneh (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) - 13:40.93
6. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 13:44.52
7. Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 13:48.92
8. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:48.99 - PB
9. Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) - 13:49.98 - PB
10. Abera Melaku (Ethiopia/Team Kurosak Harima) - 13:52.90
Men's 5000 m Heat 5
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:47.55
2. Yuki Yagi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:48.12
3. Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 13:51.03
4. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:53.63
5. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:54.71
Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Susan Wairimu (Kenya/Team Denso) - 15:50.72
2. Pauline Kamulu (Kenay/Team Toto) - 15:54.28
3. Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) - 15:54.47
4. Yuka Miyazaki (Team Kyudenko) - 16:03.66
5. Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 16:05.71
Women's 3000 m Heat 3
1. Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 9:23.58
2. Maako Konishi (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:25.02
3. Haruka Tobimatsu (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:25.88
4. Rui Maenohara (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:26.51
5. Yuri Nozoe (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:26.85
Men's 1500 m Heat 2
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 3:42.45 - PB
2. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 3:46.84 - PB
3. Yasunari Kusu (Team Komori Corp.) - 3:49.13
4. Yusuke Hiratsuka (Josai Univ.) - 3:50.43
5. Shogo Hata (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:51.20
Women's 1500 m Heat 2
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 4:20.30
2. Mika Nakagawa (Team Hokuren) - 4:22.86
3. Ayano Ikemitsu (Team Kagoshima Ginko) - 4:24.56
4. Misaki Hayashida (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:26.42
5. Haruka Mochizuki (Team Yutaka Giken) - 4:26.79
(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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