Skip to main content

Kawauchi Calls for Kurosaki to be Replaced on National Team

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/07/08/kiji/K20140708008521980.html
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140707-OHT1T50300.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The civil servant runner has roared.  After finishing 3rd at the July 6 Gold Coast Airport Marathon in Australia, 2014 Incheon Asian Games marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) returned to Narita Airport early on the morning of July 7.  Kawauchi fell badly early in the race but still finished 3rd as the top Japanese man in 2:11:27.  Speaking animatedly and at length as he was interviewed in the arrival lobby at 6:30 a.m., more than his own result Kawauchi struggled to understand how Hirokatsu Kurosaki, 28, a member of the two-time defending New Year Ekiden national champion Konica Minolta corporate team and named to the Japanese marathon National Team in April alongside Kawauchi after running 2:09:07 at February's Tokyo Marathon, could have sunk as low as his 10th-place 2:19:12 finish behind two Japanese runners not on the National Team, one an amateur club runner.

"A National Team member got torn to shreds," Kawauchi said.  "Is that really acceptable for a member of a team representing his country?  When you become a National Team member and a representative of your country there are a lot of expectations, aren't there?  If I ran around 2:20 people would tear me apart.  'What the hell are you doing, taking time off work for that?!' and the like.  It's not enough to just show up when you have the privilege of being invited to compete in a race.  You need to meet expectations.  The National Team carries the reputation of our country, and if you can't live up to that then you should be replaced with someone else."

Every time he has been named to a national team Kawauchi has received truly heartless hate mail from members of the general public when he has underperformed.  From this he knows the weight of responsibility that comes from representing one's country, and because of that he holds performing badly as a National Team member to be unforgivable.  The National Team gives members an advantage in selection for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics along with benefits including advanced medical science support.  Despite members being named and subject to replacement on an annual basis, the criteria for nomination are not clear.  Kawauchi believes that members should be at risk of more frequent replacement in order to keep membership more competitive.  "For example," he said, "if you blow two races in a row you should be replaced.  I think we'd start seeing guys gunning to beat Kawauchi and replace him on the team."

Kawauchi has roughly three months left until the Asian Games, where he intends to remove himself from consideration for future national teams if he does not win the gold medal.  His only planned race this month is the July 27 Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km, but even in training he burns with the motivation to "surpass the corporate runners in quality."  With a greater spirit of professionalism than anyone, the civil servant runner headed straight out into the rain after the interview for his pre-work run.

Translator's note: For clarity, in this article National Team, capitalized, refers to the Federation's new elite marathoner development program, while national team, uncapitalized, refers more generally to Olympic, World Championships, World Half Marathon and other Japanese teams.

Comments

tirunning said…
This blog is good information for asia runner i have inspiration from japan runner.Because thai runner like japan runner.

Most-Read This Week

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…