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Olympic Sprinter Yamagata Turns Down Corporate League Offers to Train in U.S. With Seiko Sponsorship

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140723-OHT1T50329.html

translated by Brett Larner

On July 23 it was announced that London Olympics sprinter Ryota Yamagata (22, Keio Univ.) will join Seiko Holdings Corporation and be based in California, U.S.A.  Yamagata's decision was a big one, made in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  Turning down offers from many top corporate league teams, he entered into a sponsorship agreement with Seiko Holdings, manufacturers of watches and other precision mechanical equipment.

Seiko does not currently have a track and field team, but Yamagata intends to move to California by himself following his graduation next spring and as part of his agreement with Seiko, at his own request he will be responsible for choosing his coach, trainer, training location and environment himself.  "Maybe I could have gotten the best support somewhere else, but I want to open up new ways of doing things," he commented.  Having developed his training menus through his own study ever since high school, Yamagata's decision to go it alone comes as no surprise.  He plans to brush up his language skills from now until next spring.  "I'm okay when it comes to everyday conversation," he said.  "I just have to study more."

Seiko first became the official Olympic timekeeper 50 years ago at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  As an official partner of the IAAF it is also the official timekeeper of the World Track and Field Championships, giving it a strong connection with the world of athletics.  "Yamagata will be 28 at the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and that will be the culmination of his career," said Keio University head coach Shintaro Kawai.  "After his retirement he will have the option of working at Seiko if he wants, which was also part of the decision."

In the 2012 London Olympics heats Yamagata ran 10.07, the fastest-ever by a Japanese athlete at the Olympics.  Following that he went through a period of injury, but expectations are still high that he will bring Japan its first sub-10.  By taking his game to one of track and field's great powers, Yamagata is aiming to go even further.

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The Kawauchi Counter

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Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
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Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
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Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
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              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
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Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

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http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/column/detail/201701120002-spnavi

translated by Brett Larner

Ahead of his nomination to the London World Championships Marathon team, Sportsnavi published a three-part series of writings by Yuki Kawauchi on what it took for him to make the team, his hopes for London, and his views on the future of Japanese marathoning.  With his place on the London team announced on Mar. 17, JRN will publish an English translation of the complete series over the next three days. See Sportsnavi's original version linked above for more photos. Click here for part two, "Bringing All My Experience Into Play in London," or here for part three, "The Lessons of the Past Are Not 'Outdated.'"


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