Skip to main content

Omuta H.S. Second-Year Shota Onizuka Heads to World Juniors: "I Want to Test My Strength"

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/f_chikugo/article/101635

translated by Brett Larner
photo by rikujolove

Omuta H.S. second-year Shota Onizuka, 16, is bound for Eugene, Oregon in the U.S.A. where he will compete in the July 22-27 World Junior Championships.  The meet features outstanding under-20 competitors from around the world including 43 from Japan selected from among the country's best high school and university athletes.

Onizuka is the first-ever Omuta H.S. student to be picked for the national team.  Last year he was Omuta's anchor in its runner-up finish at the National High School Ekiden Championships.  On the track he was also 2nd in a tight race at the National High School Championships, but the disappointment of losing by a margin of only one second served as motivation for his training and at a time trial meet this May he ran 13:58.43, the fastest time so far this year by a Japanese high schooler [above photo].

Onizuka leaves Japan on July 17 and will run the 5000 m at World Juniors along with Tokai University's Kazuto Kawabata.  "I want to bring the kind of running that will let me break my PB," Onizuka said of his goals for the Championships.  "I want to test my strength against foreign competition."  Omuta H.S. ekiden team head coach Ken Akaike gave Onizuka his encouragement, commenting, "He's part of the generation that is targeting the Tokyo Olympics.  I hope that he comes back with a feeling for the responsibility of wearing the Rising Sun and for the level of competition in the rest of the world and that it serves as a stimulus for his continued growth."

photo (c) 2014 M. Kawaguchi
all rights reserved

Comments

Matt Holton said…
Looking forward to seeing you race in Eugene.

Most-Read This Week

2019 Tokyo Marathon Elite Field

Hot on the heels of the London Marathon field announcement, the Tokyo Marathon has put its 2019 elite field into the public sphere. With a new date a week later on March 3rd thanks to the impending Imperial succession Tokyo has at last put together a proper elite women's field at parity with the men's field, one including top-level Japanese women for the first time. Change is slow to come, but with this field it looks like it has arrived. 2:18:34 for 2nd in Berlin last year,

Ethiopian Ruti Aga leads 14 women with times 2:23 or better in the last 3 years. Half are Ethiopian, two Kenyan, two Bahraini and three Japanese, with two high-level first-timers, Kenya's Joan Chelimo Melly and Japan's Mao Ichiyama, tacked on. #2 through #4-ranked women Boru Feyse Tadese, Yebrgual Melese and Ababel Yeshaneh all ran 2:19 to 2:20 last year, making the chances of an Ethiopian sweep definitely greater than zero.

The structure of Japanese national team selection and marketing-related f…

2019 Japanese Distance Rankings - updated 1/21/19

JRN's 2019 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. Distances will be added as the season progresses. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2018 ・ 2017 ・ 2016・ 2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved