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Omwamba and Murayama Top First Day of National University Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
videos by komazawaOB and 陸上競技動画集
click here for day two report

It's an idiosyncrasy of the Japanese racing calendar that both the National University Track and Field Championships and National Corporate Track and Field Championships take place in the fall well over three months after the more competitive regional meets and just after heavy summer mileage training.  That didn't seem to matter on the first day of the National University meet.

Continuing his return from the stress fracture that knocked both him and Yamanashi Gakuin University out of this year's Hakone Ekiden, 2014 Kanto Region double 1500 m and 5000 m champion Enock Omwamba and Kanto 10000 m champion Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), the identical twin brother of #1-ranked Japanese collegiate Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), stole the show in the 1500 m with a brilliant head-to-head battle to the line far out in front of the rest of the field.  Coming off the last corner it looked like the strong-kicking Murayama might pull off a miracle, but Omwamba got the better of him in the final meters as he crossed the line in 3:39.01, a PB by 0.15 seconds, with Murayama a few strides behind in a four-second-plus PB of 3:39.56.  Both broke the meet record, dating back to 1993, by more than four seconds.

Sub-3:40 times are a rarity in Japan, let alone at the collegiate level, and both Omwamba and Murayama made the record books.  Omwamba's time was good for all-time #4 among Japanese collegiates and Murayama's for #5, with Murayama also coming in at all-time #2 among Japanese-born collegiates and all-time #9 among Japanese men.  Kanto Region D2 1500 m champ Lazarus Motanya (Obirin Univ.) was a distant 3rd in 3:44.89 after running much of the race with Omwamba and Murayama but looked happy with a five-second PB in his first season in Japan.

The men's 10000 m also delivered some great action, with defending champion Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) taking things out at 27:30 pace and burning off all but self-coached Kansai Region 10000 m champ Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) and 2013 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) in the early going.  Things slowed across the board as the race progressed, but Ichida and Hirai still lost touch midway through.  Down as far as 20 seconds behind Kitonyi, Hirai clawed his way back over the last 2000 m and bore down on Kitonyi in the home straight.  It looked like Hirai might steal the win, but he ran out of ground as Kitonyi held on in 28:35.88 with Hirai less than a second behind in 28:36.72, a PB by over 20 seconds and making good on his vow in July to beat all the Kanto Region Hakone Ekiden stars and be the top Japanese man in the National University 10000 m.  Ichida, one of those stars, held on to 3rd in 28:50.98.

Women's distance action was more conservative on the first day of the meet.  Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) won the 1500 m in 4:24.69, a fraction of a second over top- ranked Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) and Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) but nearly ten seconds off the meet record.  In the 10000 m, Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) outkicked teammate Eri Fujita and favorite Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) to win a tactical race in 33:52.91 by just over a second.

Self-coached like 10000 m runner-up Hirai, London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) delivered a season best 10.14 (+0.1), just 0.03 off the meet record, to lead the men's 100 m semi-finals in a solid return from a season of injuries.  His first-year rival Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) gave his specialty event the miss, instead choosing to give the 200 m a go later in the weekend.  Kiryu did anchor Toyo's 4x100 m relay team, finishing 2nd in its heat in 39.76 but failing to advance to the final.  Waseda University led the qualifying heats with a solid 38.90.  In the women's 100 m Olympian Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) was a scratch after a muscle pull, following up with an announcement that the injury was bad enough that she was withdrawing from this month's Asian Games.  In her absence Yuki Miyazawa (Toyama Univ.) led the semi-finals in 11.68 (+1.3), Asari Niwa (Chukyo Univ.) taking the other semi in 11.68 (+1.6).  The day's other big result came in the women's javelin throw, where Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.) continued Japan's ongoing javelin renaissance with a new meet record of 57.97 m on her first throw.

The National University Track and Field Championships continue throughout the weekend.

2014 National University Track and Field Championships Day One
Kumagaya, Saitama, 9/5/14
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Daniel Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) - 28:35.88
2. Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) - 28:36.72
3. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:50.98
4. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 29:05.80
5. Toshiyuki Yanagi (Waseda Univ.) - 29:06.86
6. Takaya Sato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:08.13
7. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:16.15
8. Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.) - 29:17.47
9. Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:18.94
10. Ryohei Nishyama (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:30.95

Women's 10000 m
1. Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 33:52.91
2. Rie Fujita (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 33:54.38
3. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:57.87
4. Mio Muraoka (Meijo Univ.) - 33:59.49
5. Fuyuka Kimura (Daito Buna Univ.) - 34:01.93

Men's 1500 m Final
1. Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:39.01 - MR
2. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 3:39.56 (MR)
3. Lazarus Motanya (Obirin Univ.) - 3:44.89
4. Hikaru Kato (Nittai Univ.) - 3:47.92
5. Ryota Matono (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:48.25

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:24.69
2. Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:24.92
3. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:25.31
4. Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:25.40
5. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:29.25

Men's 400 m Final
1. Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) - 45.88
2. Tomoya Tamura (Chukyo Univ.) - 46.10
3. Kazushi Kimura (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 46.57
4. Kenta Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 46.90
5. Takahiro Kondo (Tsukuba Univ.) - 47.25

Women's 400 m Final
1. Misato Hasegawa (Nittai Univ.) - 54.45
2. Kaede Kashiyama (Shigakkan Univ.) - 55.00
3. Ayaka Nishida (Kobe Univ.) - 55.10
4. Nahoko Otsuki (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) - 55.26
5. Misaki Ueyama (Higashi Osako Univ.) - 55.78

Women's 10000 m Race Walk
1. Rena Goto (Chubu Gakuin Univ.) - 47:19.04
2. Kaori Kawazoe (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 47:42.93
3. Sae Matsumoto (Kokushikan Univ.) - 49:03.56
4. Fumiko Okabe (Saitama Medical Univ.) - 49:38.96
5. Saki Maeda (Nagoya Univ.) - 49:53.73

Men's Triple Jump
1. Ryoma Yamamoto (Juntendo Univ.) - 16.28 m (+0.0)
2. Shu Tomura (Juntendo Univ.) - 16.20 m (+0.7)
3. Naoyuki Okada (Nihon Univ.) - 16.05 m (+0.6)

Women's High Jump
1. Yuko Enomoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 3.85 m
2. Kimika Saito (Chukyo Univ.) - 3.80 m
3. Rina Aya (Hiroshima Univ.) - 3.75 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Homare Mori (Chuo Univ.) - 75.59 m
2. Yoshihiro Nakajima (Tsukuba Univ.) - 73.72 m
3. Kenta Sonoda (Tsukuba Univ.) - 72.77 m

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.) - 57.97 m - MR
2. Ai Yamauchi (Osaka Keisei Univ.) - 56.55 m
3. Marina Saito (Kokushikan Univ.) - 54.82 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Metts said…
The 10,000 meter track race is still alive and strong in Japan, compared to the rest of the world.

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