Skip to main content

Federation Executives Express Disappointment at Weak Japanese Showing in Fukuoka

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20141207-00000527-sanspo-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photos by Dr. Helmut Winter

Former world record holder Patrick Makau (Kenya) ran 2:08:22 to win the Dec. 7 Fukuoka International Marathon, the first domestic selection race for the Japanese team for next August's Beijing World Championships.  Japanese Federation executives who set the Beijing qualification standard at sub-2:06:30, a time only one Japanese man has ever run, were quick to express their disappointment at the 2:09:06 4th-place finish by 33-year-old Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) being the top Japanese placing.

Executive Director Mitsugi Ogata, 55, expressed concern about the lead-up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in two years and beyond to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, saying, "We must cultivate true star athletes.  We've still got a harsh road ahead of us."  Ogata praised 3rd place finisher Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN), 4th at October's Asian Games marathon, for mixing it up with the Africans.  "He just kept attacking.  I'd like to see aggressive athletes like that appear here too."

Development Committee Director Katsumi Sakai, 54, seethed with chagrin as he commented, "If they don't change their way of thinking they'll never be able to compete with the rest of the world.  I'm utterly disappointed."  The poor showing by Kentaro Nakamoto (32, Team Yasukawa Denki) was another blow to the National Team program Sakai helped establish in April.

Men's Marathoning Director Takeshi Soh, 61, expressed a sense of crisis that the next generation did not rise to the challenge as he said, "I think today was a shame.  I expected to see our young athletes make a breakthrough."  He urged the country's best young athletes to make their marathon debuts early, saying, "If our current university runners move to the marathon when they're at their peak speed it will improve our overall level."

photos (c) 2014 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
IF the Japanese athletes keep doing the same training in the same locations, they will stay at the 2:08-2:09 level forever. You cannot expect to do the same training with the same training partners in the same training venues and expect to improve. Occaisionally they'll have an outlier like Takaoka, but if they want to compete against the top Kenyans and Ethiopians, then why don't they go there and live with them and train alongside them?
Pichon said…
2H06'30 it is really unrealistic indeed only athletes of Ethiopia and Kenya realized superior performances this year.
Furthermore some of these performances are suspicious (see the last revelations concerning doping )

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…