translated by Brett Larner
Rising stars in the women's long distance world, the Takamatsu sisters powered Osaka to its first National Women's Ekiden win in three years on Jan. 11 in Kyoto. Their father a Kenyan, Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (3rd year, Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin J.H.S.) ran the fastest time on the 3.0 km Third Stage to pass five people and put Osaka in 2nd before handing off to older sister Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (2nd year, Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) who, even though losing ground, kept the team in contention with the leaders. Both played important roles in Osaka winning over defending champion Kyoto by 1 second.
Just before the finish and Osaka's come-from-behind win both Takamatsu sisters were all smiles. Having repeated her stage win from last year, Tomomi said, "I had a lot of strong competition on the Third Stage so I'm really happy to win it again." Getting a shout of, "Go get 'em!" from her younger sister along with the tasuki, Nozomi was disappointed at having lost spirit and dropped from 2nd to 6th, saying, "My little sister put us into such a good position and everything...I wanted to win having run my best."
At August's Youth Olympics in China Nozomi won the gold medal in the girls' 3000 m. Tomomi was 2nd in the National Junior High School Track and Field Championships girls' 1500 m last summer. Both aspire to futures as Olympians. In the spring Tomomi will enter the same high school as her older sister. "I want to do my best while we have this important chance to be together," she said. Nozomi agreed, saying, "At home we're ordinary sisters, but in races we're rivals. I want to keep improving my times while competing with her."
Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu - Born Aug. 31, 1997. 17 years old, 160.5 cm tall. Came to Japan from her father's hometown in Kenya when she was 3.
Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu - Born Feb. 23, 2000. 14 years old, 144.5 cm tall.