Skip to main content

Federation Eliminates Selection Advantage from National Team Program

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1483468.html

an editorial by Hirokazu Ogishima
translated by Brett Larner

At a meeting of its executive committee May 27 in Tokyo, the JAAF made the decision to eliminate the advantage in Olympic and World Championships marathon team selection given to members of its National Team program.  The National Team program was launched last spring and is overseen directly by the JAAF's Development Committee, who at the time of the program's inauguration said that members would receive priority in consideration for the 2016 Rio Olympic team.  A year later they have flip-flopped and gone in exactly the opposite direction.

At the meeting the JAAF board discussed the organization of this year's National Team, the members of which have not yet been announced.  Criteria such as evaluation of athletes' performances over the last year will not change, but Vice-Chairman of Development Katsumi Sakai stated, "At the point in time when we determine Olympic team membership we will not take into consideration whether candidates are member of the National Team program."  Board member Toshihiko Seko, who at an earlier board meeting had said, "It would be strange is someone who ran a solid time was not chosen just because they were not in the National Team program," commented, "I think it's a good change.  It will give motivation to young athletes who are not members of the National Team program."

The change will help improve competition for the Olympic team by giving more chance for athletes without proven track records to make it, but the National Team program itself remains vague and ill-defined.  Last year team members were announced at the start of the fiscal year at the beginning of April, but at this point in the program's second year the Development Committee is still talking to potential members.  Vice-Chairman Sakai has said, "Our goal in Rio is to have our athletes finish among the top places.  To that end we will offer support for dealing with hot weather and such."  Be that as it may, with the National Team program members' advantage in Olympic and World Championships team selection eliminated it is likely that we will see athletes decline to take part in the program.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Ichiyama and Kirui Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

Last year's winners Betsy Saina and Edward Waweru, both of Kenya, return to the Feb. 3 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, but in both cases they have tough competition. Ranked #1 in the women's race is Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) with a 1:09:14, 3 seconds better than Saina's winning time last year. 3 seconds slower is Sinead Diver (Australia) with a 1:09:20 on home ground last year. Sara Hall (U.S.A.) isn't far behind, and with track star Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) making her debut off a brilliant run at last weekend's National Women's Ekiden it should be a solid pack up front.

In the men's race, 2017 marathon world champion Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) leads the way, his best recent time a 1:00:04 in New Delhi two years ago. Only 2 seconds behind is Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya), with Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) and the Japan-based Waweru just over 20 seconds back. Waweru's condition is a question mark after an injury at the New Year Ekiden. Kenta Murayama (Asah…

2019 Japanese Distance Rankings

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

Mokgobu and Sonoda Return to Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon

After an exciting head-to-head last year that saw them race each other to sub-2:10 PBs, Desmond Mokgobu (South Africa) and Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) return to the Feb. 3 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon. The pair face not only each other but recent sub-2:10 men Hicham Laqouahi (Morocco), Abdela Godana (Ethiopia), Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Konica Minolta), Daisuke Uekado (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku), Justus Kiprotich (Kenya), Takuya Fukatsu (Asahi Kasei) Kohei Ogino (Japan/Fujitsu) and Yihunilign Adane (Ethiopia) and sub-62 half marathoners Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei), Charles Ndirangu (JFE Steel) and Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei), setting up a better-than-average pack by Beppu-Oita standards.

For the Japanese men Beppu-Oita counts toward qualification for the MGC Race, Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials. Sonoda and Uekado have already made it along with fellow entrants Naoki Okamoto (Chugoku Denryoku) and Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta), but for Ogino and others it will be just about their last …