Skip to main content

Yamanashi Gakuin University Welcomes Tenth Kenyan Student Athlete in School History

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/20150504-OYT1T50009.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Aiming for its first seeded bracket finish in three years at January's Hakone Ekiden, Yamanashi Gakuin University's track and field team welcomed the tenth Kenyan student athlete in the program's history, Dominic Nyairo, 18, at the start of the new academic year in April.  At a time trial meet on April 25 Nyairo broke 29 minutes for 10000 m, a time that puts him on the same level as the upper tier of athletes who run the Hakone Ekiden.  YGU head coach Kiyoshi Ueda is optimistic about Nyairo's prospects, saying, "he is highly adaptable."

Nyairo is 1 m 67 cm tall and weighs 48.5 kg.  Like the student athletes who preceded him at YGU, he comes from western Kenya.  After his arrival on April 11 he enrolled as a first-year in YGU's Faculty of Modern Business.  Because Nyairo can not yet speak Japanese, Ueda is coaching him in English.

Having a Kenyan on the team does not mean that he is simply there as a ringer to make the team more competitive.  "We want him to study seriously at our university and to experience Japanese sports culture through the Hakone Ekiden," said coach Ueda of the concept behind the program for bringing Kenyans to Yamanashi, the personal connections developed this way leading to Nyairo's arrival in Japan. 

Before his departure from Kenya, he met with one of his predecessors at YGU, Stephen Mayaka, now head coach at Obirin University and a Japanese citizen.  Mayaka talked to him at length about the team and the Hakone Ekiden, convincing him to make the decision to study abroad.  "Mayaka gave his seal of approval that Nyairo was someone with the personality to succeed in a team environment," said coach Ueda.

Currently a senior at YGU, Enock Omwamba commented, "Up to now I've been the only Kenyan here, so I'm glad he's coming."  Omwamba has been giving Nyairo advice on training and on the proper way to greet people and other points of etiquette.  "I know that it's hard at first, but I hope that he can gradually get used to life here," he said, expressing his support for his younger teammate.

Before coming to Japan Nyairo had a 10000 m best of 28:50. After learning basic drills and form, at the April 25 Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama he ran 28:38.46.  The effects of his new coaching environment were immediately clear.  Looking toward Nyairo's future, coach Ueda was positive as he said, "First we have to help him adapt to the team.  It's not the sort of thing that happens overnight, but he has the right kind of attitude."

Comments

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…

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…

List of Japanese Athletes Qualified for 2017 London World Championships

It's 50 days to go to the 2017 London World Championships and just over a week out from the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka where the country's best will be trying to earn places on the London team. Athletes will have the chance to chase standards in the weeks after Nationals, but excluding the marathon, walks and combined events, all of which are held separately from the National Championships, the following is a list of Japanese athletes already holding valid qualifying marks for London.

Things are looking very thin right now, with only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m currently capable of fielding complete contingents, although at least the men's 200 m, men's pole vault and conceivably the men's 10000 m could join that short list. With sixteen women currently holding the London standard the women's 10000 m looks to be the toughest to make even if marathon squad members Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu…