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Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview (updated)

by Brett Larner

The 99th edition of the Japanese National Track and Field Championships kick off Friday, June 26 at Niigata's Big Swam Stadium.  Of the disciplines to be contested at Nationals, 36 athletes in 16 events come in holding IAAF qualifying marks for August's Beijing World Championships, 5 of them having met the JAAF's tougher selection standards, and with the JAAF letting others chase marks up until Aug. 2 there are plenty of chances for others to get on board if they can navigate the JAAF's baffling selection process and finish in the upper places.

The withdrawal of big names like wunderkind sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) and 20-time hammer champ Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) means that Kei Takase (Fujitsu) will be one of this year's biggest draws.  Coming in ranked #1 in both the men's 100 m and 200 m with fresh PBs of 10.09 and 20.14 this spring, Takase is the only athlete in a running event to have cleared the JAAF standard, essentially meaning that as long as he makes the final in the 200 m he will make the Beijing team.  Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) is the only other man in the 100 m to have cleared the IAAF qualifying standard and both he and Takase will have to win or make top 3 to have the best chance of making the Beijing team.  The 200 m looks it will be one of this year's best events, with 6 men besides Takase coming in with IAAF qualifying marks.  Takase, currently ranked #10 in the world, only needs to finish in the top 8, meaning that only the top 2 among the others will join him on the team. Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zenrin) and 2010 World Juniors gold medalist Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) are the best among them, both having cleared 20.40 this season.  If someone without a qualifying time gets into the top 3 things will get more complicated as they will have another month to chase the 20.50 standard.

The women's 10000 m is one of 2 other events with more qualified athletes than places on the team, 6 women on the start list holding sub-32:00 times within the Beijing qualifying window.  Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) is the favorite at 31:37.32, and with her strongest rival Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) and defending national champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) both having been in shaky condition this season it's far from sure who will challenge Takashima.  3 other athletes led by Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) in 32:00.15 have broken 32:10 this season and could upset the cart by making the top 3 and chasing the 32:00.00 qualifying standard at next month's Hokuren Distance Challenge series or elsewhere.

The men's high jump is the other deep event at this year's Nationals.  #1-ranked Naoto Tobe (Tsukuba TP) has jumped 2.31 m to meet the JAAF standard, meaning a top 8 finish is enough to get him to Beijing.  3 other men have cleared the 2.28 m IAAF standard and will be competing for the other 2 spots.

The women's 5000 m, men's 10000 m and men's 400 mH each feature 3 athletes with the IAAF standard, but while the only question in the hurdlles looks like whether Kazuaki Yoshida (Team Osaka Gas), Yuta Konishi (Team Sumitomo Denko) and Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) can hold on to the top 3 spots, in both the women's 5 and men's 10 there are plenty of people just off the standard who could easily get into the top 3 and keep one of the qualified people out.  Both races include Kenyan pacers, suggesting the JAAF wants people to hit the qualifying standards there and then, and in the men's 10000 m in particular this is setting it up for a fantastic race.

Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei), Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) and Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) have all made the all-time Japanese top 10 with sub-27:45.00 IAAF qualifying marks.  Unluckily making his official Oregon Project debut just days before allegations against head coach Alberto Salazar broke, perpetual Nationals runner-up Suguru Osako was just off the standard in 27:45.24.  His sit-and-kick arch-nemesis, defending champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) is likewise just off the standard, only 27:57.13 this season but having a 27:46.59 qualifying mark from last spring.  Chances for Osako and Sato to hit the standard after Nationals are limited, and with sub-27:30 Kenyan William Malel (Team Honda) on the list to keep things fast they may have to go for it this weekend.  With Yoroizaka, Murayama and Shitara all in the field there's no guarantee that even that would be enough.  Update: Both Osako and Sato are reported to have withdrawn from the 10000 m, Sato also from the 5000 m.  However, Osako's name remains on the official start list as of this writing.

9 other events include at least one already-qualified athlete.  Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) in the men's pole vault, Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) in the men's javelin and Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) in the women's javelin have all cleared the JAAF standard and only need to make top 8 to go to Beijing.  Others including familiar faces Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC), Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Yohei Sugai (Mizuno) as well as relative newcomers like Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) have to make top 3 in their events, but with the exception of Murayama, who will face Osako, Yoroizaka, Sato and collegiate national record holder Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko), with no real competition it would take a seriously off day for them not to make the Beijing cut.

NHK will be broadcasting some parts of the National Championships live nationwide and commercial-free, with others broadcast on tape delay.  Click here for the NHK broadcast schedule.  JRN will be on-site throughout the weekend to bring you English-language coverage both here and on Twitter.

99th Japanese National Track and Field Championships 
Entry List Highlights
Big Swan Stadium, Niigata, June 26-28, 2015
click here for meet schedule and start lists

Standards listed for each event are JAAF selection standard / IAAF World Championships qualifying standard.  Times listed for athletes are SB / PB.  Athletes in bold italics have cleared the JAAF's selection standard.  Athletes in bold have cleared the IAAF World Championships qualifying standard.

Sprints

Men's 100 m - 10.01 / 10.16
Kei Takase (Fujitsu) - 10.09 / 10.09
Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) - 10.14 / 10.07
Asuka Cambridge (Nihon Univ.) - 10.21 / 10.21
Masashi Eriguchi (Osaka Gas) - 10.24 / 10.07
Naoki Tsukahara (Fujitsu) - 10.28 / 10.09

Women's 100 m - 11.09 / 11.33
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.30 / 11.21
Mayumi Watanabe (Toho Ginko) - 11.51 / 11.44
Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 11.57 / 11.43

Men's 200 m - 20.28 / 20.50
Kei Takase (Fujitsu) - 20.14 / 20.14
Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) - 20.33 / 20.33
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 20.39 / 20.21
Shota Hara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 20.41 / 20.41
Masafumi Naoki (Chuo Univ.) - 20.44 / 20.44
Kotaro Taniguchi (Chuo Univ.) - 20.45 / 20.45
Shinji Takahira (Fujitsu) - 20.50 / 20.22
Yuichi Kobayashi (NTN) - 20.69 / 20.46
Hitoshi Saito (Daiichi Sakekaika) - 20.79 / 20.42

Women's 200 m - 22.60 / 23.20
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 23.11 / 22.89
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 23.60 / 23.51
Seika Aoyama (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 23.86 / 23.78

Men's 400 m - 44.89 / 45.50
Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.46 / 45.16
Naoki Kobayashi (Tokai Univ.) - 45.79 / 45.79
Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) - 45.88 / 45.69
Yusuke Ishitsuka (Mizuno) - 45.98 / 45.87

Women's 400 m - 50.59 / 52.00
Seika Aoyama (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 52.99 / 52.99
Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 53.34 / 53.34
Nanako Matsumoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 53.59 / 53.59

Middle Distance

Men's 800 m - 1:43.98 / 1:46.00
Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:45.75 / 1:45.75
Renya Maeda (Meiji Univ.) - 1:48.08 / 1:48.08
Masato Yokota (Fujitsu) - 1:48.87 / 1:46.16

Women's 800 m - 1:58.86 / 2:01.00
Fumika Omori (Lotte) - 2:03.96 / 2:03.96
Manami Mashita (Cerespo) - 2:04.45 / 2:03.52
Ryoko Hirano (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2:06.75 / 2:05.16

Men's 1500 m - 3:32.95 / 3:36.20
Daiki Hirose (Osaka Gas) - 3:42.15 / 3:42.15
Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:42.75 / 3:42.75
Toshihiro Kenmotsu (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 3:43.23 / 3:43.23

Women's 1500 m - 4:02.15 / 4:06.50
Ayako Jinnouchi (Kyudenko) - 4:12.41 / 4:10.08
Chihiro Sunaga (Shiseido) - 4:14.99 / 4:14.99
Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:16.37 / 4:16.37

Long Distance

Men's 5000 m - 13:06.63 / 13:23.00
Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 13:19.62 / 13:19.62
Suguru Osako (Oregon Project) - 13:26.15 / 13:20.80
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) - 13:29.03 / 13:29.03
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 13:34.02 / 13:21.49
Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:34.97 / 13:13.60
Kensuke Takezawa (Sumitomo Denko) - 13:37.89 / 13:19.00
Genki Yagisawa (Yakult) - 13:45.59 / 13:28.79

Women's 5000 m - 15:06.34 / 15:20.00
Ayako Suzuki (Japan Post) - 15:14.96 / 15:14.96
Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) -15:16.82 / 15:16.82
Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:18.95 / 15:18.95
Yuika Mori (Yamada Denki) - 15:20.21 / 15:20.21
Ayumi Hagiwara (Uniqlo) - 15:24.56 / 15:24.56
Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:29.02 / 15:23.80
Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Univ. Ent.) - 15:33.21 / 15:21.57 - pacer
Ann Karindi (Kenya/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:36.72 / 15:05.34 - pacer

Men's 10000 m - 27:31.43 / 27:45.00
William Malel (Kenya/Honda) - 27:25.56 / 27:25.56 - pacer
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) - 27:38.99 / 27:38.99
Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 27:39.95 / 27:39.95
Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 27:42.71 / 27:42.71
Suguru Osako (Oregon Project) - 27:45.24 / 27:38.31
Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:46.59 / 27:38.25
Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) - 27:56.60 / 27:51.54
Chihiro Miyawaki (Toyota) - 28:20.77 / 27:41.57
Yuki Matsuoka (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 28:25.97 / 27:59.78
Akinobu Murasawa (Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:35.09 / 27:50.59

Women's 10000 m - 31:23.17 / 32:00.00
Yuka Takashima (Denso) - 31:37.32 / 31:37.32
Ayumi Hagiwara (Uniqlo) - 31:41.80 / 31:41.80
Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 31:44.79 / 31:44.79
Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 31:48.22 / 31:48.22
Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 31:53.69 / 31:53.69
Rina Yamazaki (Panasonic) - 31:56.11 / 31:56.11
Hanae Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 32:00.15 / 32:05.15
Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 32:05.87 / 32:05.87
Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 32:07.37 / 32:07.37

Hurdles

Men's 110 mH - 13.30 / 13.47
Genta Masuno (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 13.58 / 13.58
Wataru Yazawa (Descente TC) - 13.59 / 13.59
Hideki Omuro (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13.69 / 13.54

Women's 100 mH - 12.75 / 13.00
Ayako Kimura (Edion) - 13.13 / 13.03
Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.) - 13.32 / 13.02
Masumi Aoki (International Pacific Univ.) - 13.35 / 13.35

Men's 400 mH - 48.74 / 49.50
Kazuaki Yoshida (Osaka Gas) - 49.45 / 49.45
Yuta Konishi (Sumitomo Denko) - 49.48 / 49.41
Takayuki Kishimoto (Fujitsu) - 49.49 / 48.41
Takatoshi Abe (Descente TC) - 49.69 / 49.46
Akihiko Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 49.95 / 49.38
Tetsuya Tateno (Hitachi Sanki) - 49.98 / 49.49
Keisuke Nozawa (Mizuno) - 50.17 / 49.15
Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima) - 50.24 / 49.31
Naohiro Kawakita (Rattle) - 50.41 / 49.04
Yuta Imazeki (Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen H.S.) - 50.62 / 49.27

Women's 400 mH - 54.66 / 56.20
Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 56.21 / 55.34
Manami Kira (Art Home) - 56.63 / 56.63
Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 57.14 / 55.94

Men's 3000 mSC - 8:14.86 / 8:28.00
Aoi Matsumoto (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:33.69 / 8:30.49
Jun Shinoto (Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:34.37 / 8:32.89
Minato Yamashita (NTN) - 8:38.59 / 8:33.57
Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 8:39.54 / 8:39.54

Women's 3000 mSC - 9:26.42 / 9:44.00
Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 9:49.85 / 9:49.85
Mayuko Nakamura (Cerespo) - 9:53.87 / 9:53.87
Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:58.98 / 9:58.98
Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 10:19.09 / 9:33.93

Jumps

Men's High Jump - 2.31 m / 2.28 m
Naoto Tobe (Tsukuba TP) - 2.31 m / 2.31 m
Takashi Eto (AGF) - 2.28 m / 2.28 m
Hiromi Takahari (Hitachi ICT) - 2.28 m / 2.28 m
Yuji Hiramatsu (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2.28 m / 2.28 m

Women's High Jump - 1.94 m / 1.94 m
Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Gakuen AC) - 1.84 m / 1.92 m
Julia Tsuda (Kashiwara Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) - 1.81 m / 1.81 m
Yuka Soma (Aichi Kyoiku Univ.) - 1.81 m / 1.81 m

Men's Pole Vault - 5.70 m / 5.65 m
Daichi Sawano (Fujitsu) - 5.70 m / 5.83 m
Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) - 5.65 m / 5.70 m
Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) - 5.62 m / 5.75 m

Women's Pole Vault - 4.60 m / 4.50 m
Hitomi Abiko (Saga Lake Stars) - 4.30 m / 4.40 m
Megumi Hamano (Bell Japan AC) - 4.20 m / 4.20 m
Miho Imano (Toel) - 4.20 m / 4.20 m

Men's Long Jump - 8.26 m / 8.10 m
Yohei Sugai (Mizuno) - 8.18 m / 8.18 m
Tomoya Takamasa (Juntendo Univ.) - 8.03 m / 8.03 m
Kota Minemura (Monteroza) - 7.94 m / 7.94 m

Women's Long Jump - 6.84 m / 6.70 m
Konomi Kai (Volver) - 6.64 m / 6.64 m
Yurina Hiraka (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 6.42 m / 6.45 m
Sato Mizuguchi (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 6.20 m / 6.20 m

Men's Triple Jump - 17.21 m / 16.90 m
Kazuyoshi Ishikawa (Nagano Yoshida AC) - 16.52 m / 16.98 m
Yuma Ogabe (Kyudenko) - 16.39 m / 16.54 m
Daigo Hasegawa (Hitachi ICT) - 16.35 m / 16.36 m

Women's Triple Jump - 14.48 m / 14.20 m
Mayu Yoshida (Ayumu Athletics) - 13.22 m / 13.22 m
Waka Maeda (Peek) - 13.18 m / 13.18 m
Kaede Miyasaka (Yokohama Kokuritsu Univ.) - 13.05 m / 13.05 m

Throws

Men's Shot Put - 20.87 m / 20.45 m
Satoshi Hatase (Gunma Alsok) - 18.50 m/ 18.56 m
Ikuhiro Miyauchi (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 17.82 m / 17.82 m
Hayato Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) - 17.68 m / 17.88 m

Women's Shot Put - 19.07 m / 17.75 m
Chiaki Yokomizo (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 15.77 m / 15.77 m
Shoko Matsuda (Kokushikan Univ.) - 15.43 m / 15.43 m
Erina Fukumoto (Fukubikagaku) - 15.27 m / 15.27 m

Men's Discus Throw - 66.53 m / 65.00 m
Yuji Tsutsumi (Gunma Alsok) - 60.05 m / 60.05 m
Go Chinen (Zenrin) - 55.95 m / 55.95 m
Kengo Anbo (Tokai Univ.) - 55.79 m / 55.79 m

Women's Discus Throw - 63.94 m / 61.00 m
Ayumi Sakaguchi (S.T.T.) - 54.22 m / 54.22 m
Ai Shikimoto (Niigata Albirex RC) - 51.45 m / 53.48 m
Eriko Nakata (Shikoku Univ.) - 51.31 m / 51.32 m

Men's Hammer Throw - 79.11 m / 76.00 m
Yushiro Hosaka (Tsukuba Univ.) - 70.46 m / 70.46 m
Hiroshi Noguchi (Gunma Alsok) - 70.45 m / 72.43 m
Hiroko Ako (Tottori T&F Assoc.) - 68.96 m / 68.96 m

Women's Hammer Throw - 73.39 m / 70.00 m
Masumi Aya (Maruzen Kogyo) - 65.64 m / 67.26 m
Akane Watanabe (Maruwa Group) - 63.74 m / 63.74 m
Haruno Chinen (Nittai Shisetsu) - 61.52 m / 61.52 m

Men's Javelin Throw - 84.32 m / 82.00 m
Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 86.83 m / 86.83 m
Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 81.66 m / 85.96 m
Taisei Aibara (Nihon Univ.) - 77.40 m / 77.40 m
Genki Dean (Mizuno) - 77.32 m / 84.28 m

Women's Javelin Throw - 63.34 m / 61.00 m
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 63.80 m / 63.80 m
Ai Yamauchi (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 58.76 m / 58.76 m
Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiiku Univ.) - 58.33 m / 60.08 m

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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