Skip to main content

Kawauchi Weighs in on Federation Policy Flip-Flopping: "What Can You Say About People Who Keep Changing Their Stance?"

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20150607-00000015-dal-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner
videos by Ryosuke Furuya

On June 6 the athletics world's #1 amateur runner, Yuki Kawauchi (28, Saitama Pref. Gov't), won the 5000 m title at the 70th Saitama Prefecture Track and Field Championships at Kumagaya Sports Park Field, running 14:52.62 before doubling back to finish 8th in 4:03.05 in the 1500 m, an event he won last year.  In interviews after the race he weighed in on the JAAF's statement late last month that it was eliminating the preference given to members of its year-old National Team marathon development program in the selection process for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team.



There has been no communication about the significant change in policy from the Federation to the athletes currently in the National Team program.  "I read about it in the news," said Kawauchi, who excelled last year as a National Team member, winning the bronze medal in last October's Asian Games marathon, one of only two of the program's twelve inaugural members to have broken 2:10 since its launch at the start of the last fiscal year in April, 2014 and the only one to have done it twice or to do it outside Japan.  This year he again has an excellent chance of being named to the National Team, the lineup of which has yet to be announced over two months into the new fiscal year, but, he commented with genuine sadness, "What can you say about people who keep changing their stance?  I guess I can understand it if their plan is to just throw Rio and put everything into the Tokyo Olympics."



Analyzing the implications of JAAF Vice-Chairman of Development and National Team program co-head Katsumi Sakai's May 27 statement about the policy change Kawauchi said, "If there's no preferential treatment given to people on the team then I think many of them will quit.  A lot of corporate runners probably want to go do altitude training in St. Moritz or Boulder or wherever instead of the National Team's required domestic training camps, and in my case I can't set up my own training getaways if I have to go to the National Team training camps.  There won't be any reason for anyone to want to force themselves to be on the National Team no matter what."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…