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Portland Track Festival - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Former Waseda University star Suguru Osako's string of bad luck in his snakebitten move away from the corporate leagues to embattled coach Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project continued with a DNF in Sunday's Portland Track Festival 5000 m.  After setting three national records while training under Salazar with quasi-NOP status for the last couple of years Osako's full NOP debut was shot down with the cancellation of the 5000 m at May's Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic due to dangerous weather conditions.  His belated debut came two weeks later at the Prefontaine Classic, where he missed the 2015 World Championships 10000 m qualifying standard of 27:45.00 by just 0.24 seconds.  Just days later the NOP was hit by doping allegations against Salazar and athlete Galen Rupp.

Osako and Rupp were initially entered in the 10000 m at the Portland Track Festival, likely Osako's last chance to score a World Championships qualifying mark ahead of the June 26-28 Japanese National Track and Field Championships, but following Rupp's withdrawal from the meet Osako switched to the 5000 m, where he is likewise still in need of a qualifying mark.  Osako ran the first half of the race close behind the NOP's Cam Levins before abruptly disappearing from the field; as of this writing he does not appear in the official results even as a DNF.  Levins went on to win in 13:20.68, the only athlete to clear the 13:23.00 standard.

Thus as it currently stands Osako heads into Nationals, the main selection event for Japan's World Championships team, without qualifying marks at either 5000 m or 10000 m, both events in which he has cleared the standards in past years and in which he is expected to lead other Japanese athletes who have already qualified like Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei).  JAAF selection criteria do allow him to chase times after Nationals provided he finishes within the top three there, but without the peace of mind of having the times behind him the pressure on Osako, the focus of a great deal of attention in Japan for trying to do something different, has cranked up at least one notch.

Portland Track Festival Men's 5000 m High Performance Section 1
Portland, U.S.A., 6/14/15
click here for complete results

1. Cam Levins (Canada/Nike Oregon Project) - 13:20.68
2. David Torrence (Hoka One One) - 13:30.35
3. Tyler Pennel (Zap Fitness) - 13:32.06
4. Aaron Braun (Adidas) - 13:34.00
5. Paul Chelimo (Kenya/Wcap) - 13:37.98
6. Luc Bruchet (Canada/Asics Canada) - 13:39.91
7. Chris Derrick (Nike Bowerman TC) - 13:40.21
8. Brendan Gregg (Hansons-Brooks) - 13:48.63
9. George Alex (Zap Fitness) - 13:49.14
10. Jonathan Peterson (Team U.S.A. Minnesota) - 13:50.39
DNF - Suguru Osako (Japan/Nike Oregon Project)

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


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