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18-Year-Old Azusa Sumi Clears Beijing 5000 m Standard in Kitami

by Brett Larner

After a superb come-from-behind 15:21.07 PB for 2nd at the National Championships two weeks ago, 18-year-old Azusa Sumi (Team Univ. Ent.) did what she needed to do to make the Beijing World Championships team, dropping a 2:59 last 1000 m to go under the 15:20.00 Beijing standard for the first time as she won the Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet women's 5000 m A-heat in 15:17.62.  Sumi ran much of the race with 19-year-old Miyuki Uehara (Team Daiichi Seimei) right on standard pace but needed to bring the kick that took her from 4th to 2nd on the last lap at Nationals into play to go under.  Uehara just missed joining her but likewise marked a big improvement to her PB with a 15:21.40.  Now #2 among juniors worldwide so far this year, Sumi should join Nationals 1st and 3rd placers Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and Ayuko Suzuki (Team Japan Post), both of whom already had the Beijing standard, on the World Championships team but must wait for pending official confirmation.

The other big news of the meet came in the men's 5000 m race walk.  20 kmRW world record holder Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) and 5000 mRW national record holder Eiki Takahashi (Team Fujitsu) worked together to go after Takahashi's 18:51.93 NR, Suzuki getting away in the end but both taking a large chunk off the record.  Suzuki won in a new NR of 18:37.22, Takahashi just a fraction of a second behind in 18:37.60.

In other noteworthy news, 30 km national university record holder Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.), 21, returned from the Achilles injury that stopped him from making a planned marathon debut in Tokyo this year to take more than 15 seconds off his 5000 m PB, finishing 4th in the men's A-heat in 13:36.76 behind winner Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).  His younger brother Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.), 20, a 1:02:31 half marathoner, won the 1500 m A-heat in a PB 3:42.06, leading five men under 3:43.  London Olympics marathoner Arata Fujiwara (Miki House), still hopeful of making a comeback in time to make the Rio de Janeiro team, ran his first track race in a long, long time, running 14:08.40 for 21st in the 5000 m B-heat well ahead of rival Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) who ran 14:20.56 for 33rd shortly after coming just shy of his 1500 m PB with a 3:51.99 for 5th in the B-heat.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet
Kitami, Hokkaido, 7/12/15
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Azusa Sumi (Universal Entertainment) - 15:17.62
2. Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 15:21.40
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Uniqlo) - 15:35.60
4. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:41.95
5. Yuki Hidaka (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:42.68
6. Miyuki Oka (Denso) - 15:46.61
7. Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:48.31
8. Hanami Sekine (Japan Post) - 15:48.33
9. Mai Tsuda (Uniqlo) - 15:49.38
10. Eri Hayakawa (Toto) - 15:49.38

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:28.21
2. Rodgers Shumo Kwemoi (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 13:28.62
3. Samuel Mwangi (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:33.39
4. Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 13:36.76
5. Chiharu Nakagawa (Toenec) - 13:37.90
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 13:38.53
7. Yudai Okamoto (JFE Steel) - 13:38.56
8. Joseph Mumo (Kenya/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:39.86
9. Hideyuki Tanaka (Toyota) - 13:41.78
10. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) - 13:42.94

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Shin Kimura (Meiji Univ.) - 13:51.76
2. Kenta Matsubara (Toyota) - 13:51.99
3. Tomoya Onishi (Asahi Kasei) - 13:52.35
4. Hiroki Kadota (Kanebo) -13:56.14
5. Fumihiro Maruyama (Asahi Kasei) - 13:56.63
-----
21. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 14:08.40
33. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 14:20.56

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Tsadkan Tesema (Ethiopia/Toto) - 9:04.98
2. Naoko Koizumi (Denso) - 9:06.72
3. Yuki Mitsunobu (Denso) - 9:07.59
4. Risa Yokoe (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:10.51
5. Rina Yamazaki (Panasonic) - 9:11.76

Men's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 3:42.06
2. Tatsuhiko Hori (Toyo Univ.) - 3:42.51
3. Yuta Matsuda (SGH Group) - 3:42.52
4. Toshihiro Kenmotsu (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 3:42.69
5. Tatsuro Okazaki (Osaka Gas) - 3:42.84

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Jun Shinoto (Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:48.23
2. Hiroshi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 8:55.95
3. Naoyuki Jin (Kitasato Byoin) - 8:58.53

Men's 5000 mRW
1. Yusuke Suzuki (Fujitsu) - 18:37.22 - NR
2. Eiki Takahashi (Fujitsu) - 18:37.60 (NR)
3. Kai Kobayashi (Bic Camera) - 19:24.00

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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