Skip to main content

After Debut Marathon Win in Beppu-Oita Abera Gets Instant Contract Extension: "I Love Japan!"

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1601917.html

translated by Brett Larner

Smiling after winning his marathon debut, 21-year-old Ethiopian Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) told reporters, "I love Japan!  Thanks to this I can stay here a bit longer."  Running in a lead pack of Kenyans, Ethiopians and other invited international athletes, Abera threw in a surge at 35 km that put him out front alone.  While frontrunning he blew kisses at the TV cameras and talked to them in Japanese.  "I was saying thank you to my coach and teammates," he said, a sign of how much he likes the Kitakyushu-based Kurosaki Harima ekiden team.

Abera came to Japan four years ago to join Kurosaki Harima where he was expected to serve as the ekiden team's ringer, but in the New Year Ekiden and other important races he didn't produce the hoped-for results.  His contract was not renewed, meaning he was scheduled to return to his home in Ethiopia at the end of the fiscal year in March.  But winning his marathon debut brought a quick change in his fortune in the form of a one-year contract extension from Kurosaki Harima.  "I'm really happy to be able to keep running on the team," Abera said.  "I'm overjoyed to be able to stay where I love here in Japan."  He vowed to run his best for the team in the year to come.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…