translated by Brett Larner
Marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (29, Saitama Pref. Gov't) has expressed his full withdrawal from future Olympic opportunities. On March 27 Kawauchi won the Nerima Kobushi Half Marathon in 1:05:32. Just a week earlier on March 20 he ran Taiwan's Wanjinshi Marathon. He came down with food poisoning afterward but it didn't seem to impact his run in Nerima.
Kawauchi believes that he can still make a full comeback and win a medal at next year's London World Championships. "People might think I'm well past my peak, but I'll only be 30 when the World Championships happen," he said. On the other hand, he downplayed talk about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, preemptively raising the white flag given his history running in heat. "Honestly, in those kinds of temperatures there's no way," he said. "I don't want to do something where I know I can't compete." Having missed making the Rio Olympic team, of making future Olympic teams Kawauchi says, "There's no chance. London will be the last time I go for the Japanese team."
Instead, Kawauchi wants to focus his attention on the Olympic team selection process. After the controversy raised by Kayoko Fukushi (34, Team Wacoal) surrounding the Rio selection system, where the three members of the team were chosen from four races, Kawauchi instead wants to see the Olympic team chosen on the basis of results at just two races, the World Championships and a newly-created National Championships marathon single trial race.
But, he pointed out, other changes have to take place before there can be a single trial race. "It's a mess right now," he said. "Some JAAF executives were saying, "We don't want Fukushi to run," and others were saying, "Go ahead and do it." Who is telling the truth? Who should we believe? The problem is that they can't communicate their own intentions internally. That's why the National Team project fell apart." More than a unification of the selection races, Kawauchi is calling for the JAAF executive committee to get itself together.