Skip to main content

Marathon Greats React to Hara's Call for Shimoda to be Put on Rio Team

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20160229/ath16022905000003-n1.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20160229/ath16022905030007-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

After Aoyama Gakuin University second-year Yuta Shimoda, 19, ran a 2:11:34 debut to finish 10th overall as the second Japanese man in Sunday's Tokyo Marathon, AGU head coach Susumu Hara called for Shimoda to be put on the Rio team, calling it essential for Shimoda's development before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  While Katsumi Sakai, one of the JAAF executives in charge of team selection, responded flatly, "We do not take the future into account," two of Japan's marathon greats, Olympians Takeyuki Nakayama and Hiromi Taniguchi, gave more nuanced views on Hara's statement.

Takeyuki Nakayama, 4th place, 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1992 Barcelona Olympics marathons

I can understand how Hara feels, but there are a lot of opportunities to get marathon experience even without the Olympics.  Get Shimoda racing in Europe and around the world, not in Japan.  There's nothing in the selection criteria about future potential, so it would set a bad precedent for other runners.  You have to look more at the big picture.

Hiromi Taniguchi, 1991 Tokyo World Championships marathon gold medalist, 1992 Barcelona Olympics and 1996 Atlanta Olympics marathoner

It was a truly superb performance for Shimoda to run 2:11:34 at age 19.  But I think it is premature for Coach Hara to be asserting, "Shimoda should be made a major favorite for the team."

Shimoda got into his own rhythm in the mostly-Japanese second pack, then dropped them.  That's a very different thing from going into the lead pack and trying to survive.  A 2:11 says that he doesn't have the speed to target track races yet either.  Rather than using the Olympics to gain experience, I think it would be enough to get experience running other Japanese and international races.

This trend we are seeing of university runners including Shimoda trying marathons while still students will have an impact on the future.  The marathon requires profound mental strength and is not something coaches should force.  It is more important that it come from the will of the athlete.  No mistakes should be made with timing.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Takamatsu Makes Return to Racing After Nike Oregon Project Disappointment

Running again in her hometown on the second day of the Osaka Track and Field Championships at Yanmar Stadium Nagai, 2014 Youth Olympics girls' 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (19, Osaka T&F Assoc.) took the first step toward a comeback. Closing the gap to the runner ahead of her on the second lap, Takamatsu finished with effort to spare in 2:14.51 for 2nd. "I was able to run the way I'd envisioned," she said afterward. "I had some anxiety since it was pretty much my first real race in a year but I was able to give it my best."

After graduating from Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. in the spring last year Takamatsu moved to Oregon, U.S.A. to take part in the "Nike Oregon Project" elite long distance group created by Nike. With a dream of winning gold in the 5000 m or 10000 m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and high hopes in her heart, she crossed the ocean.

But in the U.S. she was hit by the cold hand of reality. "I was DFL every ti…

Kim Sets Korean 5000 m National Record, Tsuetaki Clears Steeple Standard, Osako Comes Up Short - Abashiri Highs and Lows

The final meet in Japan's Hokuren Distance Challenge series, Thursday's Abashiri meet was set up to give people one last chance to clear the qualifying standards for next month's London World Championships ahead of the fast-approaching deadline. Temperatures were far above normal for northern Hokkaido through much of the day, the mid-afternoon peak reported at over 36C at the time of the men's 800 m A-heat and still at 25C at the start of the five standard-chasing races in the evening.

網走女子5000A https://t.co/GquthBd13K — ホクレン・ディスタンスチャレンジ2017 (@hokurendc2017) July 13, 2017
The best race of the day was the women's 5000 m A-heat. With two women already confirmed for London the third spot on the team was up for grabs. First in line under the JAAF's criteria for addition, top three at Nationals and under the 15:22.00 standard, was 16-year-old Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin H.S.), 3rd at Nationals in an U18 national record of 15:23.56. Next in line would be anyon…

Endo Breaks 3000 m Junior National Record in Kitami

Already the U18 national record holder for 3000 m, 18-year-old Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) stepped up with an U20 record in the men's 3000 m at the third meet in the Hokuren Distance Challenge series Sunday in Kitami, Hokkaido.

北見男子prj-A3000m陸連強化レース(ペースメーカーあり) https://t.co/8s96euEND3 — ホクレン・ディスタンスチャレンジ2017 (@hokurendc2017) July 9, 2017
The men's and women's 3000 m races on the program as a step toward Wednesday's fourth and final HDC meet in Abashiri where people will be shooting for last-minute London World Championships qualifying standards. With pacer Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) targeting 7:55 the men's race came down to a sprint finish between Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei), Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) and Chiharu Nakagawa (Toenec) over the last lap. Yoroizaka dropped Ichida in the home straight to win in 7:52.70, the fastest-ever 3000 m time by a Japanese man on Japanese soil and one that made him all-time #10 in the Japanese record books. Closing fast, …