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Golden Games in Nobeoka Entry List Highlights

by Brett Larner

The Golden Games in Nobeoka are the main spring Japanese meet for distance runners, held in Japan's Eugune, the Asahi Kasei team's home of Nobeoka.  Fans line the track, banging on the metal sponsor boards with sticks to produce a wall of sound that pushes runners to some of the best Japanese times of the year, every year.

This year a lot of the big names will be chasing Olympic qualifying times in the United States, but the 5000 m and 10000 m still have deep lists of upper-tier Japanese and Japan-based African talent.  Last year two-time World Championships medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) paced Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) and Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) to two of the fastest Japanese 10000 m times ever.  This year both Tanui and Shitara are back in the 10000 m along with Shitara's twin brother Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta), 61-minute half marathoner university teammates Keisuke Nakatani and Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) and former Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University teammates Kazuma Kubota (Team Kyudenko) and Daichi Kamino (Team Konica Minolta) in their pro track debuts.  All will be looking for sub-28 times ahead of June's National Championships to have a shot at making the Rio team.

Murayama's twin and future 10000 m national record setter Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) was the only Japanese man to have a go at the fastest Nobeoka 5000 m heat last year, the otherwise all-African field pulling along to what was at the time the sixth-fastest time ever by a Japanese man.  The African roster in the fast heat is deep again this year, led by Bernard Kimani (Team Yakult), Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and, in his pro debut, former national champion Sera H.S. star Paul Kamais (Team Chugoku Denryoku), but a half-dozen Japanese men led by collegiate record holder Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) will be looking to fall Murayama's lead and clear the Rio standard.

Others including 2015 national university 5000 m champion Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) and #1-ranked high schooler Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.), 13:48.13 at age 17, will opt for a more conservative heat paced by 2016 World Half Marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki (Team DeNA).  Kenyans Veronica Wanjiru and Miriam Waithira (Team Kyudenko) lead the fastest women's 5000 m heat, with Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and #1-ranked high schooler Yuka Mukai (Sera H.S.) topping the domestic list.

Golden Games in Nobeoka Entry List Highlights
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, May 7, 2016
click here for complete entry lists

Men's 10000 m
Paul Tanui (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 26:49.41
Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 27:42.71
Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) - 27:51.54
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 28:01.71
Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) - 28:04.25
Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) - 28:05.79
Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:17.09
Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:17.56
Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:23.85
Kazuma Kubota (Kyudenko) - 28:24.50
Daichi Kamino (Konica Minolta) - 28:41.48

Men's 5000 m C-Heat
Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Yakult) - 13:10.83
Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:16.25
Kensuke Takezawa (Sumitomo Denko) - 13:19.00
Paul Kamais (Kenya/Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:21.52
Alexander Mutiso (Kenya/ND Software) - 13:21.90
Alfred Ngeno (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:22.04
Abiyot Abinet (Ethiopia/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:22.42
John Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) - 13:24.21
Kassa Mekashaw (Ethiopia/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:24.87
Johana Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) - 13:25.24
Teresa Nyakola (Ethiopia/Mazda) - 13:25.72
Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:27.20
Samuel Mwangi (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:27.66
Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 13:28.61
Takanori Ichikawa (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:28.91
Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Kanebo) - 13:33.62
Kazuto Nishiike (Konica Minolta) - 13:37.93
Kaido Kita (Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:38.60
Kazuya Deguchi (Asahi Kasei) - 13:39.40

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
Veronica Wanjiru (Kenya) - 14:44.82
Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Route Inn Hotels) - 15:29.55
Yuko Shimizu (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:29.58
Yuka Mukai (Sera H.S.) - 15:31.92
Miriam Waithira (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 15:32.53
Miho Shimizu (Hokuren) - 15:34.22
Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) - 15:36.28
Chiaki Morikawa (Uniqlo) - 15:36.66
Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:37.89
Maki Izumida (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:38.22
Yuko Kikuchi (Hokuren) - 15:39.53
Megumi Hirai (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:39.92

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) - 13:15.25
Genki Yagisawa (Yakult) - 13:28.79
Yuki Matsuoka (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:35.37
Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:38.08
Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 13:38.45
Kazuharu Takai (Kyudenko) - 13:39.76
Ikuto Yufu (Fujitsu) - 13:42.09
Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 13:48.13
Koki Takada (Sumitomo Denko) - 13:50.52

© 2016 Brett Larner
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