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Takamizawa and Walsh Go Beyond to Find Way to Rio - 100th National Championships Day Two

by Brett Larner
videos c/o JAAF
click here for Day One results, video and report
click here for Day Three results, video and report

The prospect of seeing Japan's first sub-10 100 m packed the house on the second day of the Japanese National Championships, an almost sold-out crowd of over 26,000 braving rain to fill Nagoya's mostly uncovered Paloma Mizuho Stadium.  Athletes in the other events responded to the energy, and two university students went beyond themselves to find what it took to make it to Rio.

The race of the day was the women's 3000 m steeplechase.  Right from the gun collegiate and junior national record holder Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) was out fast, going through 1000 m in 3:08 with a sizable lead over a chase group of four.  Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku), winner of last month's East Japan Corporate Championships 3000 mSC, dropped the pack to chase Takamizawa down over the next 1000 m, making contact right at 2000 m in 6:24.  The 9:45.00 Rio standard in sight as the rain picked up, the pair ran together over the next lap, Mori a step ahead and Takamizawa tailing.  With a lap and half to go Takamizawa clipped her foot going over the back straight barrier, landing on both knees with her legs folded under her.  Sliding forward, she bounced up and was right after Mori, 4 seconds down.  A lap later 3 seconds, 3 seconds that would put her outside the Rio standard.

At the final water jump Mori shied, pulling up and jumping awkwardly.  It was just what Takamizawa needed to close the gap.  Into the home straight side-by-side as the clock ticked down.  With her last kick Takamizawa broke free, leaning across the line to score the win with a new National Championships and national collegiate record of 9:44.22 and landing herself on the Rio team.  Mori couldn't follow, 2nd in 9:45.27 just a fraction of a second from qualifying for the Olympics.  The pair's times made them the second and third-fastest Japanese women ever, with the fast times going down through the field to make it the greatest women's steeplechase race in Japanese history.

More history came in the men's 400 m.  With the departure of 11-time national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku) in the first round heats the door was open for a new national champion.  Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) came up as the main contender with a 45.54 PB to lead the heats, 0.14 off the Rio standard.  In the final he went out hard, alone over the first 200 m, looking spent at 300 m, and finding the strength in the home straight to take another 0.19 off his best, under the Rio standard in an all-time Japanese 7th-best 45.35 to take over from Kanemaru as a new and unexpected addition to the Olympic team.

The rain and slick track surface lowered the chances of history in the day's main event, where Walsh's teammate Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) and young pros Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) and Asuka Cambridge (Dome) lined up to go for a number starting with 9.  This season Kiryu had run 10.01, Yamagata 10.06 and Cambridge 10.10, but in the semis their order was inverted with Cambridge dropping the fastest time and Yamagata getting the better of Kiryu.  A quick start put Yamagata ahead.  Cambridge lagged behind, but overtaking Kiryu he bore down and, with a perfectly timed lean got Yamagata on the line to win by 0.01 in 10.16.  Kiryu was 3rd in 10.31, looking tired over the second half with none of his usual finishing strength after a minor cramp.

In the complex logic of the JAAF's Olympic qualifying policy Cambridge and Kiryu are guaranteed places on the Rio team, Cambridge with the Rio standard and the win, Kiryu with the faster JAAF standard this season at top 8 at Nationals.  Yamagata, with the Rio standard and top 3 at Nationals, is a likely addition to the team but not guaranteed until Monday's team announcement.  It's unthinkable that he wouldn't be named to the team, especially with what looks like a solid 4x100 m team in the makings.  Either way, Cambridge's win over the two favorites ups the game in Japanese men's sprinting, his sponsor Dome's million dollar bonus for Japan's first sub-10 driving him to get there before Kiryu and Yamagata.  Combined with Walsh's 400 m title it's indicative of the changing face not just of Japanese athletics but of its society as a whole.

Three other events saw athletes join the Rio team.  In the men's javelin throw, Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) threw a meet record 84.54 m for the win, surpassing the JAAF standard of 84.32 m.  Women's javelin national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) had an off day, 2nd in 57.88 m behind winner Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiiku Univ.), but while Miyashita was short of the Rio qualifying mark at 58.35 m Ebihara had already thrown over the 63.34 m standard this season and makes the Rio team on her top 8 finish.  Miyashita has until July 11 to hit the 62.00 m Rio standard, almost 3 m beyond her best.  Women's 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tech AC), already under the Rio standard in 11.23, won the 100 m final in 11.45 -0.2 m/s and will look to do the same in Sunday's 200 m final for an Olympic double.

Other events' winners came up short of qualifying Rio but, like Miyashita, have a short window to chase the standards.  Men's 800 m winner Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) came closest, 0.22 off in 1:46.22 and giving a painfully gutted post-race interview.   Women's 400 m winner Seika Aoyama (Osaka Seikei Univ.), women's 1500 m winner Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment), women's triple champ champion Kaede Miyasaka (Nippatsu) and women's shot put winner Aya Ota (Fukuoka Univ.) all delivered PB performances but were well short of making the Rio team.  One other noteworthy performance came in the women's 1500 m, where high school second-year Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.), daughter of sub-2:30 amateur marathoner Chihiro Tanaka, ran a smart race to take 2nd with a PB 4:15.43.  Tanaka will be on the Japanese team at next month's World U-20 Championships in Poland.

The 100th Japanese National Track and Field Championships wrap up Sunday.

100th National Track and Field Championships Day Two
doubling as Rio de Janeiro Olympic Trials

Paloma Mizuho Stadium, Nagoya, 6/25/16
click here for complete results
athletes in bold earned place on Rio Olympics team
athletes in italics provisionally qualified for place on Rio team


Men's 100 m Final -0.3 m/s
1. Asuka Cambridge (Dome) - 10.16
2. Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) - 10.17
3. Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 10.31
4. Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 10.41
5. Takuya Nagata (Hosei Univ.) - 10.45
6. Tomoya Baba (Lall AC) - 10.48
7. Shuji Takahashi (Aichi Ika Univ.) - 10.49
8. Takumi Kuki (NTN) - 10.53

Women's 100 m Final -0.2 m/s
1. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tech AC) - 11.45
2. Ami Saito (Tottori Chuo H.S.) - 11.74
3. Nodoka Seko (Crane) - 11.75
4. Iyoba Edobah (Nihon Univ.) - 11.88
4. Miyu Maeyama (Niigata Iryo Fukushi Univ.) - 11.88
6. Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 11.92
7. Maki Wada (Mizuno) - 12.07
8. Mai Fukuda (Tokyo H.S.) - 12.13

Men's 400 m Final
1. Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) - 45.35 - PB
2. Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) - 45.71
3. Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 45.93
4. Tomoya Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 46.15
5. Kentaro Sato (Josai Univ.) - 46.30
6. Takeshi Fujiwara (Yumeo Mirai) - 46.41
7. Kosuke Horii (Josai Univ.) - 46.52
8. Hideyuki Hirose (Fujitsu) - 46.54

Women's 400 m Final
1. Seika Aoyama (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 53.04 - PB
2. Rin Aoki (Soyo H.S.) - 53.66
3. Kaede Kashiyama (Shigakkan Univ.) - 53.76
4. Nanako Matsumoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 54.67
4. Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 54.67
6. Minami Yoshinara (Art Home) - 54.80
7. Aki Odagaki (Akaishi T&F Assoc.) - 55.01
8. Yuna Shimada (Tsuruga H.S.) - 55.02

Men's 200 m Final Qualifiers
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 20.41 -0.1 m/s (1st, H.1)
Shota Hara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 20.45 -0.1 m/s (2nd, H.1)
Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) - 20.49 -0.1 m/s (1st, H.2)
Kei Takase (Fujitsu) - 20.49 -0.1 m/s (3rd, H.1)
Takanori Kawase (Nittai Univ.) - 20.67 -0.1 m/s (2nd, H.2)
Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 20.75 -0.1 m/s (3rd, H.2)
Takuya Nagata (Hosei Univ.) - 20.77 -0.1 m/s (4th, H.2)
Kotaro Taniguchi (Chuo Univ.) - 20.84 -0.1 m/s (5th, H.2)

Women's 200 m Final Qualifiers
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tech AC) - 23.27 -0.2 m/s (1st, H.1)
Ami Saito (Kurashiki Chuo H.S.) - 23.69 -0.3 m/s (1st, H.2)
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 24.02 -0.3 m/s (2nd, H.2)
Mariko Nagano (Konan Univ.) - 24.18 -0.2 m/s (2nd, H.1)
Saori Imai (Iida Byoin) - 24.22 -0.3 m/s (3rd, H.2)
Miyu Maeyama (Niigata Iryo Fukushi Univ.) - 24.27 -0.8 m/s (1st, H.3)
Maki Wada (Mizuno) - 24.37 -0.2 m/s (3rd, H.1)
Rio Banno (Junanaju Ginko) - 24.42 -0.8 m/s (2nd, H.3)

Middle Distance

Men's 1500 m Final
1. Masaki Toda (Nissin Shokuhin) - 3:46.66
2. Mitsutaka Tomita (Nishitetsu) - 3:47.10
3. Hikaru Kato (JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:47.49
4. Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 3:48.28
5. Koki Takada (Sumitomo Denko) - 3:48.53

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 4:14.67 - PB
2. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 4:15.43 - PB
3. Maya Iino (Daiichi Seimei) - 4:16.61 - PB
4. Yuna Wada (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 4:18.95
5. Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) - 4:19.56

Men's 800 m Final
1. Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:46.22
2. Masato Yokota (Fujitsu) - 1:47.45
3. Jun Mitake (Nihon Univ.) - 1:48.99
4. Tatsuya Nishikubo (Waseda Univ.) - 1:49.80
5. Manabu Oki (Chiba Univ.) - 1:50.76
6. Takaomi Watanabe (Nittai Univ.) - 1:51.02
7. Tomonori Tanaka (AGF) - 1:51.55
8. Shoei Tanaka (Morioka City Hall) - 1:59.59

Women's 800 m Final Qualifiers
Shoko Fukuda (Matsue Kita H.S.) - 2:05.02 (1st, H.1)
Yuki Hirota (Akita Univ.) - 2:05.63 (2nd, H.1)
Ran Urabe (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 2:06.00 (3rd, H.1)
Hana Yamada (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 2:06.76 (1st, H.2)
Fumika Omori (Lotte) - 2:06.97 (1st, H.3)
Ayako Hirano (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2:07.02 (2nd, H.2)
Atsumi Totani (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 2:07.14 (4th, H.1)
Ayano Shiomi (Kyoto Bunkyo H.S.) - 2:07.54 (2nd, H.3)


Women's 3000 mSC
1. Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 9:44.22 - MR, NUR, PB
2. Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:45.27 - PB
3. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 9:54.21
4. Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) - 9:59.35 - PB
5. Chika Mukai (Meijo Univ.) - 10:04.23 - PB

Women's 400 mH Final Qualifiers
Aimi Yoshinara (Art Home) - 57.51 (1st, H.1)
Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 57.83 (1st, H.3)
Moe Oshiden (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 58.03 (2nd, H.1)
Kana Koyama (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - 58.03 (3rd, H.1)
Haruka Shibata (Mizuno) - 58.29 (2nd, H.3)
Haruko Ishizuka (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 58.43 (1st, H.2)
Saki Kodama (Waseda Univ.) - 58.65 (4th, H.1)
Satsuki Umehara (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 58.74 (2nd, H.2)

Men's 110 mH Final Qualifiers
Genta Masuno (Monteroza) - 13.59 -0.5 m/s (1st, SF.1)
Hideki Omuro (Otsuka Seiyaku 0 13.65 -0.4 m/s (1st, SF.2)
Takumu Furuya (Waseda Univ.) - 13.77 -0.5 m/s (2nd, SF.1)
Wataru Yazawa (Descente) - 13.79 -0.5 m/s (3rd, SF.1)
Taio Kanai (Tsukuba Univ.) - 13.80 -0.4 m/s (2nd, SF.2)
Hiroki Fudaba (Monteroza) - 13.81 -0.4 m/s (3rd, SF.2)
Taishi Sato (Hitachi Kasei) - 13.84 -0.5 m/s (4th, SF.1)
Masahiro Kagimoto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 13.91 -0.4 m/s (4th, SF.2)

Women's 100 mH Final Qualifiers
Ayako Kimura (Edion) - 13.37 +0.2 m/s (1st, SF.2)
Masumi Aoki (International Pacific Univ.) - 13.43 +0.2 m/s (2nd, SF.2)
Haruka Abe (Fukushima Univ.) - 13.45 +0.0 m/s (1st, SF.1)
Eriko Aiba (Starts) - 13.49 +0.0 m/s (2nd, SF.1)
Hitomi Shimura (Toho Ginko) - 13.52 +0.0 m/s (3rd, SF.1)
Yumi Tanaka (Kansai Prep Daiichi H.S.) - 13.58 +0.0 m/s (4th, SF.1)
Sayaka Kobayashi (Aichi Kyoiku Univ.) - 13.64 +0.2 m/s (3rd, SF.2)
Chisato Kiyoyama (Miyako City) - 13.69 +0.2 m/s (4th, SF.2)


Women's Pole Vault
1. Ayako Aoshima (Niigata Albirex AC) - 4.10 m
2. Miho Imano (Toelle) - 4.00 m
3. Tomomi Abiko (Shiga Lake Stars) - 4.00 m

Men's Long Jump
1. Kota Minemura (Monteroza) - 7.93 m -0.1 m/s
2. Shotaro Shiroyama (Tokai Univ. Hokkaido) - 7.83 m +0.3 m/s
3. Hiroshi Tebira (Okuwa) - 7.72 m -0.3 m/s

Women's Triple Jump
1. Kaede Miyasaka (Nippatsu) - 13:44 m +0.1 m/s - PB
2. Mayu Kogin (Ayumu Athletics) - 12.95 m +0.1 m/s
3. Nahoko Okano (Yumeo Mirai) - 12.89 m +0.4 m/s


Women's Shot Put
1. Aya Ota (Fukuoka Univ.) - 15.88 m - PB
2. Nanaka Kori (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 15.33 m
3. Chiaki Yoshino (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 15.20 m

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiiku Univ.) - 58.35 m
2. Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 57.88 m
3. Haruka Kitaguchi (Nihon Univ.) - 57.23 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 84.54 m - MR
2. Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 78.10 m
3. Kohei Hasegawa (Fukui T&F Assoc.) - 76.50 m

photo and text © 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


TokyoRacer said…
A one million DOLLAR bonus? Really?
Brett Larner said…
Yes, really. 100,000,000 yen, roughly $1,000,000, from his sponsor if Cambridge does it.

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