translated and edited by Brett Larner
Chuo University has announced that it has appointed two first-year students as captain and vice-captain of its ekiden team, holder of the longest unbroken streak of Hakone Ekiden appearances dating back to 1925. The team's new arrangement took effect July 3rd, with Fukuoka Prep Ohori H.S. graduate Shoma Funatsu named captain and Gakuho Ishikawa H.S. grad Kazuyoshi Tamogami vice-captain.
Last month Chuo failed to qualify for this year's National University Ekiden. A statement from the team explained, "This change in our leadership is a result of our performance at the National University Ekiden qualifier and is intended to help transform us into a team focused on winning. After the qualifier most of the team shared a sense of crisis, and it can be said unequivocally that it was the tremendous enthusiasm and motivation of the first-years that roused the rest of the team, leading to this transformative change in its leadership."
Chuo University celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2015, launching a medium and long-term business plan for the next ten years. In April this year it appointed alumnus Masakazu Fujiwara, 35, a three-time World Championships marathon team member and the only Japanese man to have won the Tokyo Marathon, as the ekiden team's new head coach. "Within five years we will make the top five at the Hakone Ekiden, and within ten years we will win it," Fujiwara said of his goals as head coach.