Skip to main content

Japan's Olympic Marathon Men Enthusiastic for Rio: "We're Ready to Take on the World"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/07/27/kiji/K20160727013046870.html
http://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2016072700768&g=spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Training in Kushiro, Hokkaido in preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Japan's three marathon men Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) appeared at a press conference July 27 at a Kushiro hotel.  Ishikawa was enthusiastic as he said, "We're not going there just to take part.  We're ready to take on the world."

All three men wore the flashy bright "Sunrise Red" national colors that represent the power of the rising sun.  The oldest-ever Japanese man to run the Olympic marathon, Ishikawa said that his goal is to do better than the 6th-place finish by Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) at the London Olympics.  With two wins in his three marathons to date, Nakamoto's training partner Kitajima commented, "I'm really happy to get to wear a uniform that I've only seen on TV.  I don't want to break my flow, just relax and run big."  His 2:08:56 best making him the fastest on the team, Sasaki said, "I haven't really had any injuries, so basically no problem.  I want to sharpen things up and go to Rio ready to break my PB."

According to JAAF director of men's marathoning Takeshi Soh, this is the first time that the entire Japanese men's marathon squad has done its final training together.  The cool temperatures in Hokkaido have helped them develop and maintain their condition during their training.  Ishikawa commented, "It's a great environment where we've been able to put in great training."  Kitajima, whose daughter was born in February, laughed as he said, "I didn't expect it to be this cool.  I didn't bring the right clothes at all!  I can't wait to get home and see my girl."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Takushoku Teammates Lemeteki and Akasaki Sub-62 For 1-2 at Ageo City Half Marathon

Takushoku University teammates Joseph Razini Lemeteki and Akira Akasaki dominated the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon, alternating the lead throughout almost the entire race to go 1-2 in school record times.

With invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half up for grabs to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in the unofficial intramural tryout for Japan's most prestigious race, the 2020 Hakone Ekiden, things went out very conservatively by Ageo standards at just 3:00/km for the first 2 km. Not content with that, Akasaki, 3rd on his stage at both the Izumo Ekiden in October and the National University Ekiden earlier this month, picked up the race and carried it until 15 km. From 3 km to 8 km Akasaki split 14:33, pace for 1:01:24, condensing the pack behind him down to eight.


After the 10 km turnaround Akasaki's teammate Lemeteki made a bold move to gain contact with the lead group, and when he did it shaved things down to seven serious contenders. The front group stayed …

Japanese Amateur Yamaguchi and Ugandan Kusuro Break Kobe Course Records

Amateur Japanese club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Ugandan Geoffrey Kusuro had dominant wins at the 9th running of the Kobe Marathon Sunday, both running PBs and winning by almost 4 minutes in course record time.

Yamaguchi, who ran a PB 2:33:06 in Sydney in September and dropped a surprise 31:58 at last weekend's East Japan Women's Ekiden, slipped away early, never challenged by the pack of invited African elites or by friend and rival club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto). Going through halfway faster than her half marathon PB in 1:13:08. She slowed slightly in the second half, especially on the large bridge out to the island finish line, but her win was never in doubt as she broke the tape in 2:27:39. Previously, the fastest pure amateur Japanese women's marathon performance was Chihiro Tanaka's 2:29:30 in Nagoya in 2002. Breaking that by almost two minutes, Yamaguchi staked her claim as Japan's best-ever amateur.


2nd through 5th were close together…

800 m High School National Record Holder Clay to Attend Texas A&M

2019 men's 800 m national champion and Soyo H.S. 3rd-year Aaron Tatsunami Clay will enroll in America's Texas A&M University next September, it was learned on Nov. 14. Until then he plans to remain based at Soyo in preparation to go for the win at next year's National Championships and to clear the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard.

The prestigious Texas A&M is where Donovan Brazier (U.S.A.), winner of the gold medal in the men's 800 m at this fall's Doha World Championships, is enrolled. Soyo H.S. head coach Mitsuru Zeniya, 53, who accompanied Clay on a visit to see the university, was supportive of Clay's decision and goals, saying, "He just barely missed the World Championships qualifying standard. If he trains with athletes who are stronger than him he'll grow more."

Last year at the October Niigata Autumn Time Trials meet Clay set a national high school record of 1:47.51 for 800 m. At the National Championships in June this yea…