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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."

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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