translated and edited by Brett Larner
note: Many thanks to a reader who pointed out an error in the translation. Kiryu was commenting on an having run a good time in practice rather than saying they had run a good time.
In search of its first medal since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team did some of its final pre-Rio sessions on Aug. 4 at Japan's Olympic training base at New Jersey's Princeton University, where it was revealed that the team had run a 37-second time, faster than the official Japanese national record of 38.03. The team's ace, 10.01 man Yoshihide Kiryu (20, Toyo Univ.), showed complete confidence, talking openly as he said: "Even in practice we're dropping great times. Feeling good!"
Along with Kiryu, the team includes 100 m stars Ryota Yamagata (24, Seiko) and Asuka Cambridge (23, Dome), all three targeting Japan's first-ever sub-10, plus 200 m national champion Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) and last year's 100 m and 200 m national champions Kei Takase (Fujitsu) and Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin). Many are calling them Japan's best-ever lineup.
Training in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi in July, the team ran the hand-timed 37-second mark, faster than the 38.03 national record if not as accurate as done with electronic timing. The Princeton training camp is focusing on the team's baton passing and other details, and everything is looking good. Coach Shinji Karube, 47, contrasted the team with the bronze medal-winning 2008 lineup, saying, "That time it felt like if anything had happened to one person we would have been in a tough situation. This time we've got plenty of talent in reserve so we have less to worry about." Yamagata agreed, saying, "Whoever runs whichever leg, we can produce good results. We're confident."