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Rio de Janeiro Olympics Athletics Day One Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

With the rest of the Japanese national team doing well, ranked 3rd behind the U.S.A. and China in the  medal count at the end of the first week of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, members of its athletics squad face modest expectations of one medal and five top eight finishes, the medal expected to come somewhere between the men's 4x100 m relay, the women's marathon and the men's 20 km and 50 km race walks.  No dice in the 20 km on the first day of athletics competition.  Toyo University student Daisuke Matsunaga was the best of the Japanese men at 7th in 1:20:22, 45 seconds out of the medals but, on the upside, scoring one of the JAAF's hoped-for top eight placings.

No such luck in the world record-breaking women's 10000 m.  With national champion Ayuko Suzuki a scratch it fell to her junior Japan Post teammate Hanami Sekine and Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) to try to make a dent.  Both ran the second-fastest times of their careers to date, Takashima missing her PB by one second and both clocking inside the Japanese Olympic all-time top ten, but at 18th and 20th overall they were far from the action.  8th placer Gelete Burka of Ethiopia ran 30:26.66, meaning it would have taken a national record for Suzuki to make top eight had she been in it.

Women's 100 m national champion Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tech AC) was likewise a scratch.  19-year-old Toyo University student Julian Walsh, the men's 400 m national champion, was more than a second off his best, 6th in his heat in 46.37.  His predecessor as national champion, Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku), coming off an injury that kept him out of June's National Championships but added to the Rio team anyway, was ineffectual, last in his heat in 48.38.  His fitness to run in the 4x400 m relay looked questionable.  Men's 800 m national champion Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) came the closest to moving on, 7th in his heat on the last corner but kicking to 4th, just 0.01 from taking 3rd and a qualifying spot in the semis.

Rio de Janeiro Olympics
Rio de Janeiro, 8/12/16
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m Final
1. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) - 29:17.45 - WR
2. Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (Kenya) - NR
3. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 29:42.56
4. Alice Aprot Nawowuna (Kenya) - 29:53.51
5. Betsy Saina (Kenya) - 30:07.78
6. Molly Huddle (U.S.A.) - 30:13.17 - NR
7. Yasemin Can (Turkey) - 30:26.41
8. Gelete Bruka (Ethiopia) - 30:26.66
9. Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal (Norway) - 31:14.07
10. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 31:14.94
-----
18. Yuka Takashima (Japan) - 31:36.44
20. Hanami Sekine (Japan) - 31:44.44
DNS - Ayuko Suzuki (Japan)

Men's 20 km Race Walk Final
1. Zhen Wang (China) - 1:19:14
2. Zelin Cai (China) - 1:19:26
3. Dane Bird-Smith (Australia) - 1:19:37
-----
7. Daisuke Matsunaga (Japan) - 1:20:22
21. Isamu Fujisawa (Japan) - 1:22:03
42. Eiki Takahashi (Japan) - 1:24:59

Men's 400 m Heat 4
1. Lalonde Gordon (Trinidad and Tobago) - 45.24 - Q
2. Luka Janezic (Slovenia) - 45.33 - Q
3. Baboloki Thebe (Botswana) - 45.41 - Q
------
6. Julian Walsh (Japan) - 46.37

Men's 400 m Heat 7
1. Ali Khamis (Bahrain) - 45.12 - Q
2. Steven Gardiner (Bahamas) - 45.24 - Q
3. Liemarvin Bonevacia (Netherlands) - Q
-----
8. Yuzo Kanemaru (Japan) - 48.38

Men's 800 m Heat 5
1. Taoufik Makhloufi (Algeria) - 1:49.17 - Q
2. Mostafa Smaili (Morocco) - 1:49.29 - Q
3. Giordano Benedetti (Italy) - 1:49.40 - Q
4. Sho Kawamoto (Japan) - 1:49.41

© 2016 Brett Larner
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Comments

yuza said…
It is a shame about Suzuki and Fukushima both being unable to run today. Having just watched the 100 metres heats I think Fukushima might have had a tiny chance of progressing to the semi-finals, which is a shame for her.

Given the otherworldly pace ran today in the 10000m Suzuki may have gone close to a PB.

I still find it hard to fathom how a nation like Japan with its running infrastructure and love of running could not get an athlete within two minutes of the winner tonight. What does Japan need to do to improve? I really do wonder.

I really do feel for some of the athletes out there, because it must be so demoralizing. Anyway, I am looking forward to the marathon.

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