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Rio de Janeiro Olympics Athletics Day Two Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Day two of athletics at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics brought high hopes for Japanese men's long distance with a talented 10000 m squad led by national record holder Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei).  But in a familiar sight to anyone who remembers the 10000 m at last year's Beijing World Championships, Murayama and Beijing last-placer Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) were out of the action before it even started.  Murayama sank to 30th of 32 finishers in 29:02.51 with Shitara, who lost to Murayama's twin brother Kenta in Beijing, a few strides ahead in 28:55.23 for 29th.

Just lapping Murayama in the final meters, U.S.-based 10000 m national champion Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) ran 27:51.94, the third-fastest ever by a Japanese man at the Olympics, for 17th to handily beat his pre-race ranking of 23rd in the field.  Osako held on to the lead group long into the race and kept pushing with almost even first and second half splits, kicking in the home straight to overtake Murayama.  Some redemption for the corporate system was to be found up front as Kyushu-based Paul Tanui (Kenya) took silver behind defending gold medalist Mo Farah (Great Britain), but combined with Beijing and the difference in Osako's performance it was painfully clear that the current corporate system leadership doesn't know how to handle the talent coming its way from the thriving university circuit.

Along with Osako, Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama University) was the only other Japanese distance runner so far to beat her pre-race ranking.  Ranked just 53rd of 55 in the women's 3000 m steeplechase, junior and collegiate national record holder Takamizawa went out fast before fading to last in her heat in 9:58.59.  When the three heats were tallied, however, she had beaten three runners on time, one bettering herself.  A modest success but success all the same.

One of the JAAF's medal hopes is the men's 4x100 m relay, and public hopes are very high that one of the team members will run Japan's first-ever sub-10 in the 100 m.  Two out of three made it through the opening round of heats, Asuka Cambridge (Dome) just off his 10.10 PB in 10.13 (-0.5 m/s) for 2nd in Heat 4 and Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) likewise 2nd in Heat 8 in 10.20 (-1.3 m/s).  U18 world record holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo University) unluckily drew the short straw, facing a tough heat that included the likes of Usain Bolt (Jamaica) and Richard Thompson (Trinidad and Tobago).  Kiryu ran well, clocking 10.23 (-0.4 m/s) for 4th, but was 0.03 seconds short of joining Cambridge and Yamagata in Sunday's semi-finals.  They will likely need to drop that sub-10 to have a chance of making the final.

Less successful was the three-man pole vault squad.  3rd at June's National Championships, Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) was out early, the only athlete in the qualification round not to clear any height.  Nationals 2nd-placer Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) was next to go, clearing 5.45 m but missing on three attempts at 5.60 m.  National champion and national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) cleared 5.60 m easily but missed three tries at 5.70 m, lucking into the final as the last qualifier.  Sawano returns to action Monday.

Rio de Janeiro Olympics
Aug. 13, 2016

Men's 10000 m Final
1. Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 27:05.17
2. Paul Tanui (Kenya) - 27:05.64
3. Tamirat Tola (Ethiopia) - 27:06.26
4. Yigrem Demelash (Ethiopia) - 27:06.27
5. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 27:08.92
6. Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei (Uganda) - 27:10.06
7. Bedan Karoki (Kenya) - 27:22.93
8. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 27:23.86
9. Nguse Amlosom (Eritrea) - 27:30.79
10. Abraham Naibei Cheroben (Bahrain) - 27:31.86
-----
17. Suguru Osako (Japan) - 27:51.94
29. Yuta Shitara (Japan) - 28:55.23
30. Kota Murayama (Japan) - 29:02.51

Men's 100 m Heat 4
1. Andre De Grasse (Canada) - 10.04 - Q
2. Asuka Cambridge (Japan) - 10.13 - Q
3. Bingtian Su (China) - 10.17 - q

Men's 100 m Heat 7
1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) - 10.07 - Q
2. Andrew Fisher (Bahrain) - 10.12 - Q
3. James Dasaolu (Great Britain) - 10.18 - q
-----
4. Yoshihide Kiryu (Japan) - 10.23

Men's 100 m Heat 8
1. Akani Simbine (South Africa) - 10.14 - Q
2. Ryota Yamagata (Japan) - 10.20 - Q
3. Aaron Brown (Canada) - 10.24

Women's 3000 m Steeplechase Heat 1
1. Ruth Jebet (Bahrain) - 9:12.62 - Q
2. Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia) - 9:18.75 - Q
3. Gesa Felicitas Krause (Germany) - 9:19.70 - Q
-----
17. Anju Takamizawa (Japan) - 9:58.59

Men's Pole Vault Qualification Group A
1. Sam Hendricks (U.S.A.) - 5.70 m - q
2. Changrui Xue (China) - 5.70 m - q
2. Renaud Lavillenie (France) - 5.70 m - q
-----
7. Daichi Sawano (Japan) - 5.60 m - q
-----
11. Hiroki Ogita (Japan) - 5.45 m

Men's Pole Vault Qualification Group B
1. Konstadinos Filippidis (Greece) - 5.70 m - q
2. Thiago Brax Da Silva (Brazil) - 5.70 m - q
3. Shawnacy Barber (Canada) - 5.70 m - q
-----
NM - Seito Yamamoto (Japan)

© 2016 Brett Larner
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