Skip to main content

Rio de Janeiro Olympics Athletics Day Five Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

20-year-old Miyuki Uehara (Team Daiichi Seimei) became only the second Japanese woman ever to qualify for an Olympic 5000 m final, boldly fruntrunning her heat to make it through on the fifth day of athletics competition at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  Just 6th at June's National Championships, her 15:21.40 PB was enough to put her on the Olympic team over three athletes ahead of her without the Olympic standard.  Pre-race her coach Sachiko Yamashita, the 1991 Tokyo World Championships marathon silver medalist and 1992 Barcelona Olympics marathon 4th-placer, told her simply, "Be aggressive."  Uehara took that to heart.

Rocketing out at sub-15 pace close to the Japanese national record while the rest of the field completely ignored her, she quickly had a lead of at least 50 m. It's been relatively common in recent years to see Japanese runners frontrun on the track at world-level championships but rarely so dramatically.  Leading past 3000 m without ever looking back Uehara was inevitably caught late in the race, but where the field has always sailed by Japanese runners in her position she repeatedly surged to stay with it.  7th in 15:23.41 just two seconds off her PB she unexpectedly made it through to the final on time.  The only other time a Japanese woman has ever made it, Michiko Shimizu in Atlanta, Uehara was eight months old.  "I wanted to be assertive," she said post-race.  "I didn't pay any attention to what was going on behind me."

Four-time national champion Misaki Onishi and all-time Japanese #5 Ayuko Suzuki both ran in the second 5000 m heat.  Suffering a recent injury that kept her out of the 10000 m, Suzuki was clearly not her regular self, leading the first 1000 m at a conservative 3:07 before sliding back toward the rear of the pack where she finished.  Onishi ran up to expectations, staying in the middle of the field and finishing 9th in 15:29.17 out of contention for the final. But Uehara was the revelation of the day.  In the last year or so she ran the fastest-ever Japanese women's road 5 km outside Japan at the Carlsbad 5000, ran a 10000 m PB at Payton Jordan, and scored the best-ever Japanese placing at the Bolder Boulder 10 km when she took 2nd.  The message seems clear but is one almost entirely lost on the collective mind of the Japanese corporate system: when you race seriously overseas it prepares you to race seriously overseas when you really need to.

There is a lot of hope for the future of Japanese men's sprinting, but in the 200 m realization of that hope was not to be found.  All-time Japanese #2 Shota Iizuka (Mizuno), #3 Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) and #4 Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) all got stopped in the opening round despite being ranked near the tops of their heats.  400 m hurdles national champion Keisuke Nozawa (Mizuno) was likewise eliminated in the semi-final, in 2nd until the last hurdle but dropping to 6th.  Women's long jump national champion Konomi Kai (Volver) and women's javelin national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) were both far from their bests, finishing near the bottom of their events in the qualification round and missing out on their finals.

Rio de Janeiro Olympics
Aug. 16, 2016
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Heat Three +0.3 m/s
1. Salem Eid Yaqoob (Bahrain) - 20.19 - Q, NR
2. Ramil Guliyev (Turkey) - 20.23 - Q
3. Aaron Brown (Canada) - 20.23
-----
4. Shota Iizuka (Japan) - 20.49

Men's 200 m Heat Five -1.5 m/s
1. Justin Gatlin (U.S.A.) - 20.42 - Q
2. Matteo Galvan (Italy) - 20.58 - Q
3. Ramon Gittens (Barbados) - 20.58
-----
6. Kenji Fujimitsu (Japan) - 20.86

Men's 200 m Heat Nine +0.6 m/s
1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) - 20.28 - Q
2. Ejowvokogene Oduduru (Nigeria) - 20.34 - Q
3. Solomon Bockarie (Netherlands) - 20.42
-----
6. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.71

Women's 5000 m Heat One
1. Hellen Onsando Obiri (Kenya) - 15:19.38 - Q
2. Yasemin Can (Turkey) - 15:19.50 - Q
3. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 15:19.56 - Q
4. Shelby Houlihan (U.S.A.) - 15:19.76 - Q
5. Susan Kuijken (Netherlands) - 15:19.96 Q
-----
7. Miyuki Uehara (Japan) - 15:23.41 - q

Women's 5000 m Heat Two
1. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) - 15:04.35 - Q
2. Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) - 15:17.43 - Q
3. Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (Kenya) - 15:17.74 - Q
4. Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal (Norway) - 15:17.83 - Q
5. Eilish McColgan (Great Britain) - 15:18.20 - Q
-----
9. Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 15:29.17
12. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan) - 15:41.81

Men's 400 m Hurdles Semi-Final One
1. Kerron Clement (U.S.A.) - 48.26 - Q
2. Boniface Mucheru Tumuti (Kenya) - 48.84 - Q
3. Sergio Fernandez (Spain) - 48.87
-----
6. Keisuke Nozawa (Japan) - 49.20

Women's Long Jump Qualification Group B
1. Brittney Reese (U.S.A.) - 6.78 m -0.1 m/s - Q
2. Ksenija Balta (Estonia) - 6.71 m +0.0 m/s - q
3. Ese Brume (Nigeria) - 6.67 m -0.1 m/s - q
-----
19. Konomi Kai (Japan) - 5.87 m +0.3 m/s

Women's Javelin Throw Qualification Group B
1. Maria Andrejczyk (Poland) - 67.11 m - Q, NR
2. Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic) - 64.65 - Q
3. Linda Stahl (Germany) - 63.95 m - Q
-----
10. Yuki Ebihara (Japan) - 57.68 m

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Named Captain of Japanese National Team for London World Championships

At a JAAF event at the British Embassy in Tokyo on July 21, marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (30, Saitama Pref. Gov't) was named men's captain of the Japanese national team for next month's London World Championships. Javelin throw national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was chosen as women's captain.

In a wide-ranging and impassioned speech 4 minutes and 20 seconds long, Kawauchi stoked the team's morale as he told attendees, "I think that there are athletes here today who look at London as just a checkpoint along the way to the Tokyo Olympics. But as a representative of Japan it is not enough just to be there competing. I feel it strongly. You must produce results at this event, the London World Championships. This is the task assigned to each and every one of us. It is critical that we work seriously to achieve our goals. The Japanese people want nothing less. What can we as athletes do for them? More than just wearing the uniform, each of us mus…

Additions to Japanese National Team for London World Championships

The JAAF has made a series of announcements over the last week confirming additions to its small team for next month's London World Championships. Along with previously announced rosters for track and field events, combined events and road events, the following athletes have been added to the Japanese team. Relay members are pending IAAF confirmation. The final complete team roster is expected next week.

Men's 400 m Hurdles
Ryo Kajiki (Josai Univ.) - 49.33
Yusuke Ishida (Waseda Univ.) - 49.35

Men's 3000 m Steeplechase
Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) - 8:29.05

Men's 4 x 400 m Relay
Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.76
Kosuke Horii (Sumitomo Denko) - 45.88

Women's Javelin Throw
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 61.95 m

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved