At a board of directors meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 28, the JAAF named Koji Ito (46), holder of the 10.00 Japanese 100 m national record, its new strengthening committee chairman. Ito was already serving as the committee's vice-chairman. He replaces Rio de Olympics athletics head coach Kazunori Asaba (56) in the role of the person who will lead the committee in the four-year buildup to the Tokyo Olympics. Ito commented, "As someone in athletics I wanted to be involved in the Tokyo Olympics in one capacity or another. There won't be any instant improvement, but as we move forward I want to listen to the opinions of a wide variety of people."
The board additionally settled the dates for major 2017 domestic competitions. The Japanese National Championships will take place June 23-25 at Osaka's Yanmar Stad…
A task force created by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has compiled a list of recommendations for measures to deal with high road temperatures during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games. For events such as the marathon and race walking which make use of roadways, "heat shield pavement," material sprayed onto the road surface to reflect sunlight and thereby help prevent its temperature from rising, is being actively introduced. In August the Ministry verified the difference in road surface temperature due to the new material, finding a consistent temperature reduction effect where the "heat shield pavement" was used. Once the Olympic courses have been finalized, the Ministry plans to further push the new pavement material.
With ekiden season just starting to break track action was heavy across the country as teams started to sharpen their lineups after summer mileage. At the National Corporate Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Rio Olympics 4x100 m silver medalist Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) ran a 10.03 (+0.5 m/s) PB and meet record to beat his Rio relay teammate Asuka Cambridge (Dome), drawing ever closer to Japan's first sub-10 clocking. Another member of the Rio team, Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) duly won the 200 m in 20.57 (+0.0 m/s), doubling in the 4x100 m and running a rare 4x400 m to help bring Mizuno national corporate titles in both, Mizuno breaking the 4x400 m meet record with a 3:04.51 win.
A meet record also fell in the men's 3000 mSC, where two-time national champion Hironori Tsuetaki (Team Fujitsu) ran an all-time Japanese #7 8:29.78 for the win. Times were also fast by Japanese standards in the women's 1500 m, where Kenyan Ann Karindi (Toyota Jidoshokki) came up …
Japan's fastest-ever under-20 marathoner, Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) took 4th in a solo run behind winning Ethiopian trio Aberu Kebede, Birhane Dibaba and Ruti Aga at Sunday's BMW Berlin Marathon. With all three going under the 70 minute mark at halfway, the #3-ranked Iwade was alone in 5th, 20 seconds behind Kenyan Janet Ronoh. Just before 40 km Iwade ran Ronoh down to move into 4th at almost the same time that Kebede took the win in 2:20:45. Dibaba and Aga were over a kilometer behind in 2nd and 3rd, Iwade another 3 1/2 minutes further back in 2:28:16.
Hopeful of breaking his 3-year-old PB of 2:08:14, Kawauchi ran with support from two pacers and company from Eritrea's Yohanes Gebregergish and France's Jean Habarurema. In a classic race that saw greats Kenenisa Bekele and Wilson Kipsang front a lead pack that went through halfway in 1:01:11 on the way to Bekele's sprint finish 2:03:03 win, Kawauchi's group planned to hit half around 1:03:40…
Japan's Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) will be in the field for Sunday's BMW Berlin Marathon. Berlin has been good to Japan in the past, with the country's first 2:06 men's national record and the last three women's national records all happening on the ultra-flat Berlin course. But in the last decade Berlin has seen fewer and fewer quality runs from Japanese athletes. Kurao Umeki placed 3rd in 2006, but the fastest time over the decade was only 2:10:24 in 2013 by future Rio Olympian Suehiro Ishikawa. For women too, Tomo Morimoto placed 3rd in 2010, her 2:26:10 also the fastest time in the last ten years but far off the quality of the 2:19 marks set in Berlin by Naoko Takahashi, Yoko Shibui and Mizuki Noguchi. The ten-year average times and places for Japanese athletes in the top ten in Berlin are 2:12:00 for 8th for men and 2:29:26 for 7th for women. Can Kawauchi and Iwade beat those averages?
The Japanese athletics team at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics came up short of scoring gold, with a final tally of four silver and three bronze medals. Tomoki Sato led the team with a pair of silvers in the men's T52 400 m and 1500 m, with another highlight coming from the bronze medal-winning men's T42-47 4x100 m relay team. A complete breakdown of Japanese finalists in athletics at the Rio Paralympics:
Japanese athletes scored three overseas road race wins Sunday. In Australia, Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) and Kei Katanashi (Komazawa Univ.) doubled at the Sydney Marathon, Tanigawa outlasting the field in the men's marathon to score a second-straight win for Japanese men and Katanishi soloing his way to the half marathon title. At Portugal's Sport Zone Porto Half Marathon, Nao Isaka (Team Hitachi) followed up with a win in the women's race, running down #1-ranked Martha Akeno (Kenya) to win in 1:12:12. Hiroshi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei) was the top Japanese man in Porto, 9th overall in 1:04:01, while Yusei Nakao (Smiley Angel AC) was a DNF after coming down with a fever during his flight to Porto. At the Czech Republic's Usti Nad Labem Half Marathon, last year's Sydney Half women's winner Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) equalled Ichida's performance, 9th in 1:13:26 with teammate Misato Horie 39 seconds back in 11th.
Portugal's Sport Zone Porto Half Marathon celebrates its 10th running with a strong men's field. Silas Kimutai (Kenya) leads four men with recent times under 61 minutes followed closely by five more under 62. Hiroshi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei) and Shun Inoura (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) lead the third group of sub-63 men followed by countryman Yusei Nakao (Smiley Angel AC), the top Japanese man at May's Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon for the last three years in a row.
Martha Akeno (Kenya) is the top-ranked woman in the field under 71 minutes but could get some competition from Japan's Ayumi Kubo (Team Kagoshima Ginko) who ran 1:11:29 last December. Nao Isaka (Team Hitachi) should provide a good target for top Portuguese woman Filomena Costa with just 25 seconds separating their recent bests.
10th Sport Zone Porto Half Marathon Porto, Portugal, 9/18/16 times listed are best within last three years
Silas Kimutai (Kenya) - 1:00:17 (2014)
Mustapha El Aziz (Morocco) - …
In its third appearance at France's DecaNation Japan turned in its best team performance to date, placing 4th out of 6 teams. Tomoka Kimura (Team Univ. Ent.) led the way in the women's 2000 m, taking over 6 seconds off the rarely-challenged national record with a 5:47.17 for 2nd, the best placing among any of the ten women on the team. Her counterpart on the men's squad Masaki Toda (Team Nissin Shokuhin) went one better to win the men's 2000 m in 5:14.39. Rio Olympian and 2016 national champion Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) likewise won the men's 400 m, running 46.09. Five other men including Walsh's Toyo and Rio teammate Yoshihide Kiryu took 2nd in their events, coming ten points short overall of overtaking Ukraine to make the team podium.
Japanese athletes raced in three European road races in three different countries on Sunday, 2015 Zurich Marathon winner Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.) leading the way at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon. Starting off at a conservative pace that left her 20 seconds behind the lead group at 5 km and over a minute and a half behind by 15 km, over the second half she overtook three women, Ethiopian Belaynesh Yigezu, then Kenyans Janet Cheruiyot and Salina Jebet, to move into 2nd. 2015 Nairobi Marathon winner Elizabeth Rumokol of Kenya, the only woman in the field to have broken 2:30, took 1st in 2:33:01, Sakamoto next in 2:38:46 and Jebet 3rd in 2:42:27. "I wanted to try to run with the lead group, but they went out too fast," Sakamoto said post-race. "I was hoping for a faster time but I'm really, really happy to have gotten 2nd. This was the first time I've ever enjoyed myself while racing seriously."
Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon celebrates its 15th running this Sunday. Appearing with support from JRN, Japan's Shingo Igarashi (Josai Univ. Coaching Staff) and Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.) face competitive fields from Kenya and Ethiopia. The course record setter at January's Katsuta Marathon, Igarashi scored some attention at April's Boston Marathon when he frontran the first 10 km before suffering a minor stress fracture. Muenster will be his first marathon since then, and he is optimistic of bettering his 2:13:15 best from his Katsuta win. That PB ranks him 3rd in the field, not far behind 2:12:08 man Joel Kositany (Kenya). In another class is the heavy favorite, Kenya's Duncan Koech with a 2:09:17 at the 2014 Vienna Marathon. At the pre-race press conference race director Michael Brinkmann said that he hopes to see a 2:07 winning time, a major improvement on the current 2:10:25 course record and something that only Koech could conceiv…
NEWS RELEASE – BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on September 25:
Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele face strong competition
Expectations are high once again for a very fast race in the 43rd edition of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on September 25. All the omens are favourable with the recruitment of another high quality field which, given good weather conditions, points to another year of outstanding, world class times. The former world record holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele have taken centre stage as the pre-race build-up has taken place, but alongside them are a clutch of athletes possessing the talent to be right up there with them. Seven runners in the field have best times under 2:06. At the head of the women’s field is the double BMW BERLIN-MARATHON champion Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia. The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series and an IAAF Gold Label event, the highest category of road race awarded by the International Association of Athl…
Japanese distance runners didn't exactly impress in Rio, but the next month or two will see quite a few racing on the roads overseas in search of keiken, that ever-elusive experience that is somehow going to someday transform them into Olympic marathon medalists. A few of the road races with Japanese athletes on their entry lists:
Hajimu Ashida - T47 Long Jump, 4 x 100 m Relay
Masayuki Higuchi - T54 800 m, 1500 m, 5000 m
Kota Hokinoue - T54 Marathon
Koso Kubo - T54 5000 m, Marathon
Hitoshi Matsunaga - T53 400 m, 800 m
Yoshifumi Nagao - T54 100 m, 400 m
Akikazu Noda - T52 400 m, 1500 m
Toshie Oi - F53 Shot Put
Keita Sato - T44 100 m, 4 x 100 m Relay
Tomoki Sato - T52 400 m, 1500 m
Masazumi Soejima - T54 Marathon
Toru Suzuki - T44 High Jump, 4 x 100 m Relay
Tomoki Tagawa - T47 100 m, 4 x 100 m Relay
Hirokazu Ueyonabaru - T52 100 m, 400 m, 1500 m
Atsushi Yamamoto - T42 100 m, Long Jump, 4 x 100 m Relay
Hiroyuki Yamamoto - T54 Marathon
Haruka Kitaura - T34 100 m, 400 m
Yuka Kiyama - T52 100 m, 400 m
Kaede Maekawa - T42 100 m, Long Jump
Maya Nakanishi - T44 100 m, Long Jump
Kazumi Nakayama - T53 400 m, 800 m, 1500 m
Hitomi Onishi - T42 100 m, Long Jump
Chiaki Takada - T11 100 m, Long Jump
Saki Takakuwa - T…
Rio Olympics 4x100 m silver medalist Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) was the hardest-working man in Japan this weekend, running nine races in three days and winning three of his four finals at the 85th National University Track and Field Championships in Kumagaya, Saitama. Kiryu started off his haul with a meet record 10.08 (+1.1 m/s) to win the 100 m final, following up with a 20.60 (-0.1 m/s) in the 200 m. Running anchor in the men's 4x100 m, Kiryu made a rare flub, blowing his exchange and dropping Toyo to last in 48.71, showing that the baton work that earned Japan worldwide praise in its silver medal run in Rio isn't always easy and takes hard work to get right. Cbuo University made it four-straight National titles, winning in 38.92.
Coming back from the 4x100 m embarrassment, with his Rio teammate Julian Walsh, who won the National University 400 m final with ease in 45.93, running anchor, Kiryu made a rare 4x400 m appeara…
The Monteroza corporation, operators of bar chains such as Shirokiya, Uotami and Warawara, announced this week that its track and field team will disband on Mar. 31, 2017. Founded in April, 2003, the team produced athletes including its current head coach, five-time decathlon national champion and 2007 Osaka World Championships national team member Hiromasa Tanaka, his 2007 Worlds teammate in the 110 m hurdles Kenji Yahata, 2015 Tokyo Marathon 10th-placer Benjamin Ngandu and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics bobsleigh team member Masaru Miyauchi. In the off-season the team regularly held workshops for elementary school students to share the experience and enthusiasm of world-class athletes with the next generation.
A company spokesperson commented, "It is very unfortunate that we will no longer be able to support the track and field team, but due to the necessity of improving our corpo…