Sunday, July 31, 2016

Yamamoto Leads Top Six Under 5000 m Race Walk Meet Record - National High School Championships Day Three Results

click here for five-channel live streaming of the 69th Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

The highlight of day three of the Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships came in an unexpectedly fast and furious boys' 5000 m race walk.  After a relatively benign first qualifying heat on day two won by Ryutaro Yamamoto (Toyama Shogyo H.S.) in 21:08.49, heat two exploded with action, Hiroto Jusho (Shikama Kogyo H.S.) led the top eight under the old National High School Championships record in 20:49.39.  The bar set high, qualifiers returned a day later for the final, and again the field delivered en masse.  Yamamoto fought off Taiki Naruoka (Iga Hakuho H.S.) and Masatora Kawano (Gotemba Minami H.S.) for the win in a close race, taking 35 seconds off Jusho's short-lived national record with a new mark of 20:14.63.  The top six all beat Jusho's record, with Jusho himself almost equalling it in 20:52.94 but coming only 8th.

Another highlight came in the girls' 4x100 m relay.  Chukyo H.S. and Kurashiki Chuo H.S. led from the start, Chukyo gaining a slight edge by the time anchor Aiki Hasegawa took over.  Facing Kurashiki's newly crowned 100 m champion Ami Saito Hasegawa needed all the lead she could get, but what she inherited proved insufficient.  Saito blew by easily for the win in 45.49, Hasegawa bringing Chukyo home 2nd in 45.78.  Tokyo H.S. anchor Mai Fukuda almost caught her as well, taking 3rd in 45.80.

The boys' 4x100 m was relatively conservative by comparison, several poor exchanges meaning slower times than in the heats and semifinals.  Rakunan H.S., alma mater of Japanese Olympian Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), took the win in 40.10 over rivals Miyazaki Kogyo H.S. and Sendai Ikuei H.S.  Teen sprint sensation Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, out this season with injury, watched from the sidelines as his Josai H.S. teammates were only 6th in the final in 40.80.

69th National High School Track and Field Championships 
Day Three Highlights
City Lights Stadium, Okayama, 7/31/16
click here for complete results

Girls' 400 m Hurdles Final
1. Moeka Sekimoto (Odate Homei H.S.) - 59.14
2. Kana Koyama (Kawasaki Municipal Tachibana H.S.) - 59.18
3. Natsumi Murakami (Narita H.S.) - 59.19

Boys' 400 m Hurdles Final
1. Yusuke Shirao (Tonodai Prep Daini H.S.) - 51.40
2. Tomoki Arisaka (Niigata Gakuen H.S.) - 51.81
3. Takuya Michishita (Takigawa Daini H.S.) - 52.60

Boys' 5000 m Race Walk Final
1. Shinjiro Yamamoto (Toyama Shogyo H.S.) - 20:14.63 - MR
2. Taiki Naruoka (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - 20:17.36 (MR)
3. Masatora Kawano (Gotemba Minami H.S.) - 20:18.92 (MR)
4. Sho Sakazaki (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - 20:24.30 (MR)
5. Koki Ikeda (Hamamatsu Nittai Prep H.S.) - 20:27.55 (MR)
6. Yutaro Murayama (Kawanishi Midoridai H.S.) - 20:37.26 (MR)

Girls' 4 x 100 m Relay Final
1. Kurashiki Chuo H.S. - 45.49
2. Chukyo Prep Chukyo H.S. - 45.78
3. Tokyo H.S. - 45.80

Boys' 4 x 100 m Relay Final
1. Rakunan H.S. - 40.10
2. Miyazaki Kogyo H.S. - 40.30
3. Sendai Ikuei H.S. - 40.43

Boys' Long Jump Final
1. Yuki Hashioka (Hachioji H.S.) - 7.75 m -1.6 m/s
2. Yuta Takenouchi (Kagoshima Minami H.S.) - 7.42 m +0.6 m/s
3. Taiga Oda (Toin Gakuen H.S.) - 7.40 m -0.6 m/s

Boys' Shot Put Final
1. Ryuji Iwasa (Hokuriku H.S.) - 17.27 m
2. Kiyoharu Shirafuji (Anjo Gakuen H.S.) - 16.58 m
3. Hiroshi Ikegawa (Takigawa Daini H.S.) - 16.43 m

Girls' Discus Throw Final
1. Azusa Okawara (Tsuchiura Kohoku H.S.) - 46.50 m
2. Maki Saito (Tsuruoka Kogyo H.S.) - 46.14 m
3. Chiho Takaki (Naruto Uzushio H.S.) - 43.84 m

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Ejima Breaks Pole Vault High School National Record - National High School Championships Day Two Results

click here for five-channel live streaming of the 69th Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
videos by Ekiden News


Back in action after his 6th-place finish at last week's World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Masaki Ejima (Eda H.S.) cleared 5.43 m to win the 2016 National High School Track and Field Championships boys' pole vault July 30 at Okayama's City Lights Stadium.  Ejima's mark broke the meet record by 2 cm and his own high school national record set earlier this year by 1 cm.



8th in the Bydgoszcz girls' 3000 m and 2nd in June's National Championships 1500 m, Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was likewise back in the 1500 m.  In a tight race with teammates Hina Takahashi and Yume Goto, Tanaka tried to frontrun her way to a national title but lost to Takahashi by a slim margin in the home straight, 4:15.82 to 4:15.95, with Goto just behind in 4:16.69.  Tanaka's performance at the National Championships already had her in the all-time Japanese high school top ten, but with Takahashi and Goto joining her in the top ten this race may have been the greatest girls' 1500 m in Japanese high school history.  And with all three running for Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. the fall's ekiden season should be interesting.

Another record came in the boys' octathlon.  Yuma Maruyama (Shinoda H.S.) and Wilson Takashi Koha (Shibata H.S.) battled each other over to a new meet record over the course of two days.  Both cleared last year's record-setting mark of 6002, Maruyama getting the win in 6085 just off the year-old high school national record of 6093.

69th National High School Track and Field Championships 
Day Two Highlights
City Lights Stadium, Okayama, 7/30/16
click here for complete results

Girls' 100 m Final -1.6 m/s
1. Ami Saito (Kurashiki Chuo H.S.) - 11.78
2. Yuna Ito (Gifu Shogyo H.S.) - 11.98
3. Azusa Sasaki (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 12.03

Boys' 100 m Final -3.0 m/s
1. Daisuke Miyamoto (Rakunan H.S.) - 10.61
2. Ryuga Matsuo (Kannabe Asahi H.S.) - 10.72
3. Kazuki Tamura (Shimonoseki Shogyo H.S.) - 10.78

Girls' 1500 m Final
1. Hina Takahashi (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 4:15.82
2. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 4:15.95
3. Yume Goto (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 4:16.69

Boys' 1500 m Final
1. Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 3:47.75
2. Ryohei Iio (Yawatahama H.S.) - 3:48.52
3. Yuzuki Maekawa (Hamamatsu Shogyo H.S.) - 3:49.19

Girls' 5000 m Race Walk Final
1. Nanako Fujii (Kitakyushu Municipal H.S.) - 23:17.23
2. Aiko Moriguchi (Nishinomiya H.S.) - 23:23.46
3. Maika Yagi (Nishinomiya H.S.) - 23:30.14

Girls' High Jump Final
1. Sakura Asai (Okazaki Josai Prep H.S.) - 1.81 m
2. Riko Kamisaka (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - 1.74 m
3. Moe Takeuchi (Honjo Daiichi H.S.) - 1.74 m

Boys' Pole Vault Final
1. Masaki Ejima (Eda H.S.) - 5.43 m - HS NR
2. Takaaki Yoshida (Kanonji Chuo H.S.) - 5.15 m
3. Tomoya Uchiyama (Nagano Yoshida H.S.) - 5.05 m

Girls' Javelin Throw Final
1. Mahiro Osa (Wakayama Kita H.S.) - 56.48 m
2. Sae Takemoto (Amagasaki Municipal H.S.) - 52.74 m
3. Tomoka Kuwazoe (Furukawa Reiai H.S.) - 49.70 m

Boys' Octathlon Overall
1. Yuma Maruyama (Shinoda H.S.) - 6085 - MR
2. Wilson Takashi Koha (Shibata H.S.) - 6024 (MR)
3. Ryoya Moriguchi (Tokai Prep Gyosei H.S.) - 5692

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 30, 2016

National High School Championships Day One Results

click here for five-channel live streaming of the 69th Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships

69th National High School Track and Field Championships 
Day One Highlights
City Lights Stadium, Okayama, 7/29/16
click here for complete results

Girls' 400 m Final
1. Rin Aoki (Soyo H.S.) - 54.14
2. Minami Hatano (Tokai Prep Boyo H.S.) - 54.21
3. Airi Ikezaki (Funairi H.S.) - 54.64

Boys' 400 m Final
1. Tomohiro Kokubo (Sakuragaoka H.S.) - 46.67
2. Daichi Inoue (Tokyo H.S.) - 46.91
3. Yushi Uike (Saikyo H.S.) - 47.03

Boys' Hammer Throw Final
1. Masanobu Hattori (Amagasaki Municipal H.S.) - 64.57 m
2. Tatsuto Nakagawa (Himeji Kogyo H.S.) - 63.77 m
3. Reo Yamamoto (Kisarazu Sogo H.S.) - 63.24 m

Thursday, July 28, 2016

69th National High School Track and Field Championships Start Friday

by Brett Larner



After building up through the prefectural and regional qualifying rounds, the high school track and field season hits its peak this weekend with the 69th National High School Track and Field Championships at Okayama's City Light Stadium.  Fresh back from Poland, the entry lists feature much of the Bydgoszcz World U20 Championships team including top-8 placers Naoki Kitadani (Kobe Shiritsu Kagaku Gijutsu H.S.) in the men's 400 m, Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) and Rika Kaseda (Narita H.S.) in the women's 3000 m and Masaki Ejima (Eda H.S.) in the men's pole vault.  A notable absence is sprint sensation Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.), sidelined with injury earlier this season.

Watch live streaming of the National High School Track and Field Championships above.  Click here for alternate cameras.  Complete entry lists, the championships schedule and results are available in Japanese here.  Soka University Associate Professor Bruce Carrick has done an outstanding job of making the entry lists and qualifying marks available in English on Athletic.net.  JRN will be posting results from key events throughout the five days of competition.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Japan's Olympic Marathon Men Enthusiastic for Rio: "We're Ready to Take on the World"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/07/27/kiji/K20160727013046870.html
http://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2016072700768&g=spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Training in Kushiro, Hokkaido in preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Japan's three marathon men Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) appeared at a press conference July 27 at a Kushiro hotel.  Ishikawa was enthusiastic as he said, "We're not going there just to take part.  We're ready to take on the world."

All three men wore the flashy bright "Sunrise Red" national colors that represent the power of the rising sun.  The oldest-ever Japanese man to run the Olympic marathon, Ishikawa said that his goal is to do better than the 6th-place finish by Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) at the London Olympics.  With two wins in his three marathons to date, Nakamoto's training partner Kitajima commented, "I'm really happy to get to wear a uniform that I've only seen on TV.  I don't want to break my flow, just relax and run big."  His 2:08:56 best making him the fastest on the team, Sasaki said, "I haven't really had any injuries, so basically no problem.  I want to sharpen things up and go to Rio ready to break my PB."

According to JAAF director of men's marathoning Takeshi Soh, this is the first time that the entire Japanese men's marathon squad has done its final training together.  The cool temperatures in Hokkaido have helped them develop and maintain their condition during their training.  Ishikawa commented, "It's a great environment where we've been able to put in great training."  Kitajima, whose daughter was born in February, laughed as he said, "I didn't expect it to be this cool.  I didn't bring the right clothes at all!  I can't wait to get home and see my girl."

'Estimated Costs for Temporary Venues at 2020 Olympics Grow by 4 Times'

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160726/p2a/00m/0na/012000c

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Tokyo Marathon Course Change - Masuzoe's Only Achievement as Governor? An Editorial

http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/domestic/news/20160726/dms1607261200010-n1.htm

an editorial by Minoru Nasu, Sankei Newspaper photo editor
translated by Brett Larner

"Tokyo Station will form the stunningly picturesque backdrop for the new finish line."  With these words Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe confidently announced the change of the Tokyo Marathon course at a press conference on March 29.

The Sankei Newspaper is one of the Tokyo Marathon's sponsors.  Being in charge of photography, I set up an on-site meeting with representatives of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation to discuss issues like the shooting locations in the new finish area so that our reporters and photographers would be able to do their jobs smoothly.  "That's so easy for you to say, Mr. Masuzoe..."  That was my immediate reaction when I heard the news about the course change.  There are a lot of constraints on marathons held on public roads, and things do not proceed as planned.

Runners crossing the finish line framed by Tokyo Station.  There's no doubt those would be spectacular pictures if you could find the perfect angle.  Having now resigned his position as governor in the political fallout from a scandal involving misuse of public funds, is this the only thing Masuzoe actually accomplished?  It may become his lone achievement.  But the issue is whether it survives the July 31 election for his replacement.  We could start to hear calls to "Repeal the course change too!"

Monday, July 25, 2016

Obituary: Concerning the Passing of Fujitsu Athlete Johana Maina

http://sports.jp.fujitsu.com/cs/news/detail/160723010226/1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here for more information on Maina's passing

Fujitsu men's long distance team member Johana Maina complained of not feeling well while on vacation back in his home country Kenya.  He was taken to a hospital but passed away suddenly on July 21, 2016.  We are deeply grateful for the kindness he showed in life and wish here to humbly pay our respects to his accomplishments.

Johana Maina, athlete
Dec. 24 1990 - July 21, 2016

Personal Bests
5000 m: 13:25.24 (2015)     10000 m: 27:26.92 (2015)     half marathon: 1:01:19 (2016)

Major Accomplishments
2012: 1st, Sendai International Half Marathon, 1:01:34
2014: 1st, Sendai International Half Marathon, 1:01:43
          2nd, Kumanchi 30 km Road Race, 1:29:55
2015: 1st, Sendai International Half Marathon, 1:02:33
          2nd, Hachioji Long Distance 10000 m, 27:26.92 - 19th in world in 2015
2016: 2nd, National Corporate Half Marathon, 1:01:19

Comments from Fujitsu head coach Tadashi Fukushima
On July 19 Johana Maina returned to Kenya in good health, but on July 21 he abruptly passed away.  As an athlete he was just at the point where he was coming into his own, and it is a tremendous loss.

Maina joined us in 2012, and from the start his bright and friendly personality meant he fit in well on our team and was well-liked by everyone.  He had the desire and work ethic to try to get better, and lately he had reached the point where he was just about ready to race in international competitions, the point where you could expect more and more success.  In the ekidens he ran with the team he was always encouraging the other team members, saying, "Let's become the best!"

This news is a sad reality but it is one that we must face and accept.  I hope that as a team we can take up Johana's spirit of striving to be the best in pursuing our goals.  My sincere gratitude for all the words of support we have received.  Thank you.

Rest in peace.

Mai Ito Wins Hot and Sunny Shibetsu Half Marathon in Final Tuneup for Rio Olympics Marathon

http://dd.hokkaido-np.co.jp/sports/sports/marathon/1-0296687.html
http://news.tbs.co.jp/newseye/tbs_newseye2828867.html
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2016072401001248.html
http://dd.hokkaido-np.co.jp/sports/sports/marathon/1-0296700.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 30th anniversary Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon  was held July 24 in Shibestu, Hokkaido.  Top-level Japanese athletes and amateur runners alike braved blazing sunshine to give it their best on the JAAF-certified course.  A total of 2136 runners including a large number of corporate league runners from Toyota and the Kansai region took part.  Special guest runners included ski jumper Sara Takanashi and the winner of the first Shibetsu Half women's race, Eriko Asai.

In the men's half marathon, Kokushikan University assistant coach James Mwangi won by a second over Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) in a course record 1:03:22.  Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's marathon team member Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) withdrew from the race, his management citing changes in his plans for the last stretch of his training.  2014 Asian Games marathon bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was 16th in 1:06:10.

Running her final domestic tuneup before representing Japan in the Rio Olympics marathon, Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) led in temperatures of over 28 degrees to win the women's half marathon by more than 45 seconds in 1:13:31.  "There's a good chance the weather in Rio will be as hot as it was today, so being able to push it like this was a big confidence builder," she said.  "I think this was a good time at this stage."

Ito has been training in Hokkaido since late May, her workouts including tough 50 km runs.  She has been working on stabilizing her form and doing extensive core training in order to deal with possible windy conditions along the seaside portion of the Rio course.  Her coach Tadasu Kawano gave a favorable evaluation of her performance in Shibetsu, saying, "As a training run she earned a perfect score."  Ito will travel to the U.S.A. at the end of the month for her final preparations.

30th Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 7/24/16
complete results coming soon

Women's Half Marathon
1. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:13:31
2. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:14:17
3. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Hokuren) - 1:14:28
4. Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) - 1:14:36
5. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) - 1:15:47

Men's Half Marathon
1. James Mwangi (Kokushikan Univ. staff) - 1:03:22 - CR
2. Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:23
3. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Team Toyota) - 1:03:28
4. Taku Fujimoto (Team Toyota) - 1:03:40
5. Kento Otsu (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:14

Women's 10 km
1. Mizuki Matsuda (Team Daihatsu) - 33:48
2. Mao Ichiyama (Team Wacoal) - 34:35
3. Kanako Takemoto (Team Daihatsu) - 34:42
4. Saki Wada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 34:42
5. Rie Kawauchi (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 34:56

A Step Backward From Eugene - Final Japanese Tally From World U20 Championships

by Brett Larner



Japan's final score at the Bydgoszcz World U20 Championships was relatively modest, one silver medal, one bronze and fourteen other top eight placings, down significantly from the 2014 Eugene World Junior Championships where Japanese athletes earned one gold, three silver and two bronze medals along with fifteen other top eight finishes.  Both medals this year came with new Asian Junior Records attached, Takumu Furuya running 13.31 for bronze in the men's 110 m hurdles and the men's 4x100 m relay coming just shy of the U.S.A. in 39.01 for silver.  Five of the other top eight placers set new PBs, but by and large they were at the bottom end of their finals; apart from the medalists only two of the fourteen top eight placers made the top five in their events, Tatsuhiro Yamamoto with a 5th place in the men's 400 m hurdles and a 4th-place finish by the men's 4x400 m relay.

There were several close calls with a number of unlucky 9th-place finishes, but by and large results were so far off those from just two years ago that questions have to be asked.  But at the same time, the JAAF has set a goal for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics of just one medal and five top eight placings.    With the leadership having such low expectations it's hard to be critical of the World U20 team.  And with the bar that low, if the Rio team performs even close to as well as the Japanese team in Bydgoszcz it would be viewed as a rousing success.

2016 World U20 Championships Top Japanese Results
Bydgoszcz, Poland, July 19-24, 2016
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m
8. Jun Yamashita - 20.94

Men's 400 m
7. Kazuki Matsukiyo - 46.69 - PB
8. Naoki Kitadani - 47.15

Women's 3000 m
8. Nozomi Tanaka - 9:01.16 - PB

Women's 5000 m
8. Rika Kaseda - 15:39.66 - PB

Men's 110 m Hurdles
3. Takumu Furuya - 13.31 +0.2 m/s - Asian Jr. Record

Men's 400 m Hurdles
5. Tatsuhiro Yamamoto - 50.99
7. Yoshiro Watanabe - 51.09

Women's 10000 m Race Walk
8. Yukiho Mizoguchi - 46:19.49 - PB

Men's 4x100 m Relay
2. Japan - 39.01 - Asian Jr. Record

Men's 4x400 m Relay
4. Japan - 3:07.02

Men's Pole Vault
6. Masaki Ejima - 5.35 m

Men's High Jump
6. Yuji Hiramatsu - 2.21 m

Women's Javelin Throw
6. Mikako Yamashita - 54.89 m
8. Haruka Kitaguchi - 52.15 m

Men's Discus Throw
8. Shinichi Yukinaga - 58.50 - PB

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 22, 2016

World U20 Championships - Day Three Japanese Results

by Brett Larner



The third day of the World U20 Championships was a good one for the Japanese contingent. Just behind PB runs from Americans Marcus Krah and Amere Lattin, Takumu Furuya ran an Asian junior record of 13.31 for bronze in the men's 110 m hurdles, Japan's first medal of the Championships.  Of the ten other athletes in action today, eight advanced through their heats and semi-finals.



Naoki Kitadani and Kazuki Matsukiyo lead the way in the men's 400 m semis, both running PBs to make the final.  Jun Yamashita also delivered a PB in the opening round heats of the men's 200 m, running 20.89 for 3rd in Heat 4 to advance along with Wataru Inuzuka, 4th in Heat 1.  Yamashita ran another PB of 20.67 in the semi-finals to make it to the final, but Inuzuka was cutoff after finishing only 6th in 21.40.

Along with Furuya the other men's hurdlers were also strong, both Tatsuhiro Yamamoto and Yoshiro Watanabe advancing in the 400 m hurdles with Watanabe winning his heat in a solid 51.10, and Taisei Ogino unexpectedly making it through in the 3000 m steeplechase.  Masaki Ejima rounded out the qualifiers in the men's pole vault, his fellow vaulter Keisuke Okubo and women's 400 m hurdler Haruko Ishizuka the only ones not to move on to Day Four.

World U20 Championships Day Three
Bydgoszcz, Poland, 7/21/16
click here for complete results

Men's 110 m Hurdles Final
1. Marcus Krah (U.S.A.) - 13.25 - PB
2. Amere Lattin (U.S.A.) - 13.30 - PB
3. Takumu Furuya (Japan) - 13.31 - NJR

Men's 200 m Heat 1 +1.3 m/s
1. Vladislav Grigoryev (Kazakhstan) - 21.02 - Q
2. Chun-Han Yang (Taiwan) - 21.11 - Q
3. Micaiah Harris (U.S.A.) - 21.19 - Q
4. Wataru Inuzuka (Japan) - 21.41 - Q

Men's 200 m Heat 4 -1.2 m/s
1. Clarence Munyai (South Africa) - 20.40 - Q
2. Cameron Tindle (Great Britain) - 20.78 - PB, Q
3. Jun Yamashita (Japan) - 20.89 - PB, Q

Men's 200 m Semi-Final 1 +1.5 m/s
1. Clarence Munyai (South Africa) - 20.54 - Q
2. Roger Gurski (Germany) - 20.64 - PB, Q
3. Jun Yamashita (Japan) - 20.67 - PB, Q

Men's 200 m Semi-Final 3 +2.0 m/s
1. Tlotliso Leotlela (South Africa) - 20.58 - Q
2. Nigel Ellis (Jamaica) - 20.78 - Q
3. Vladislav Grigoryev (Kazakhstan) - 21.08
-----
6. Wataru Inuzuka (Japan) - 21.40

Men's 400 m Semi-Final 1
1. Karabo Sibanda (Botswana) - 45.15 - PB, Q
2. Kahmari Montgomery (U.S.A.) - 45.71 - Q
3. Anthony Zambrano (Colombia) - 45.81 - PB, q
4. Naoki Kitadani (Japan) - 46.41 - PB, q

Men's 400 m Semi-Final 2
1. Abdalelah Haroun (Qatar) - 45.55 - Q
2. Kazuki Matsukiyo (Japan) - 46.69 - PB, Q
3. Ivan Nunez (Mexico) - 47.00

Women's 400 m Hurdles Semi-Final 3
1. Anna Cockrell (U.S.A.) - 56.10 - Q
2. Shannon Kalawan (Jamaica) - 57.62 - Q
3. Haruko Ishizuka (Japan)

Men's 400 m Hurdles Heat 5
1. Mohamed Fares Jlassi (Tunisia) - 51.49 - PB, Q
2. Ned Justeen Azemia (Seychelles) - 51.50 - NJR, Q
3. Tatsuhiro Yamamoto (Japan) - 51.51 - Q

Men's 400 m Hurdles Heat 6
1. Yoshiro Watanabe (Japan) - 51.10 - Q
2. Dominik Hufnagl (Austria) - 51.72 - Q
3. Mohamed Reda Elbiladui (Morocco) - 53.34 - Q

Men's 3000 m Steeplechase Heat 1
1. Genet Wale (Ethiopia) - 8:43.92 - PB, Q
2. Amos Kirui (Kenya) - 8:44.32 - Q
3. Yemane Haileselassie (Eritrea) - 8:46.31 - Q
-----
5. Taisei Ogino (Japan) - 8:51.50 - Q

Men's Pole Vault Qualification Group A
1. Kurtis Marschall (Australia) - 5.30 m - q
2. Muntadher Falih Abdulwahid (Iraq) - 5.20 m - q
3. Adam Hague (Great Britain) - 5.20 m - q
-----
11. Keisuke Okubo (Japan) - 5.10 m

Men's Pole Vault Qualification Group B
1. Christopher Nilsen (U.S.A.) - 5.20 m - q
2. Armand Duplantis (Sweden) - 5.20 m - q
3. Masaki Ejima (Japan) - 5.20 m - q

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 21, 2016

World U20 Championships - Day Two Japanese Results

by Brett Larner



In a super-fast women's 3000 m that saw winner Beyenu Degefa (Ethiopia) break the World U20 Championships record in 8:41.76 and silver and bronze medalists Dalila Abdulkadir Gosa (Bahrain) and Konstanza Klosterhalfen (Germany) run national junior records, Japan's Nozomi Tanaka ran a PB of 9:01.16 for 8th, well out of the medals but ticking another box on the JAAF's target number of top eight finishes.  Wakana Kabasawa was next, 9th in 9:10.20.  The daughter of sub-2:30 amateur marathoner Chihiro Tanaka, Tanaka came in at #7 on the all-time Japanese junior list, only the second runner after 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi to make the all-time lists for both 1500 m and 3000 m.  In the men's long jump final Yuki Hashioka came up short of a top eight placing, jumping 7.31 m for 10th.



The day's biggest success came from hurdler Takumu Furuya, who ran a PB 13.40 to win his 110 mH heat before returning to win again in the semi-finals in 13.41.  Teammate Pap Demba Hiramatsu also made it through to the semi-finals but failed to advance to the final.  In the men's high jump, Yuji Hiramatsu won his qualification group after clearing 2.16 m on his first attempt.  Both Kazuki Matsukiyo and Naoki Kitadani advanced to the men's 400 m semi-finals, finishing 2nd and 3rd in their heats.  2015 national high school champion Haruko Ishizuka did the same in the women's 400 m hurdles, finishing 3rd in her heat to move on to the semi-finals.  2014 and 2015 national high school champion Kenta Oshima and teammate Ippei Takeda were both stopped in the men's 100 m semis, Oshima finishing 4th in his semi-final in 10.43 and Takeda 6th in his in 10.56.

World U20 Championships Day Two
Bydgoszcz, Poland, 7/20/16
click here for complete results

Women's 3000 m Final
1. Beyenu Degefa (Ethiopia) - 8:41.76 - MR
2. Dalila Abdulkadir Gosa (Bahrain) - 8:46.42 - NJR
3. Konstanza Klosterhalfen (Germany) - 8:46.74 - NJR
-----
8. Nozomi Tanaka (Japan) - 9:01.16 - PB
9. Wakana Kabasawa (Japan) - 9:10.20

Men's Long Jump Final
1. Maykel Masso (Cuba) - 8.00 m -1.8 m/s
2. Miltadis Tentoglou (Greece) - 7.91 m -0.4 m/s
3. Darcy Roper (Australia) - 7.88 m -1.0 m/s
-----
10. Yuki Hashioka (Japan) - 7.31 m -0.5 m/s

Men's 100 m Semi-Final 1
1. Filippo Tortu (Italy) - 10.26 - Q
2. Mario Burke (Barbados) - 10.34 - Q
3. Raheem Chambers (Jamaica) - 10.36 - q
-----
4. Kenta Oshima (Japan) - 10.43

Men's 100 m Semi-Final 2
1. Noah Lyles (U.S.A.) - 10.22 - Q
2. Derick Silva (Brazil) - 10.37 - Q
3. Oliver Bromby (Great Britain) - 10.37 - PB
-----
6. Ippei Takeda (Japan) - 10.56

Men's 400 m Heat 2
1. Christopher Taylor (Jamaica) - 46.73 - Q
2. Kazuki Matsukiyo (Japan) - 46.78 - Q
3. Anthony Zambrano (Colombia) - 47.18 - Q

Men's 400 m Heat 3
1. Baboloki Thebe (Botswana) - 46.25 - Q
2. Luis Charles (Dominican Republic) - 47.09 - Q
3. Naoki Kitadani (Japan) - 47.32 - Q

Men's 110 m Hurdles Heat 6
1. Takumu Furuya (Japan) - 13.40 - PB, Q
2. Dawid Zebrowski (Poland) - 13.48 - PB, Q
3. James Weaver (Great Britain) - 13.65 - Q

Men's 110 m Hurdles Heat 7
1. Marcus Krah (U.S.A.) - 13.48 - Q
2. Pap Demba Hiramatsu (Japan) - 13.59 - PB, Q
3. Max Hrelia (Sweden) - 13.66 - NJR, Q

Men's 110 m Hurdles Semi-Final 1
1. Takumu Furuya (Japan) - 13.41 - Q
2. Matthew Treston (Great Britain) - 13.70 - Q
3. Juan Pablo Germain (Chile) - 13.72

Men's 110 m Hurdles Semi-Final 2
1. Marcus Krah (U.S.A.) - 13.36 - Q
2. James Weaver (Great Britain) - 13.40 - Q
3. Max Hrelia (Sweden) - 13.61 - NJR
-----
7. Pap Demba Hiramatsu (Japan) - 19.52

Womens 400 m Hurdles Heat 1
1. Eileen Demes (Germany) - 57.77 - PB, Q
2. Anais Seiller (France) - 58.44 - PB, Q
3. Haruko Ishizuka (Japan) - 58.66 - Q

Womens 400 m Hurdles Heat 3
1. Xahria Santiago (Canada) - 58.48 - Q
2. Julie Hounsinou (France) - 58.65 - PB, Q
3. Karoline Maria Sauer (Germany) - 59.37 - Q
-----
7. Mizuki Murakami (Japan) - 1:01.78

Men's High Jump Qualification Group A
1. Oleksandr Barannikov (Ukraine) - 2.16 m - q
2. Mohamat Alamine Hamoi (Qatar) - 2.16 m - q
3. Alperen Acet (Turkey) - 2.16 m - PB, q
-----
10. Keitaro Fujita (Japan) - 2.09 m

Men's High Jump Qualification Group B
1. Yuji Hiramatsu (Japan) - 2.16 m - q
2. Tom Gale (Great Britain) - 2.16 m - q
3. Maksim Nedasekau (Belarus) - 2.16 m - q

Men's Triple Jump Qualification Group B
1. Lazaro Martinez (Cuba) - 16.49 m +1.4 m/s - Q
2. Philipp Kronsteiner (Austria) - 16.19 m +0.9 m/s - NJR, Q
3. Jordan Scott (Jamaica) - 15.99 m +0.5 m/s - q
-----
9. Mutsuki Harada (Japan) - 15.70 m +1.4 m/s

Women's Shot Put Qualification Group B
1. Jiayuan Song (China) - 16.17 m - Q
2. Alina Kenzel (Germany) - 16.04 m - Q
3. Elena Bruckner (U.S.A.) - 15.50 m - Q
-----
5. Nanaka Kori (Japan) - 14.63 m

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

'43. BMW Berlin Marathon am 25. September 2016: Kenenisa Bekele startet in Berlin'

Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia), Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) and Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) have been announced for the September 25 Berlin Marathon: http://run.hwinter.de/?p=6966

World U20 Championships - Day One Japanese Resuts

by Brett Larner

The World U20 Championships got moving Tuesday in Bydgoszcz, Poland with medals handed out in three events.  In the women's 10000 m race walk 2015 national high school champ Yukiko Mizoguchi delivered a PB 46:19.49 for 8th, about 45 seconds out of the medals but within the JAAF's much-loved top eight target.  Zhenxia Ma (China) took gold in 45:18.45, with 3rd placers Yehualeya Beletew (Ethiopia) and 4th-placer Valeria Ortuno (Mexico) scoring area records.  An East African making the podium has to be shaking the race walk world.



Japan-based Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Kenya), a second-year pro with the Aisan Kogyo corporate team, ran a meet record 27:25.23 to take gold in the men's 10000 m, just outkicking Aron Kifle (Eritrea) and Jacob Kiplimo (Uganda) with Kifle setting a national junior record.  Two athletes each from Kenya, Eritrea, Uganda and Ethiopia made up the top eight, with Tokai University first-year Hayato Seki (Japan) running a credible 28:57.76 for 9th.  Waseda University first-year Shota Onizuka was farther back in 13th in 29:36.97.  The continued development of Eritrea and Uganda, shutting Ethiopia out of the medals in this race, represents another challenge for countries like Japan and the U.S.A. already struggling with the dominance of Kenya and Ethiopia in distance events.



In the day's other medal event, national high school champion Shinichi Yukinaga did not advance to the men's shot put final, marking 17.73 m for 9th in his group.  Better luck came for Japan's two best medal chances, Haruka Kitaguchi and Mikako Yamashita, both of whom advanced in the women's javelin with 2015 World Youth Championships gold medalist Kitaguchi winning her group.  Two-time national high school champion Kenta Oshima and Ippei Takeda likewise both advanced in the  men's 100 m.  Women's 800 m and 1500 m national champion Chika Mukai was 5th in her heat to move on to the women's 3000 m steeplechase final, and Yuki Hashioka also made the men's long jump final after landing 5th in his qualifying group.

World U20 Championships Day One
Bydgoszcz, Poland, 7/19/16
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Final
1. Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Kenya) - 27:25.23 - MR
2. Aron Kifle (Eritrea) - 27.26.20 - NJR
3. Jacob Kiplimo (Uganda) - 27:26.68 - PB
-----
9. Hayato Seki (Japan) - 28:57.76
13. Shota Onizuka (Japan) - 29:36.97

Womens 10000 m Race Walk
1. Zhenxia Ma (China) - 45.18
2. Noemi Stella (Italy) - 45.23.85
3. Yehualeye Beletew (Ethiopia) - 45:33.69 - AJR
-----
8. Yukiho Mizoguchi (Japan) - 46:19.49 - PB

Men's 100 m Heat 1 -0.4 m/s
1. Jack Hale (Australia) - 10.48 - Q
2. Oliver Bromby (Great Britain) - 10.52 - Q
3. Ippei Takeda (Japan) - 10.61 - Q

Men's 100 m Heat 6 -0.6 m/s
1. Mario Burke (Barbados) - 10.33 - Q
2. Kenta Oshima (Japan) - 10.44 - Q
3. Raheem Chambers (Jamaica) - 10.45 - Q

Women's 400 m Heat 4
1. Tiffany James (Jamaica) - 52.98 - Q
2. Ivanna Avramchuk (Ukraine) - 54.71 - Q
3. Jenna Bromell (Ireland) - 54.98 - Q
-----
4. Haruko Ishizuka (Japan) - 55.20

Men's 1500 m Heat 3
1. Taresa Tolosa (Ethiopia) - 3:46.13 - PB, Q
2. Baptiste Mischler (France) - 3:46.41 - Q
3. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway) - 3:46.53 - Q
-----
9. Ryohei Sakaguchi (Japan) - 3:49.21

Women's 3000 m Steeplechase Heat 1
1. Tigist Getnet (Bahrain) - 9:54.65 - Q
2. Betty Chepkemoi Kibet (Kenya) - 9:54.65 - PB, Q
3. Agrie Belachew (Ethiopia) - 9:54.84 - PB, Q
-----
5. Chika Mukai (Japan) - 10:13.61 - Q

Women's 3000 m Steeplechase Heat 2
1. Celliphine Chepteek Chespol (Kenya) - 9:55.21 - Q
2. Asimarech Naga (Ethiopia) - 10:05.71 - Q
3. Anna Emilie Moller (Denmark) - 10:06.26 - Q
-----
10. Yuki Shibata (Japan) - 10:25.66

Men's Long Jump Qualification Group A
1. Ja'Mari Ward (U.S.A.) - 7.96 m +0.4 m/s - PB, Q
2. Maykel D. Masso (Cuba) - 7.91 m +0.8 m/s - Q
3. Darcy Roper (Australia) - 7.65 m +0.3 m/s - Q
-----
7. Kazuma Adachi (Japan) - 7.51 m -1.2 m/s

Men's Long Jump Qualification Group B
1. Juan Miguel Echevarria (Cuba) - 7.89 m -1.0 m/s - Q
2. Tobias Capiau (Belgium) - 7.69 m +0.1 m/s - q
3. Yugant Shekhar Singh (India) - 7.68 m -1.0 m/s - q
-----
5. Yuki Hashioka (Japan) - 7.59 m +0.3 m/s - q

Men's Shot Put Qualification Group A
1. Korad Bukowiecki (Poland) - 21.73 - Q
2. Adrian Piperi III (U.S.A.) - 19.57 - Q
3. Cedric Trinemeier (Germany) - 19.22 m - q
-----
9. Shinichi Yukinaga (Japan) - 17.73 m

Women's Discus Throw Qualification Group B
1. Julia Ritter (Germany) - 53.84 m - PB, Q
2. Elena Bruckner (U.S.A.) - 53.83 m - Q
3. Alexandra Emilianov (Moldova) - 53.19 - Q
-----
11. Nanaka Kori (Japan) - 45.46 m

Women's Javelin Throw Qualification Group A
1. Eda Tugsuz (Turkey) - 57.77 m - Q
2. Hanna Tarasuk (Belarus) - 56.40 m - PB, Q
3. Chu Chnag (Taiwan) - 54.65 m - PB, Q
-----
5. Mikako Yamashita (Japan) - 53.47 m - q

Women's Javelin Throw Qualification Group B
1. Haruka Kitaguchi (Japan) - 56.16 m - Q
2. Jo-Ane Van Dyk (South Africa) - 54.06 m - Q
3. Geraldine Ruckstuhl (Switzerland) - 52.50 - PB, q

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 18, 2016

Japanese Team Roster for World U20 Championships

by Brett Larner

Japan sends a team of 44 athletes, 14 women and 30 men, to the rebranded World Junior Championships, hereout known as the World U20 Championships, this week in Bydgoszcz, Poland. 2015 World Youth Championships women's javelin throw gold medalist Haruka Kitaguchi (Nihon Univ.) is Japan's best chance for a medal, the only woman in the field to have thrown over 60 m.  Her teammate Mikako Yamashita (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) looks like another medal contender, her 58.59 m ranking her 3rd in the javelin field.  The team features the current national high school champions in fourteen events, a few including Kitaguchi having made the top three at last month's Japanese National Championships and many ranking in the top ten in their events at World U20.  5th in the men's' 3000 m at last year's World Youth Championships, Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) doesn't fit any of those categories, but with new 3000 m and 5000 m bests of 8:01.95 and 13:48.13 since then and a 4th-place finish in the men's 1500 m final at this year's Japanese National Championships he'll be looking to improve on that placing in the men's 5000 m.

World U20 Championships Japanese Team Roster
Bydgoszcz, Poland, July 19-24, 2016
click here for timetable

Women - 14 athletes

Sprints
Haruka Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 400 m - 53.22
     ・2015 National High School Champion

Long Distance
Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) - 3000 m - 9:06.47
Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 3000 m - 9:08.15
     ・2nd, 2016 Japanese National Championships women's 1500 m
Rika Kaseda (Narita H.S.) - 5000 m - 15:44.58
Mikuni Yada (Luther Gakuin H.S.) - 5000 m - 15:45.04

Hurdles
Yuri Okubo (Chuo Univ.) - 100 mH - 13.51
Yumi Tanaka (Kansai Gakuin Prep Daiichi H.S.) - 100 mH - 13.74 m
     ・2015 National High School Champion
Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 400 mH
     ・3rd, 2016 Japanese National Championships
     ・2015 National High School Champion
Mizuki Murakami (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 400 mH - 58.87
Chika Mukai (Meijo Univ.) - 3000 mSC - 10:00.40
     ・2015 National High School Champion, women's 800 m and 1500 m
Yuki Shibata (Kitakyushu Municipal H.S.) - 3000 mSC - 10:08.92

Race Walks
Yukiho Mizoguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10000 mRW - 47:03.23
     ・2015 National High School Champion, women's 5000 mRW

Throws
Nanaka Kori (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - shot put - 16.19 m / discus throw - 52.14 m
     ・2nd, 2016 Japanese National Championships women's shot put
     ・2015 National High School Champion, women's shot put and discus throw
Haruka Kitaguchi (Nihon Univ.) - javelin throw - 61.38 m
     ・3rd, 2016 Japanese National Championships
     ・gold medalist, 2015 World Youth Championships
     ・2015 National High School Champion
Mikako Yamashita (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - javelin throw - 58.59 m

Men - 30 athletes

Sprints
Ippei Takeda (Chuo Univ.) - 100 m - 10.27 / 4x100 mR
Kenta Oshima (Nihon Univ.) - 100 m - 10.29 / 4x100 mR
     ・2014 and 2015 National High School Champion
Jun Yamashita (Tsukuba Univ.) - 200 m - 20.91 / 4x100 mR
Wataru Inuzuka (Juntendo Univ.) - 200 m - 20.87 / 4x100 mR
Yuki Hashioka (Hachioji H.S.) - 4x100 mR
Kazuki Matsukiyo (Fukuoka Univ.) - 400 m - 46.74 m / 4x400 mR
Naoki Kitadani (Kobe Shiritsu Kagaku Gijutsu H.S.) - 400 m - 46.89 / 4x400 mR
Mizuki Obuchi (Tokai Univ.) - 4x400 mR
Yoshiro Watanabe (Josai Univ.) - 4x400 mR
Tatsuhiro Yamamoto (Nihon Univ.) - 4x400 mR

Middle Distance
Ryohei Sakaguchi (Tokai Univ.) - 1500 m - 3:43.88

Long Distance
Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 5000 m - 13:48.13
Hiroki Abe (Meiji Univ.) - 5000 m - 13:57.15
Hayato Seki (Tokai Univ.) - 10000 m - 28:48.63
Shota Onizuka (Tokai Univ) - 10000 m - 28:55.26

Hurdles
Takumu Furuya (Waseda Univ.) - 110 mH - 13.67
Pap Denba Hiramatsu (Nihon Univ.) - 110 mH
Yoshiro Watanabe (Josai Univ.) - 400 mH - 49.96
Tatsuhiro Yamamoto (Nihon Univ.) - 400 mH - 50.96
Taisei Ogino (Kanagawa Univ.) - 3000 mSC - 8:44.39

Race Walks
Masatora Kawano (Gotemba Minami H.S.) - 10000 mRW
Ryutaro Yamamoto (Toyama Shogyo H.S.) - 10000 mRW

Jumps
Yuji Hiramatsu (Tsukuba Univ.) - high jump - 2.28 m
Keitaro Fujita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - high jump - 2.16 m
     ・2015 National High School Champion
Masaki Ejima (Eda H.S.) - pole vault - 5.42 m
Keisuke Okubo (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - pole vault - 5.20 m
Kazuma Adachi (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - long jump - 7.76 m
     ・2015 National High School Champion
Yuki Hashioka (Hachioji H.S.) - long jump - 7.70 m
Mutsuki Harada (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - triple jump - 16.16 m

Throws
Shinichi Yukinaga (Shikoku Univ.) - shot put  - 18.41 m / discus throw - 56.65 m
     ・2015 National High School Champion, men's shot put and discus throw
Yume Ando (Tokai Univ.) - discus throw - 58.80 m
Junya Sato (Tokai Univ.) - javelin throw - 77.97 m
Hiroshi Ikegawa (Takigawa Daini H.S.) - javelin throw - 70.03 m

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Japanese Marathon Teams Face Difficult Situation in Rio Olympics With Tough Competition and Deteriorating Security

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/07/15/kiji/K20160715012969550.html
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/07/15/kiji/K20160715012969530.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/olympic/rio2016/athletics/news/1679246.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Japan's Rio de Janeiro marathon teams face a tough challenge in the Olympic races, the women's race scheduled for Aug. 14 and the men's race for the final day of the Games, 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 21 Japan time.

For the men, top eight looks like a realistic goal.  Among the three, Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda), Sasaki has the fastest PB at 2:08:56.  In comparison, Kenyan Olympic team member Eliud Kipchoge won April's London Marathon in an all-time #2 time of 2:03:05.  The gap in ability between the Africans and the Japanese men is enormous.

Among the women, a three-time Olympian on the track, Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) is one of Japan's best medal prospects in her first time in an Olympic marathon.  But not all has gone according to plan in her preparations.  Suffering inflammation of the fourth metatarsal in her right foot in May, Fukushi sat out the June 26 Hakodate Half Marathon.  "In order to be ready [for the Olympic women's marathon on] August 14 we decided not to overdo it at this point," said Fukushi's coach Tadayuki Nagayama, emphasizing the minor nature of her injury.  In her final month of preparation Fukushi is training overseas, winning a 4 km road race in Boulder, U.S.A. on July 4.

Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) ran a 10 km road race in the U.S.A. in June, clocking a passable 33:39.  After doing training designed to deal with changes in pace she will head to the U.S.A. for altitude training.  Last year Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) finished 7th in the Beijing World Championships marathon without doing altitude training.  This year she is again basing her training in Hokkaido.

But there is another major challenge to deal with, the possibility of major constraints on the marathon men and women's final preparations in Rio itself.  Although they have made their own hotel arrangements in the vicinity of the marathon start point, the security of the surrounding area has been deteriorating.  At the JAAF's official Olympic Team sendoff party July 15 in Tokyo, an official commented, "It is dangerous, and we will make adjustments to plans in consultation with local staff."  The consequences look impossible to avoid.

The majority of the course is made up a 10 km seaside loop, but the security problems exist primarily in the urban section between the start and the coast, roughly the portions from the start to 5 km and from 35 km to the finish.  The official commented, "They might have to tour the course by car."  Of the Japanese marathoners, only Ito is considering running on the course.  There have been two recent changes to the urban portion of the course, and it does not appear possible to gain much intel by running on the course.

The coastal circuit section of the course is considered safe, but since various details such as security enforcement in the early morning are still unclear it is essentially not possible for athletes to do normal activities like going running by themselves.  The JAAF's official team camp facilities are located at a military base 20 km away, creating other difficulties.  Sasaki said simply, "You just have to roll with it."  Security looks likely to be one of the team's main adversaries.

JAAF Sets Modest Goal of 1 Medal and 5 Top-8 for Rio: "This is Realistic"

http://www.nikkansports.com/olympic/rio2016/athletics/news/1679300.html

translated by Brett Larner

On July 15 JAAF Development Committee Chariman Kazunori Asaba announced that the JAAF's target for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics is "one medal and five top eight finishes."  The JAAF expects "at least one medal" from among the men's 4x100 m relay, 20 km race walk, 50 km race walk and women's marathon.  He cited the women's 10000 m and other events as possibilities for top eight placers.  In response to questions from reporters about why the goals were so modest Asaba answered uncomfortably, "Well, we're talking about the Olympics.  This is a realistic assessment."

Pole vault national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) was named captain of the men's team, with javelin throw national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) named women's captain.

Friday, July 15, 2016

World Record-Setting Depth in Kitami Women's 5000 m

by Brett Larner

The 2016 Hokuren Distance Challenge series wrapped up Thursday in Kitami, Hokkaido with world record-setting depth in the women's 5000 m.  Newcomer Shuru Bulo (Team Toto) led most of the race for the win in a PB 15:13.07, but the bigger news came further down the field.  In 25th place Nao Isaka (Team Hitachi) finished in 15:59.32, surpassing the 2005 Rome Golden Gala for the most women ever under 16 minutes in a single race.

The women's 3000 m also produced some news.  18-year-old Harumi Okamoto (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), already with a 9:00.91 at age 16 to her name, became just the 11th Japanese woman to break nine minutes when she outkicked Kenyan Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) for the win in 8:59.96.  19-year-old Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) and 18-year-old Nana Kuraoka (Denso) also cleared 9:10 with new PBs.

After a big 10000 m on Monday in Abashiri the men's races were relatively quiet.  A planned 1500 m national record attempt by 5000 m national record Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) fizzled, with Osako running a half-second PB of 3:40.49 but falling far short of the record.  Most of the rest of the top five also ran PBs, and farther back Rio Olympic team member and 800 m national record holder Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) came through in 9th in his official 1500 m debut.

Follow the Alberto Salazar regimen of workouts immediately after races, Osako turned up 40 minutes later to run the first 3000 m of the 5000 m A-heat before dropping out.  Kanto Regional University Championships double 5000 m and 10000 m winner Patrick Wambui (Nihon Univ.) scored his fifth-straight win in 13:29.69, with Yoshihiro Nishizawa (Team Komori Corp.) taking the top spot at 7th in a PB of 13:41.29.

Kengo Suzuki (Kanagawa Univ.) turned in a 20-second PB of 28:30.16 to win the men's 10000 m A-heat over Kenyan Alex Mwangi (Team YKK).  Another collegiate runner, Yuji Serunarudo (Soka Univ.) likewise ran a sizable PB of 28:55.57 for 4th, adding a sub-29 10000 m to his 1:02:48 half marathon best.  An improvement on his 14:03.94 best for 5000 m and Serunarudo will become a rare university runner outside the Hakone powerhouse schools to complete the sub-14, sub-29, sub-63 troika.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet
Kitami, Hokkaido, 7/14/16
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Shuru Bulo (Ethiopia/Toto) - 15:13.07 - PB
2. Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Route Inn Hotels) - 15:26.51 - PB
3. Mariam Muthoni Gachenga (Kenya/Yutaka Giken) - 15:35.10
4. Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:38.57
5. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 15:41.72
-----
10. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 15:48.79
15. Kaho Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 15:52.47
20. Nami Hashimoto (Denso) - 15:55.90
25. Nao Isaka (Hitachi) - 15:59.32

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Patrick Wambui (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:29.69
2. Teressa Nyakora (Ethiopia/Mazda) - 13:30.80
3. John Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) - 13:31.61
4. James Rungaru (Kenya/Chuo Hatsujo) - 13:31.86 - PB
5. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 13:35.66
6. Willy Kipselem (Kenya/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:38.10 - PB
7. Yoshihiro Nishizawa (Komori Corp.) - 13:41.29 - PB
8. Akihiko Tsumurai (Mazda) - 13:42.75
9. Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) - 13:43.81
10. Simon Kariuki (Kenya/Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 13:45.05 - PB
-----
DNF - Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project)

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 8:59.96 - PB
2. Ann Karindi (Kenya/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:00.19
3. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 9:06.29 - PB
4. Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) - 9:07.66 - PB
5. Nana Kuraoka (Denso) - 9:08.24 - PB

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Kengo Suzuki (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:30.16 - PB
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/YKK) - 28:35.52
3. Shinichiro Tai (Fujitsu) - 28:53.06 - PB
4. Yuji Serunarudo (Soka Univ.) - 28:55.57 - PB
5. Kazuki Onishi (Kanebo) - 28:56.08

Men's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) - 3:40.49 - PB
2. Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:41.35 - PB
3. Naoki Nakamura (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 3:44.91 - PB
4. Renya Maeda (Meiji Univ.) - 3:45.20 - PB
5. Aoi Matsumoto (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 3:48.00
-----
9. Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 3:58.44 - debut

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kawamoto, Sawano and Yamashita Added to Japanese Olympic Team

by Brett Larner

On July 13 the JAAF announced three additions to its team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  Men's 800 m national record holder Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and men's pole vault national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) were added after clearing their respective Rio standards last weekend.  Despite fouling out at last month's National Championships, Kohei Yamashita (Tsukuba Univ.) was added in the men's triple jump after clearing the Rio standard earlier this season with a 16.85 m meet record to win the Kanto Region University Championships.

The official announcement noted that the JAAF has not yet received word from the IAAF concerning relays, where the men's 4x400 m is currently ranked 16th excluding the suspended Russia, and that relay teams would be announced at a later date.  The men's 4x100 m, made up of sprinters on the Rio team as individuals, is already qualified after finishing 5th at the IAAF World Relays.  The announcement also noted that further additions to the team are still possible pending notification from the IAAF of invitational slots in events with fewer qualified athletes than allocated for.

The Japanese Rio Olympic team as it currently stands.  Times listed are the athletes' best within the Rio qualifying window.

Women - 14 athletes

Sprints
Chisako Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tech AC) - 100 m: 11.23     200 m: 22.88 - NR

Long Distance
Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) - 5000 m: 15:08.29     10000 m: 31:18.16
Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) - 5000 m: 15:16.82
Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 5000 m: 15:21.40
Hanami Sekine (Japan Post) - 10000 m: 31:22.92
Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) - 10000 m: 31:35.76
Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 3000 mSC: 9:44.22

Hurdles
Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 400 mH: 56.14

Jumps
Konomi Kai (Volver) - Long Jump: 6.84 m

Throws
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - Javelin Throw: 63.80 m

Marathon
Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) - 2:22:17
Tomomi Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 2:23:19
Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:24:42

Race Walks
Kumiko Okada (Bic Camera) - 20 kmRW - 1:29:40

Men - 33 athletes

Sprints
Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 100 m: 10.01
Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) - 100 m: 10.06
Asuka Cambridge (Dome) - 100 m: 10.10
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 200 m: 20.11
Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) - 200 m: 20.13
Kei Takase (Fujitsu) - 200 m: 20.14
Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 400 m: 45.22
Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) - 400 m: 45.35

Middle Distance
Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 800 m: 1:45.97

Long Distance
Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) - 5000 m: 13:08.40 - NR     10000 m: 27:45.24
Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 5000 m: 13:19.62     10000 m: 27:29.69 - NR
Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 10000 m: 27:42.71

Hurdles
Wataru Yazawa (Descente) - 110 mH: 13.47
Keisuke Nozawa (Mizuno) - 400 mH: 48.67
Yuki Matsushita (Mizuno) - 400 mH: 49.10

Jumps
Daigo Hasegawa (Hitachi ICT) - Triple Jump: 16.88 m
Kohei Yamashita (Tsukuba Univ.) - Triple Jump: 16.85 m
Takashi Eto (AGF) - High Jump: 2.29 m
Seito Yamashita (Toyota) - Pole Vault: 5.77 m
Daichi Sawano (Fujitsu) - Pole Vault: 5.75 m
Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) - Pole Vault: 5.70 m

Throws
Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 84.66 m

Decathlon
Akihiko Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8180
Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8160

Marathon
Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) - 2:08:56
Hisanori Kitajima (Yasukawa Denki) - 2:09:16
Suehiro Ishikawa (Honda) - 2:09:25

Race Walks
Eiki Takahashi (Fujitsu) - 20 kmRW: 1:18:03
Isamu Fujisawa (Alsok) - 20 kmRW: 1:18:45
Daisuke Matsunaga (Toyo Univ.) - 20 kmRW: 1:18:53
Hirooki Arai (SDF Academy) - 50 kmRW: 3:40:20
Takayuki Tanii (SDF Academy) - 50 kmRW: 3:42:01
Koichiro Morioka (Fujitsu) - 50 kmRW: 3:44:27

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Yokoe and Shitara Drop Year-Leading Japanese Times and a Big Debut From 18-Year-Old Munehisa at Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet

by Brett Larner

The third installment in Japan's midsummer Hokuren Distance Challenge time trials series took place July 11 in Abashiri, Hokkaido, the last day for athletes to turn in qualifying times for next month's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  With the long distance squads already mostly set the only events with people seriously contending for Rio were the women's 3000 m steeplechase and men's 800 m, where National Championships runners-up Chikako Mori (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) tried a final time to get under the 9:45.00 and 1:46.00 standards.  Both came up well short, Mori running 10:00.23 to win the steeple and Yokota just 1:49.28 for 4th in the 800 m.

Which is not to say that the day was slow overall.  With ideal conditions the distance events were fast across the board, and in both the women's 5000 m and men's 10000 m there were new year-leading Japanese marks.  Risa Yokoe (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) won the women's 5000 m in a 15-second PB of 15:18.11, surpassing the 15:19.37 year-leading mark that Rio team member Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) ran to win the National Championships last month.  Seven of the top ten ran PBs, including a 15:33.08 from 18-year-old rookie pro Harumi Okamoto (Team Sekisui Kagaku), best known for a 9:00.91 3000 m at age 16, and a 15:44.32 from 16-year-old high schooler Miku Moribayashi (Isahaya H.S.).

In the men's 10000 m, Ethiopian Abiyot Abinet (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) led three Japanese men under 28 minutes, two for the first time.  After a slow opening 2000 m the pacing was perfect, gradually ratcheting up and pulling Rio 10000 m squad member Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) to a 27:48.35 that replaced national champion Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) at the top of the Japanese charts.  4th at Nationals, Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei) cleared the Rio standard at the last moment possible, running exactly even pace all the way from 2000 m to the finish for his first 27-minute clocking in 27:53.59.  Off the pace around 8000 m, Mitsunori Asaoka (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) kicked hard in the home straight to just crack 28 for the first time, taking 4th in 27:59.72.  Shin Inoura (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) led the B-heat with a 30-second PB of 28:14.20, followed closely by 2016 Aoyama Gakuin University graduates Daichi Kamino (Team Konica Minolta) and Yusuke Ogura (Team Yakult), both of whom cleared 28:20 for the first time.

The women's 10000 m was another fast race with four Japanese women clearing 32 minutes, three in PBs and one in her debut.  6th at Nationals two weeks ago in a then-PB 32:10.96, 20-year-old Hisami Ishii (Team Yamada Denki) frontran the entire race alone to win in a new PB of 31:48.21.  Moeno Nakamura (Team Univ. Ent.) led the chase pack, chopping two and a half minutes off her best for 2nd in 31:57.92.  In what may have been the performance of the day, 18-year-old Yuki Munehisa, a first-year at Tokyo Nogyo University making her 10000 m debut, ran 31:58.46 for 3rd, the second-fastest U-20 time worldwide this year, #4 all-tme Japanese collegiate and all-time #6 among Japanese U-20 women.  Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) rounded out the sub-32 quartet in 31:58.71, with her teammate Mao Kiyota next in 32:05.05, her first quality performance since a 2:24:32 marathon debut in Nagoya in March.  Reia Iwade (Team Noritz), 2:24:38 in Nagoya, and Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki), 2:25:29 in Nagoya, also made decent comebacks, both going under 32:30.

Teressa Nyakora (Team Mazda) led an Ethiopian trio at the front of the men's 5000 m A-heat in 13:33.13.  Kazuma Taira (Waseda Univ.) was the top Japanese man at 5th in a PB of 13:38.64.  More quality collegiate performances came in the B-heat, where Hiroyuki Sakaguchi (Meiji Univ.) won in a PB of 13:46.73.  Three Tokai University first-years, Ryoji Tatezawa, Takuya Hanyu and Yuichiro Nishikawa, also broke 14, Tatezawa and Nishikawa for the first time.  Combined with the results of Saturday's Setagaya Time Trials Meet in Tokyo, six of Tokai's eight main first-years broke 14 within 48 hours, all but one for the first time.  In two years they may well have an unbeatable team at the Hakone Ekiden.

Chuo University, which last week announced that its own first-years Shoma Funatsu and Kazuyoshi Tamogami had been named captain and vice-captain, also got in on the action, with Funatsu winning the 5000 m D-heat in a PB 13:58.16 and Tamogami running a PB 3:44.85 for 4th in the 1500 m A-heat, all-time #8 for U-20 Japanese men.  5000 m/10000 m man Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) won the 1500 m in a PB of 3:41.74, but his mark is likely to be overshadowed at the final Hokuren Distance Challenge meet Thursday in Abashiri where the Alberto Salazar-powered multiple national record holder Osako is entered in the 1500 m.  If he runs expect him to go home with one more record on his resume.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet
Abashiri, Hokkaido, 7/11/16
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Hisami Ishii (Yamada Denki) - 31:48.21 - PB
2. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 31:57.92 - PB
3. Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 31:58.46 - debut
4. Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 31:58.71 - PB
5. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 32:05.05
6. Ai Inoue (Noritz) - 32:07.56
7. Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) - 32:21.20 - PB
8. Shiho Takechi (Yamada Denki) - 32:22.25
9. Natsuko Goto (Universal Entertainment) - 32:23.85 - PB
10. Ai Hosoda (Nittai Univ.) - 32:26.99 - PB

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Abiyot Abinet (Ethiopia/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 27:45.04 - debut
2. Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 27:48.35
3. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 27:53.59 - PB
4. Mitsunori Asaoka (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 27:59.72 - PB
5. Samuel Mwangi (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 28:01.35
6. Simon Kariuki (Kenya/Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 28:03.65 - PB
7. Joseph Kamathi (Kenya/Toyota) - 28:06.92
8. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Konica Minolta) - 28:07.53
9. Minato Oishi (Toyota) - 28:08.53
10. Akinobu Murasawa (Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:08.56

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Risa Yokoe (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:18.11 - PB
2. Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:33.08 - PB
3. Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 15:33.95 - PB
4. Nao Yamamoto (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:37.58
5. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 15:39.70 - PB
6. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:43.57 - PB
7. Miku Moribayashi (Isahaya H.S.) - 15:44.32 - PB
8. Kanayo Miyata (Yutaka Giken) - 15:46.54 - PB
9. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 15:47.47
10. Misaki Hayashida (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:47.87

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Teressa Nyakora (Ethiopia/Mazda) - 13:33.13
2. Tonosa Hiko (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 13:36.54 - PB
3. Bekele Shiferaw (Ethiopia/Mazda) - 13:37.41 - PB
4. David Njuguna (Kenya/Yakult) - 13:38.03
5. Kazuma Taira (Waseda Univ.) - 13:38.64 - PB
6. Yuki Muta (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:39.02 - PB
7. Willy Kipselem (Kenya/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:42.36
8. Shin Kimura (Honda) - 13:45.12 - PB
9. Toshiyuki Yanagi (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:46.33
10. Masaki Toda (Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:46.68

Men's 10000 m B-Heat
1. Shun Inoura (Yachiyo Kogyo) - 28:14.20 - PB
2. Daichi Kamino (Konica Minolta) - 28:17.54 - PB
3. Yusuke Ogura (Yakult) - 28:18.48 - PB
4. Shun Sakuraoka (Toyo Univ.) - 28:22.97 - PB
5. Hiroshi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:36.11

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Hiroyuki Sakaguchi (Meiji Univ.) - 13:46.73 - PB
2. Ryoji Tatezawa (Tokai Univ.) - 13:48.89 - PB
3. Shuhei Shirota (Kanebo) - 13:53.78 - PB
4. Yuki Munakata (Kanebo) - 13:54.27
5. Noriaki Oyama (Soka Univ.) - 13:55.24
6. Takuya Hanyu (Tokai Univ.) - 13:55.63
7. Atsushi Yamazaki (Subaru) - 13:58.16
8. Yuichiro Nishikawa (Tokai Univ.) - 13:58.55 - PB

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) - 10:00.23
2. Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) - 10:00.32
3. Soyoka Segawa (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:20.18
4. Ayaka Koike (Edion) - 10:37.97

Men's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) - 3:41.74 - PB
2. Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:42.68 - PB
3. Renya Maeda (Meiji Univ.) - 3:44.41
4. Kazuyoshi Tamogami (Chuo Univ.) - 3:44.85 - PB
5. Yuta Matsuda (SGH Group) - 3:52.25

Men's 800 m A-Heat
1. Jordan Williams (Australia) - 1:48.28
2. Tatsuya Nishikubo (Waseda Univ.) - 1:48.40
3. Takaomi Watanabe (Nittai Univ.) - 1:48.90
4. Masato Yokota (Fujitsu) - 1:49.28
5. Jun Mitake (Nihon Univ.) - 1:50.31

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 11, 2016

Chuo University Ekiden Team Names First-Year Students Captain and Vice-Captain

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20160707-00000148-nksports-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Chuo University has announced that it has appointed two first-year students as captain and vice-captain of its ekiden team, holder of the longest unbroken streak of Hakone Ekiden appearances dating back to 1925.  The team's new arrangement took effect July 3rd, with Fukuoka Prep Ohori H.S. graduate Shoma Funatsu named captain and Gakuho Ishikawa H.S. grad Kazuyoshi Tamogami vice-captain. 

Last month Chuo failed to qualify for this year's National University Ekiden.  A statement from the team explained, "This change in our leadership is a result of our performance at the National University Ekiden qualifier and is intended to help transform us into a team focused on winning.  After the qualifier most of the team shared a sense of crisis, and it can be said unequivocally that it was the tremendous enthusiasm and motivation of the first-years that roused the rest of the team, leading to this transformative change in its leadership."

Chuo University celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2015, launching a medium and long-term business plan for the next ten years.  In April this year it appointed alumnus Masakazu Fujiwara, 35, a three-time World Championships marathon team member and the only Japanese man to have won the Tokyo Marathon, as the ekiden team's new head coach.  "Within five years we will make the top five at the Hakone Ekiden, and within ten years we will win it," Fujiwara said of his goals as head coach.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Olympic Steepler Takamizawa Holds Public Practice Session at Matsuyama University

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASJ753GXQJ75PFIB001.html

translated by Brett Larner

Named to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team in the women's 3000 m steeplechase, Matsuyama University third-year Anju Takamizawa, 20, held a public practice session this week at the school's Kumanodai Field.  Takamizawa ran the steeplechase at the National Championships late last month, clearing the 9:45.00 Olympic standard to win in a meet record 9:44.22 and guarantee herself a place on the Olympic team.

At the public training session, after some light jogging and other warmups Takamizawa ran a series of 400 m intervals.  "This will be my first Olympics," she said.  "I'll be targeting my PB and hope to have the kind of run that will get me through to the final."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hakone Stars Hattori and Isshiki to Head Outside the Mainstream

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20160705-OHT1T50100.html
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20160705-00000225-sph-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Former teammates at 2012 National High School Ekiden champion Toyokawa H.S. and now two of the biggest stars on the Hakone Ekiden circuit, 2015 National University Half Marathon champion Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin University) and 2015 National University 5000 m champion Hazuma Hattori (Toyo University) are set to follow unconventional paths post-graduation.

At a press conference this week GMO Internet announced that Isshiki will join its new GMO Athletes team after his graduation next spring.  Isshiki finished as the third Japanese man overall and second university finisher in his marathon debut at February's Tokyo Marathon, running 2:11:45 to position himself as a hopeful for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  Having received recruitment offers from ten different corporate league teams, after careful consideration Isshiki opted to join GMO in order to follow a path to the top of the world under the respected leadership of brand-new head coach Katsuhiko Hanada, 45.

Isshiki commented, "I will pursue my goal of making the Tokyo Olympics marathon as a member of this team.  I am very pleased to be able to receive first-class support from GMO chairman, president and CEO Masatoshi Kumagai and to receive the guidance from coach Hanada, both as an athlete and as a person, that I will need to make that goal a reality."

Isshiki has run the Hakone Ekiden's most competitive stage, the Second Stage, twice, finishing 3rd both times.  His Tokyo Marathon debut this February demonstrated his potential at longer distances, and his 4th-place finish as the top university man in last month's National Championships 5000 m showed he has speed as well.  Coach Hanada commented, "To begin with the goal will be to run 2:08.  Next after that will be the 2:06:16 Japanese national record or even Japan's first 2:05.  He has the talent to compete at the world level."

GMO Internet launched the GMO Athletes team this spring.  To pursue the goal of becoming #1, chairman Kumagai, 52, has promised to provide team member with first-class facilities and treatment.  Aoyama Gakuin University head coach Susumu Hara, 49, serves as advisor to the team.

This week 5000 m collegiate champ Hattori also announced that he will join the second-tier Toenec corporate team, just 35th at this year's New Year Ekiden national corporate championships, after graduating next spring.  Following the appointment of Tadaaki Matsuura, 48, to its head coach position last year, the Toenec team is in the midst of rapid growth, regularly doing altitude training at roughly 1800 m elevation at the Hida Ontake Plateau in Gifu Prefecture three hours from its home base in Nagoya, Aichi.

Hattori received offers from many of the strongest corporate league teams, but putting the training environment as a top priority he opted for Toenec.  His older brother Yuma Hattori, 22, joined the Aichi-based Toyota corporate team after graduating this spring.  Hazuma will compete with Yuma, Isshiki and others for a place on the Tokyo Olympic team.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Kawamoto and Sawano Clear Olympic Standards

by Brett Larner

With just a few days to go until the July 11 cutoff for Rio de Janiero Olympics qualification athletes eligible to chase standards under the JAAF's abstruse selection policy have spent the last week doing just that.  Two weeks ago at the National Championships national record holder Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) won the men's 800 m but came up short of the 1:46.00 Rio standard, running 1:46.22 in rainy conditions.  At Saturday's Nittai University Track and Field Meet in Yokohama he made it, just, winning the 800 m A-heat in 1:45.97.

The next day at the Nihon University Track and Field Meet in Tokyo's western suburbs men's pole vault national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) cleared the 5.70 m Rio standard with a vault of 5.75 m on his third attempt, adding that credential to his National Championships win.  Little is for certain with the JAAF, but as 2016 national champions, Kawamoto and Sawano hitting the Rio standards within the window means they are likely to be added to the Olympic team.  In Sawano's case that would mean a complete three-man pole vault squad alongside National Championships 2nd and 3rd-placers Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) and Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) who already held Rio standard marks at the time of the National Championships.

At Nationals Juntendo University second-year Kazuya Shiojiri came up a fraction of a second short of a 3000 mSC national title, frontrunning to a PB of 8:36.45 but clipped at the line by defending national champ Hironori Tsuetaki (Team Fujitsu) who stole the title by 0.06 seconds in 8:36.39.  On Thursday Shiojiri, Tsuetaki and others lined up at the Juntendo University Time Trials in Chiba to try one last time to hit the 8:30.00 Olympic standard.  Tsuetaki was off his game, but Shiojiri again ran with determination, and again he came painfully close.  Shiojiri won in another PB of 8:31.89, the fourth-fastest ever by a Japanese-born university runner.

With only 40 men worldwide likely to line up in the Olympic steeplechase with the 8:30.00 Rio standard five spots remain for athletes to receive invitations to round out the expected field of 45.  Shiojiri's time put him 48th in the world, within range, but with a designated JAAF standard of 8:31.82 for an invitational spot it looks as though he again came up a fraction of a second, 0.07 this time, short of doing something special while still in his teens.  Under JAAF selection guidelines there is a very, very slight chance the JAAF would still nominate Shiojiri if he were offered one of the invitational spots, what you would certainly hope they would do for a high-potential 19-year-old who PBed twice trying to make the team and just missed.  But with so many ifs in that scenario not even Shiojiri believes it will happen, saying on Twitter that he'll work hard for the next four years to make it for real.

5000 m and 10000 m runners are not allowed to chase times under the JAAF protocol, taking some steam out of the four-meet Hokuren Distance Challenge series in Hokkaido.  The first two meets in the series, held Sunday in the town of Shibetsu and Thursday in the town of Fukagawa, were relatively low-key, but Fukagawa did produce at least one noteworthy result.  Named to the Rio team in the men's 10000 m, Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) won the 5000 m A-heat in 13:38.47, four seconds off his best.  Like his fellow Honda runner, Toyo University graduate and Rio Olympian in the men's marathon Suehiro Ishikawa's recent runner-up performance at the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, Shitara looks to be rounding into shape well for Rio after an uneventful spring.

Also noteworthy in Fukagawa: this year Tokai University, coached by former Saku Chosei H.S. head coach Hayashi Morozumi, has recruited the best class of first-years since Aoyama Gakuin University brought in a future Hakone Ekiden-winning group in 2012, six of Tokai's seven first-years having already broken 14:07 for 5000 m.  Three months into their first year, at Fukagawa three of them broke 14, Shota Onizuka leading the way with a 13:43.61 PB followed by Hayato Seki in 13:50.58 and Ryohei Sakaguchi in 13:51.69.  Like AGU, look for Tokai to make a big impact on the Hakone circuit over the next four years.

A few more chances remain for Japanese athletes to qualify for Rio before the deadline.  Kawamoto and Sawano were the most likely to make it, but as with Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) in the women's 3000 mSC and Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) in the men's 400 m at Nationals, there is still a chance someone else with the ambition and motivation may make a last-minute breakthrough this weekend.

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mizuki Noguchi Marries Some Regular Guy

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20160706-OHT1T50244.html

translated by Brett Larner

On July 6 it was revealed that 2004 Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi, 38, has married an ordinary regular guy.  The management of her former sponsor team Sysmex commented, "It is true that she has gotten married.  However, as it is a private matter we cannot comment any further beyond that."

In addition to her Olympic gold medal, Noguchi also won the silver medal in the 2003 Paris World Championships marathon.  At the 2005 Berlin Marathon she set the still-standing Japanese national record of 2:19:12.  After sustaining an injury to her left thigh in training just before the 2008 Beijing Olympics Noguchi never again produced major results.  Following her 23rd place finish at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in March this year she announced her retirement.  According to a team spokesperson Noguchi plans to remain active at a range of events.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Mungara Over Kawauchi by One Second, Horie Cracks Course Record at Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner

One for the ages.


In the men's marathon, 2 past Gold Coast Airport Marathon winners, 40+ world record holder Kenneth Mungara of Kenya and, just 2 weeks after a 50 km national record, Japan's indefatigable Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), head to head for the last 12 km of the race.  Kawauchi, with big plans for the fall, from the gun up front behind the pacers, never relenting on his front line position.  Mungara, crafty, holding back in the pack of 11, holding back until Kawauchi set off in pursuit of a breakaway pacer just before 30 km.  30 km, unusually early for the always fast-closing Kawauchi to go to the front.  Anyone else and Mungara, top 3 in 5 of his last 6 races including 3 wins and multiple resettings of his own 40+ WR, might have let it go.  But a champ recognizes a champ.

A gap from Kawauchi, and Mungara was on it.  In touch by 32 km and ahead.  Kawauchi closing.  In contact.  Physically, Mungara showing irritation at heel clipping.  Side-by-side.  Kawauchi ahead.  Mungara ahead.  A #1 sign to the crowd and surge from Mungara, matched immediately by Kawauchi.  One of the fastest closers and one of the craftiest of the crafty of the sport, down to the end, to the left turn into the Gold Coast finish chute, Mungara kicking away on the curves, Kawauchi closing in the straight.  Mungara, 42, with the win in 2:09:00, Kawauchi a second behind in 2:09:01 in his first sub-2:10 in over a year and a half.  Mungara, the first man in almost 20 years to win back-to-back Gold Coast titles.  Kawauchi, the first Japanese man ever to run sub-2:10 outside Japan lthree times in his career.  Race director Cam Hart: "With no disrespect at all to Rob De Castella's Commonwealth Games win, this was the greatest race on Australian soil."  Mungara hopes to return next year for a third-straight win.  Kawauchi's next marathon comes in September at the Berlin Marathon where he hopes to run 2:07, followed by a shot at the Porto Marathon course record in November.


And in the women's race.  From the start, 2:23 Ethiopians Gulume Chala, the 2015 Frankfurt Marathon winner, and Meseret Biru, the 2015 Paris Marathon winner, and little-known Japanese also-ran Misato Horie (Noritz), on course record pace steadily sub-2:27.  Horie, uncharacteristically confident for a Japanese athlete pre-race, despite a 4-minute difference in PB saying, "There's nobody here I can't beat."  Horie, applying the pressure, cracking Biru to the point she DNFd, cracking Chala, alone after 33 km, sailing on alone, under the sun, Yukiko Akaba's 2:27:17 course record never out of range.  Alone in the chute.  Alone in the home straight.  Alone across the line in 2:26:40, the fifth Japanese woman in a row to win on the Gold Coast.  "I never thought of myself as someone who could compete with Africans or break the course record," Horie said post-race.  "This was an incredible confidence builder.  I think I can make the London World Championships team."  To reach that end Horie plans to run her next marathon at one of the upcoming winter domestic Japanese selection races, Saitama, Osaka and Nagoya.


Mungara wasn't the only one to push barriers.  In 3rd in the men's race, 41-year-old Moroccan-born Belgian Abdelhadi El Hachimi, outkicking Japan's Chiharu Takada (JR Higashi Nihon) with a 2-minute PB of 2:10:35 for 3rd.  40-year-old Katie Kemp of New Zealand with a PB of 2:40:05 for 7th in the women's race.  15-year-old Katrina Robinson of Australia debuting in the 10 km in 34:27.  And, in the marathon, Kawauchi's mother, Mika Kawauchi, his childhood coach, running the marathon for the first time at age 52, clearing her sub-4 goal with ease in 3:53:53, 3:48:39 on net time, her son there to meet her and hold her up at the finish.  Is there a record for mother and son in one marathon?  "The training she put me through when I was young was harsh, but I'm here today because of that," Kawauchi said post-race.  A 42-year-old former barber and a civil servant, two of the men farthest outside the box in the sport today.  An unknown smacking down two far more accomplished Africans in course record time.  Mother following son.  One for the ages.



Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/3/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) - 2:09:00 (age 42)
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:09:01
3. Abdelhadi El Hachimi (Belgium) - 2:10:35 - PB (age 41)
4. Chiharu Takada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:43
5. Abraraw Tegegne (Ethiopia) - 2:11:39
6. Milton Rotich (Kenya) - 2:14:25
7. Peter Some (Kenya) - 2:15:09
8. Birhanu Achamie (Ethiopia) - 2:15:22
9. Tatsunori Hamasaki (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:15:37
10. Beraki Zerea (Eritrea) - 2:16:25
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12. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:17:55
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DNF - John Cheruiyot (Kenya)
DNF - Willy Kibor Koitile (Kenya)

Women
1. Misato Horie (Japan/Noritz) - 2:26:40 - CR, PB
2. Gulume Chala (Ethiopia) - 2:27:49
3. Leah Kiprono (Kenya) - 2:34:02
4. Rika Takenaka (Japan/Edion) - 2:34:39
5. Yoko Shibui (Japan/Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:38:13
6. Hitomi Nakamura (Japan/Panasonic) - 2:38:52
7. Katie Kemp (New Zealand) - 2:40:05 - PB (age 40)
8. Victoria Beck (New Zealand) - 2:43:39 - PB
9. Alice Mason (New Zealand) - 2:45:19 - PB
10. Kirsten Molloy (Australia) - 2:45:30
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139. Weiwei Sun (China) - 2:54:11
1610. Mika Kawauchi (Japan) - 3:53:53 - debut (age 52)
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DNF - Meseret Mengitsu Biru (Ethiopia)
DNF - Agnes Mutune (Kenya)

ASICS Half Marathon
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/3/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Duer Yoa (Australia) - 1:03:50
2. Hiroyuki Sasaki (Japan/Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:03:56
3. Masaya Kakihara (Japan/SGH Group) - 1:05:38
4. Scott Westcott (Australia) - 1:05:55
5. Josh Harris (Australia) - 1:05:59

Women
1. Cassie Fien (Australia) - 1:11:21
2. Virginia Moloney (Australia) - 1:12:25 - PB
3. Sinead Diver (Australia) - 1:13:19 - PB
4. Rowan-Marie Torckler (New Zealand) - 1:14:40 - PB
5. Yuko Watanabe (Japan/Edion) - 1:15:13

Southern Cross University 10 km
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/2/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Hugh Williams (Australia) - 29:23
2. Andrew Buchanan (Australia) - 29:26 - PB
3. Jack Curran (Australia) - 29:56

Women
1. Leanne Pompeani (Australia) - 33:59 - PB
2. Gemma Maini (Australia) - 34:26
3. Katrina Robinson (Australia) - 34:27 - debut (age 15)

© 2016 Brett Larner
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