Skip to main content

National Champion Asahi Kasei Team Recruits Kenyans for First Time

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20170408-OHT1T50191.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

A long distance and marathon powerhouse, the 2017 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei team has recruited Kenyan athletes for the first time. Surpassing even the 10000 m national record of 27:29.69 set by Asahi Kasei's Kota Murayama, 24, the pair of Kenyans includes a 32-year-old veteran who has run sub-27 and a young 23-year-old.  With experience coaching Kenyans at the Aisan Kogyo corporate team through the end of March, Isamu Sennai has also joined the Asahi Kasei staff in preparation for the Kenyans' arrival.

At this year's New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships, 30 of the 37 teams in the field featured foreign athletes.  In the midst of such a field, Asahi Kasei scored the first win by a Japanese-only team in 18 years.  Founded in 1946, Asahi Kasei produced greats including twins Shigeru and Takeshi Soh, 1991 World Championships marathon gold medalist Hiromi Taniguchi and 1992 Barcelona Olympics silver medalist Koichi Morishita.  Its current lineup features a large number of the country's best including Rio Olympics marathoner Satoru Sasaki and twins Kenta and Kota Murayama.  Its prestige is further strengthened by the addition of two of the best from the "long distance kingdom" of Kenya, promising further evolution in its future.

Translator's note: The article does not mention the Kenyan athletes' actual names.  They are Kenneth Kipkemoi and Abraham Kipyatich.

Comments

Anonymous said…
They should be doing this in reverse. Instead of bringing in a few Kenyans to train in Japan, The Japanese runners should be going to live and train in Kenya. This approach seems to be working well for the Robertson brothers from New Zealand.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). With a 1:01:20 at last year's Prague Half debuting Kenyan Eliud Mwangi should also factor into the front end. Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials start…

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …