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Sani Brown and Ichikawa Do the Double on Day Three of Japanese National Championships



Mid-day rain meant a track too wet for fast times in most of the finals on the last day of the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai, but first-time 100 m national champions Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) and Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) didn't let that stop them from scoring the sprint double with 200 m national titles to wrap the day.

Having already downed 100 m and 200 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Sapporo T&F Assoc.) in the 100 m, Ichikawa was out in front throughout the 200 m, shy of the London standard in 23.63 (-0.2) but still winning by more than 0.10. Not her usual self, Fukushima was only 5th in 24.01.

In the men's race the general assumption seemed to be that Sani Brown would drop Japan's first sub-20, but at 20.32 (+0.3) he wasn't close, even if under the London standard. Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) was next in 20.47, with Rio Olympics 4x100 m silver medalist Shota Iizuka off his best game at 3rd in 20.53. Although Iizuka holds a London qualifying standard, the JAAF lived up to its 2017 Nationals motivational slogan "All we need is #1" by only confirming Sani Brown for the London team pending a few more weeks of its selection algebra grinding along.



Like Sani Brown winning with a time under the London standard, Shunya Takayama (Zenrin) took the men's 110 m hurdles national title in 13.45 (-0.2) to secure his place on the national team. Mirroring Iizuka's predicament, 3rd placer Genta Masuno (Yamada Denki) found himself in limbo after running an all-time Japanese #2 time of 13.40 in the heats but only 13.61 in the final.



The most exciting race of the day came in the women's 5000 m. Defending national champion and Rio Olympian Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) was never a factor, leaving a front pack including Rio Olympian Ayuko Suzuki (Team Japan Post), her new teammate Rina Nabeshima, top-ranked high schooler Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.), 10000 m 4th-placer Mao Ichiyama (Team Wacoal) and more to deal with Kenyan pacer Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki). Despite a decent 3:03 opening kilometer the pace slowed off 15:22.00 London qualifying territory, critical to most of the top women who had yet to clear it within the window. When 4000 m came in 12:27 Suzuki went to the front, cutting it down immediately to a quartet of herself, Nabeshima, Ogasawara and Karindi.

Still together with one lap to go it came down to the last 100 m with Karindi crossing the line first in 15:19.62 and Nabeshima getting the national title over Suzuki 15:19.87 to 15:20.50, solid closing speed considering their 4000 m split. Ogasawara was next in 15:23.56, just missing the London standard but cutting two seconds off the under-18 national youth record. For her troubles, Nabeshima scored a place on the London team with Suzuki in a holding pattern for the weeks to come. Of the three women who held London qualifying marks prior to Nationals, Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) took the top spot at 7th in 15:29.74. Whether she picks up the third spot on the London team remains to be seen.



In all three women's distance races, the 5000 m, 10000 m, and 3000 mSC, this year Japanese women ran with purpose and intensity, their personal slogans clearly "All we need is the World Championships." By comparison, the men had just as clearly taken the JAAF's slogan too much to heart, content to say, "All we need is #1 in Japan." None of the three distances saw any Japanese men even try to go after London standards despite every race featuring men who had broken them in the past. The 3000 m steeplechase came closest, with defending national champion Hironori Tsuetaki (Team Fujitsu) finishing just over six seconds off in 8:38.20 despite going through 2000 m in six minutes flat.



With the last two 5000 m national champions, 5000 m national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) and 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) both a DNS and only thirteen Japanese men and one Kenyan pacer starting the 5000 m had something of a forlorn air right from the start even with the all-time #2 man over the distance, Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei), in the house. After a 2:50 opening 1000 m was followed up with a 2:55, 10000 m runner-up Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) duly went to work, leading a charge at a more respectable 2:42 for the third kilometer.

Over the next 1500 m it was a tag team effort before Komazawa University graduate Shogo Nakamura (Team Fujitsu) gunned it with 500 m to go. On the back curve he was run down by Shuho Dairokuno (Team Asahi Kasei) and then teammate Hiroki Matsueda (Team Fujitsu), the sprint finish in the home straight going to Matsueda in 13:48.90. The 10000 m top three and 3000 mSC champ Tsuteaki are bound to chase standards early next month at the Hokuren Distance Challenge, but it's likely we won't see any Japanese men in London in at least the 5000 m, and possibly at the other distances.

101st National Track and Field Championships

Day Three Highlights
Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osako, 6/25/17
click here for complete results
athletes in bold cleared London World Championships qualifying standards

T42/44/47 Men's 100 m Final (-0.4)
1. Tomoki Tagawa (AC-Kita - T47) - 11.34
2. Yudai Suzuki (Nittai Univ. - T47) - 11.46
3. Mikio Ikeda (Chukyo Univ. - T44) - 12.40
4. Atsushi Yamamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC - T42) - 13.27

T54 Men's 1500 m Final
1. Sho Watanabe (Toppan) - 3:10.12
2. Masayuki Higuchi (Puma Japan) - 3:10.21
3. Hiroki Nishida (Baccarat Pacific) - 3:12.02

Women's 200 m Final (-0.2)
1. Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 23.63
2. Saori Imai (Iida Byoin) - 23.74
3. Mizuki Nakamura (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 23.76
4. Miyu Maeyama (Niigata Iryo Fukushi Univ.) - 23.89
5. Chisato Fukushima (Sapporo T&F Assoc.) - 24.01

Men's 200 m Final (+0.3)
1. Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 20.32
2. Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) - 20.47
3. Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 20.55

Women's 800 m Final
1. Yume Kitamura (Nittai Univ.) - 2:04.62
2. Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) - 2:05.31
3. Ayano Shiomi (Kyoto Bunkyo H.S.) - 2:05:47

Womens 5000 m Final
1. Ann Karindi (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:19.62
2. Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) - 15:19.87
3. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) - 15:20.50
4. Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 15:23.56 - NYR
5. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 15:26.25
6. Yukari Abe (Shimamura) - 15:28.62
7. Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:29.74
8. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:34.64
9. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 15:36.19
10. Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:36.65

Men's 5000 m Final
1. Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) - 13:48.90
2. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 13:50.07
3. Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) - 13:50.91
4. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 13:53.30
5. Takanori Ichikawa (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:53.55
6. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) - 13:53.87
7. Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 13:54.71
8. Kazuma Taira (Kanebo) - 13:58.70
9. Waweru Nganga (Kokoku H.S.) - 14:02.02
10. Ken Yokote (Fujitsu) - 14:06.85

Women's 100 mH Final (-0.1)
1. Ayako Kimura (Edion) - 13.12
2. Hitomi Shimura (Toho Ginko) - 13.31
3. Eriko Soma (Starts) - 13.44

Men's 110 mH Final (-0.2)
1. Shunya Takayama (Zenrin) - 13.45 
2. Wataru Yazawa (Descente TC) - 13.61
3. Genta Masuno (Yamada Denki) - 13.61

Women's 400 mH Final
1. Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 56.35
2. Manami Kira (Art Home) - 57.67
3. Moe Oshiden (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 58.65

Men's 3000 mSC Final
1. Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) - 8:38.20
2. Aoi Matsumoto (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:41.22
3. Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) - 8:42.46
4. Yasutaka Ishibashi (SGH Group) - 8:43.42
5. Shuto Mikami (Tokai Univ.) - 8:44.34

Men's High Jump Final
1. Takashi Eto (AGF) - 2.25 m
2. Kazuhiro Ota (Kanazawa Seiryo Univ.) - 2.20 m
3. Naoto Hasegawa (Niigata Iryo Fukushi Univ.) - 2.20 m

Men's Triple Jump Final
1. Ryoma Yamamoto (Juntendo Univ.) - 16.29 m (+0.6)
2. Mutsuki Harada (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16.27 m (-1.1)
3. Yuki Kyoda (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 16.20 (-0.1)

Women's Discus Throw Final
1. Minori Tsujikawa (Tsukuba Univ.) - 51.27 m
2. Nanaka Kori (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 49.87 m
3. Ai Shikimoto (Niigata Albirex RC) - 49.21 m

Men's Shot Put Final
1. Satoshi Hatase (Alsok) - 18.26 m
2. Hayato Yamamoto (Fukubi Kagaku) - 17.79 m
3. Reiji Takeda (Nihon Univ.) - 17.70 m

Men's Discus Throw Final
1. Yuji Tsutsumi (Alsok) - 59.09 m
2. Shigeyuki Maisawa (Oriko T&F Team) - 58.53 m
3. Masateru Yugami (Toyota) - 57.38 m

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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