Skip to main content

Kawauchi Named Captain of Japanese National Team for London World Championships

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

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


Kawauchi's words inspired 21-year-old sprinter Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.), who will wear the Japanese colors for the first time in the 100 m in London. His eyes shining with excitement, Tada said, "That really got my fires burning. I realized that I've got to be ready to do what's got to be done."

JAAF official Koji Ito, 47, smiled as he commented, "[Kawauchi] said nothing less than what I would have expected from him. I wonder if he had that speech prepared in advance." Regarding the reasons for Kawauchi's nomination to team captain, Ito said, "He is a powerful speaker, and his words resonate with the others including the long distance athletes. Heading toward Tokyo 2020 we want to make a strong Team Japan."

With no men in the 5000 m or 10000 m this year's team is small, with only 36 men and women set to represent Japan in individual events. It is to be hoped that Kawauchi's stirring words will serve as inspiration for athletes who suffered the disappointment of missing the chance to represent their country in London, so that as many athletes as possible make the national team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Of his own race on Aug. 6, Kawauchi said that his preparations are going as planned. "I'm not concerned about time. I'm going there to win a medal," he said. "I want to use everything I've learned in my running up to now and run a race worthy of the Japanese national team." An entire nation is waiting to watch Kawauchi's final race wearing the Rising Sun, a run of pure heart and soul.


Source articles:
https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1859497.html
https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20170721-00000135-dal-spo
https://this.kiji.is/261115826156258810
translated and edited by Brett Larner
Man in Black photo © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Anna Novick said…
The dawn of a new generation!

Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Weekend Track Highlights

Distance action at the senior level was split between three main meets this weekend. One contingent of Japanese women and men headed to Europe for a mini tour of the circuit, starting things off Saturday at Belgium's Kortrijkse Guildensporenmeeting. One of Japan's top current half marathoners, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) ran a season best 15:36.11 for 4th in the women's 5000 m to lead the five Japanese women in the race. National XC runner-up Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) led the Japanese men in the 3000 m SC in 8:37.81. The popular Hazuma Hattori (Toenec) was the fastest Japanese man in the 1500 m at 3:45.17, with Nokoka Hosaka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) delivering the fastest Japanese women's time at 4:25.40.

Also Saturday back home in Hokkaido, the Hokuren Distance Challenge series wrapped up with the Shibetsu meet. Women's 5000 m A-heat winner Yuka Hori (Panasonic) was just off Ichiyama's Belgian time in 15:37.51 just ahead of Honami Maeda (Tenmaya), who continued a gr…

Tanaka and Hashioka Win Gold - World U20 Championships Day Two Japanese Results

Working together to execute an aggressive frontrunning team strategy born from failure two years ago in Bydgoszcz, 2018 Asian U20 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka and 2018 Asian Junior Cross Country gold medalist Yuna Wada opened a massive lead over the African Junior Cross Country medalist Ethiopian duo of Meselu Berhe and Tsige Gebreselama in the early going of the Tampere World U20 Championships women's 3000 m. Tanaka took the lead from the gun before Wada went out front at 200 m to set a fast pace. Through splits of 3:00 and 3:03 for the first 2000 m, Tanaka kicked hard from 300 m out to close with a 2:51 for Japan's first-ever gold medal in the event, winning in a PB of 8:54.01.

Berhe and Gebreselama caught Wada on the back corner but weren't even close to matching Tanaka, taking 2nd and 3rd in PBs just under the 9-minute mark. Wada just held off Kenyan Jenali Jemutai Yego for 4th in 9:00.50, seeming happy in post-race interviews to have helped a teammate score gol…