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Double Relay Medals to Wrap Taipei Universiade Athletics - Day Six Japanese Results



In front of an almost sellout crowd packing the stadium to see the breakthrough Taiwanese men's sprinters in action, Japan wrapped the final day of athletics competition at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade with a pair of 4x100 m relay medals that assured it the top spot on the overall medal table.

The women's 4x100 m team, comprised of Ichiko Iki, Miyu Maeyama, Mizuki Nakamura and Sayaka Takeuchi, were well off lead pair Kazakhstan and Switzerland through the race, lagging a relatively short distance behind bronze medal position Poland. Japan crossed the finish line in 4th in 44.56, breaking a collegiate national record that had stood for almost 11 years but short of the medals. That changed on review, though, when winners and defending gold medalists Kazakhstan were disqualified for a lane violation. The DQ bumped Japan up to an unexpected bronze medal.

The atmosphere in the stadium was raucous for the men's 4x100 m featuring Taiwan's very own 100 m gold medalist and national record-breaker Chun-Han Yang. The gold medalists at the last Universiade in Gwangju two years ago, Japan fronted an all-new men's squad led by London World Championships 4x100 m bronze medalist Shuhei Tada. A super-fast starter, in the 100 m Tada showed fatigue from his long season and lacked his characteristic sizzle. The Japanese team made a surprising decision to move him to second, but Tada more than delivered with a massive run down the back straight that put Japan well ahead of the U.S.A. and Taiwan with a lead that lasted until just before the finish line.

Sub-10 American man Cameron Burrell was so close he could feel the gold on his fingertips, but Japan held on to win by 0.04 in a quality 38.65. Driving the crowd to ecstasy, Taiwan outlasted Mexico for bronze in 39.06. The development shown in Taiwanese men's sprinting was a welcome and exciting addition to the elevation of the game across Asia, and it couldn't have meant more to the home crowd.

Japanese finished the Games on top of the medal table, with 7 gold medals, 2 silvers and 7 bronzes. It was one of its best-ever hauls at the Universiade, admittedly aided by the small size of the U.S.A. team, but a breakdown of the medals points to problems. A large chunk of them, 4 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronzes, came in the half marathon, with most of the other medals coming in the same areas where Japan showed strength in London, the men's 20 km race walk and men's 4x100 m relay. Although it has no shortage of collegiate athletes who could be competitive in the level of competition on display in Taipei, not a single Japanese athlete ran the 1500 m, 3000 m SC or men's 5000 m. Budgetary and calendar issues may factor in, but with Taiwan just a short hop away and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics not much further it would've been a good thing to see a more diverse Japanese team taking on events where it lacks in an international championships setting.

Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade Day Six Japanese Results

Taipei, Taiwan, 8/28/17
click here for complete results

Women's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Switzerland - 43.81
2. Poland - 44.19
3. Japan - 44.56 - NUR
4. Mexico - 44.79
5. Australia - 45.15
-----
DQ - Kazakhstan
DQ - U.S.A.
DNF - Italy

Men's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Japan - 38.65
2. U.S.A. - 38.69
3. Taiwan - 39.06
4. Mexico - 39.17
5. Thailand - 39.22
6. Ghana - 39.76
7. Finland - 40.37
-----
DNF - Switzerland

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Brett Larner
Japan Running News