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London 4x100 m Bronze Medalist Shuhei Tada Leads Japanese Team at Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade

Following protests outside the main stadium that interrupted its opening ceremonies Saturday night, the athletics component of the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade is set to start Wedenesday. As always Japan is sending a solid crew of its A-list collegiate talent to the World University Games, with a team of 24 men and 14 women set to compete over the six day run of athletics.

Getting things off to a quick start, London World Championships men's 4x100 m bronze medallist Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin University) is set to run the first men's 100 m on the first day on competition. Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo University), Ryo Kajiki (Josai University), Ryoma Yamamoto (Juntendo Univ.) and Marina Saito (Kokushikan University) will also double back from representing Japan in London to compete in Taipei, Kitagawa in the men's 400 m, Kajiki in the men's 400 m hurdles, Yamamoto in the men's triple jump and Saito in the women's javelin throw. London men's 20 km race walk alternate Toshikazu Yamanishi (Kyoto University) will also get his chance in Taipei after spending London on the bench.

Rio Olympian Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo University) leads the men's long distance squad, who swept the men's half marathon medals at the last Universiade. Japanese women have medalled in the half marathon every time it has been held at the Games including a podium sweep in 2009 and will be looking to do the same again this year. With a 31:58.46 best and a pair of mid-32 times in June and early July, 19-year-old Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo University) stands a good chance of following up on future national champion and Olympian Ayuko Suzuki's women's 10000 m gold medal at the 2013 Universiade. No Japanese woman has won 5000 m gold since Rie Ueno in 1999, but the 15:33.95 PB of Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka University) ranks her as one of the favorites.

The complete Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade athletics schedule, starting lists and results can be found here. JRN's breakdown of the Japanese team of 38 is here.

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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