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Kiryu Delivers Japan's First-Ever Sub-10 for 100 m With 9.98 Win at National University Championships



The day Japan has been waiting for has finally arrived.

Riding a wave of success in Japanese men's sprinting that in the last year has seen 4x100 m medals at the Rio Olympics and London World Championships and six men clear 10.10, Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo University) outran his London teammate Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin University) to become the first Japanese man ever to legally clear the 10-second barrier as he won the National University Championships 100 m final in 9.98 (+1.8 m/s) Saturday in Fukui.

After struggling with a sluggish start at the Taipei World University Games late last month Tada was back to his usual form, quick out of the blocks to open an early lead over Kiryu and the rest of the field. But over the second half Kiryu continued to build, passing Tada and dipping across the line to stop the clock at 9.99. The crowd erupted, but with the memory of Koji Ito's 10.00 national record, initially a 9.99 that was adjusted to 10.00 in the official results, the noise dimmed slightly as people waited for the official result to come up.

Then, with a 9.98 (+1.8 m/s) appearing nest to Kiryu's name, all the pent-up expectation of an entire nation exploded. A wave of sound, people jumping up and down and screaming, race officials falling over backward, Kiryu's coaching staff crying, and above it all, the sheer sound. Everybody knew this day was coming, that it was just a matter of one of the six, Kiryu, Tada, Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, Aska Cambridge, Ryota Yamagata or Shota Iizuka, getting it right. There was too much momentum, too much belief, for it not to happen.

And with the possible exception of Yamagata, there's nobody most of the public would have liked to see get there first more than Kiryu. In the last race of a university career that began with Toyo University spending $50,000 on an inclined track for him as an incoming frosh, today was his day. And there are surely more to come.

86th National University Track and Field Championships Men's 100 m Final (+1.8 m/s)
Fukui Sports Park Field, Fukui, 9/9/19
click here for complete results

1. Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 9.98 - NR
2. Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 10.07 (MR)
3. Ippei Takeda (Chuo Univ.) - 10.31
4. Kenta Oshima (Nihon Univ.) - 10.32
5. Yusuke Tanaka (Nihon Wellness Univ.) - 10.36
6. Takuya Kawakami (Chuo Univ.) - 10.36
7. Yoshihiro Someya (Chuo Univ.) - 10.41
8. Takayuki Nishimura (Toyama Univ.) - 10.51

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
video by Ekiden News

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