On Jan. 23 the JFE Steel men's corporate team announced the hiring of former Kanebo head coach Kumimitsu Ito, 63, as its new head coach effective Feb. 1. During his days as an athlete Ito was named to the 1980 Moscow Olympic team prior to Japan's boycott of the Games. At the 1986 Beijing Marathon he ran 2:07:57 for 2nd, breaking the then-national record along with winner Taisuke Kodama. As a coach he led Toshinari Takaoka to set the current Japanese national record of 2:06:16 in the marathon. Takaoka later succeeded him as head coach at Kanebo.
JFE Steel's roster features 12 athletes including Kenyan Charles Ndirangu, a graduate of Sera H.S., and Yudai Okamoto, an Okayama Kogyo H.S. and Chuo Gakuin University graduate. This season the team failed to qualify for the New Year Ekiden national championships for the first time in 42 years. Hired as head coach in 2014, Takashi Matsuyama, 44, will step down from his position on Jan. 31.
source article: http://www.sanyonews.jp/article/658306
translated by Brett Larner