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Takaoka on Shitara: "He Can Compete With the Best in the World"

At Sunday's Tokyo Marathon, half marathon Japanese national record holder Yuta Shitara (26, Honda) ran 2:06:11 to set a new Japanese national record. Taking almost 3 minutes off his PB, Shitara bettered the old record set by Toshinari Takaoka in 2002 by 5 seconds. Shitara finished 2nd overall, 41 seconds behind winner Dickson Chumba (Kenya).

With his record having stood for almost 16 years, Takaoka gave his blessings, saying, "My record being beaten has made the path forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics brighter. When I saw Shitara's race in Tokyo last year I knew the day my record would fall was close at hand."

Comparing the 2002 race where he set the old record of 2:06:16 and this year's Tokyo Marathon, Takaoka said, "Running a Japanese national record requires the right combination of weather, competition, pacing, and physical condition. It was a great thing for Shitara that Hiroto Inoue was there running ahead of him as well. The most important thing that came out of this was that he was able to race as part of the lead group. In what's not visible to the eye you can feel his potential. If he's not afraid to run as one of the leaders no matter how fast the pace then I think he can compete with the best in the world."

source article: 
https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/201802260000235.html
translated by Brett Larner

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