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Showing posts from August, 2018

A Pair of Golds to Wrap the Games - Asian Games Athletics Day Six Japanese Results

Hayato Katsuki kicked off the final day of Jakarta Asian Games athletics competition with Japan's last individual medal of the Games, a gold in the men's 50 km racewalk. Katsuki finished in 4:03:30 more than three minutes up on silver medalist Qin Wang of China and almost seven minutes ahead of bronze medalist Hyun Myeong Joo of South Korean despite sustaining a five-minute time penalty 34 km into the race. Japan's Satoshi Maruo was another three minutes back in 4th.

Indoor mile national record holder Ryoji Tatezawa was in range of a top six finish at best in the men's 1500 m, but in a race that went out slowly enough for announcers to be comparing it to a Japanese high school qualifying round race Tatezawa lacked the gears to stay relevant over the final lap, finishing 9th of 11 finishers in 3:49.40.



The relays went about as expected. The women's 4x100 m and 4x400 m each finished 5th, while the men's teams brought home medals over both distances. With its powe…

Koike and Yamamoto Score Gold - Asian Games Athletics Day Five Japanese Results

Japan's Yuki Koike and Seito Yamamoto took home gold to lead the country's best daily medal total so far in athletics competition at the Jakarta Asian Games. Head-to-head with Taiwanese national record holder Chun-Han Yang the entire way through the men's 200 m, Yang leading off the curve, Koike overtaking him in the straight, Yang fighting back, both men falling across the line, Koike won in the performance of the day in a PB of 20.23 (+0.7 m/s). Yang broke his own national record by 0.10 for silver, also clocking at 20.23 but on review coming through 0.002 behind Koike. Bahraini Yaqoob Yaqoob was a distant afterthought in 20.55 for bronze, with Japanese national champ Shota Iizuka off form at 6th in 20.68. Just 23, Koike joins the A-list of Japanese sprinting just two years out from the Tokyo Olympics, while Yang's continued progression confirms his potential as an international competitor.

6th in the men's pole vault at last year's London World Championship…

Takayama Bronze - Asian Games Athletics Day Four Japanese Results

Not the man Japanese announcers expected to see on the podium, Shunya Takayama delivered Japan's only medal on day four of the Jakarta Asian Games, outrunning national record holder Taio Kanai for bronze in the men's 110 m hurdles. The entire focus of the Japanese coverage was on Kanai, but from the start he was out of form, ultimately finishing only 7th in 13.74. Takayama fought his way up from 4th, leaning so far at the line to overtake Saudi Arabia's Ahmed Khader Almuwallad for the medal that he fell. Wenjun Xie of China took the gold in 13.34 with Kueiru Chen of Taiwan running a PB of 13.39 for silver.

National record holder Sho Kawamoto was also out of form in the men's 800 m, 7th in a disappointing 1:50.87. Yume Kitamura and Ayano Shiomi came closer in the women's 800 m but were still out of the medals at 4th and 5th. Likewise in the women's 5000 m, where Rina Nabeshima and Minami Yamanouchi took 4th and 6th, and the women's javelin throw where Marin…

The Bronze Age - Asian Games Athletics Day Three Japanese Results

Bronze was the color of Japan's luck on the third day of athletics competition at the Jakarta Asian Games, with three Japanese athletes medaling in jumps and hurdles. Takatoshi Abe was a favorite to medal in the men's 400 m hurdles, no match for championships record-breaking Qatari Abderrahman Samba but running a strong 2nd throughout the race. Coming into the home straight Abe had a sizable lead over Taiwan's Chen Chieh and Indian Dharun Ayyasamy, but as he came off the bend he began to tie up. Ayyasamy saw his chance and kicked hard, catching Abe just before the line to take silver and knock Abe back to bronze.

One of Japan's strongest medal contenders, Naoto Tobe had something of an off day in the men's high jump, struggling to clear 2.24 m and tying for bronze with Syrian Majd Eddin Ghzal while winner Yu Wang of China went on to clear 2.30 m. Takashi Eto cleared 2.24 m on his final attempt to move into 6th but passed on the subsequent heights with an apparent …

Ushiro Gold, Yamagata Oh So Close - Asian Games Athletics Day Two Japanese Results

Japan tripled its medal count on the second day of athletics competition at the Jakarta Asian Games, adding another gold, its first silver and two more bronze medals to its tally. The silver came in the morning session with Keiko Nogami's 2nd place finish in the women's marathon, previously covered here.

The gold and one bronze came in an exciting decathlon that saw defending champ Keisuke Ushiro and teammate Akihiko Nakamura in 2nd and tied for 3rd going into the 1500 m. Ushiro needed a 2-second margin over leader Suttisak Singkhon of Thailand to move into the gold medal position, which he did with ease. Tied with China's Kewei Gong, Nakamura needed as much of a margin as he could get over Gong to finish in the medals and 42 seconds over Singkhon to take silver. Nakamura went out hard, but although he had no trouble putting Gong away the margin he needed to make up to Singkhon was just too big.

The other bronze came via one of Japan's biggest hopes. With a best of 10…

Kawauchi Misses New Caledonia Marathon Course Record

The New Caledonia International Marathon took place Aug. 26 on a loop course starting and finishing at Henri Milliard Hippodrome. Civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (31, Saitama Pref. Gov't) won in 2:18:18.

Returning to New Caledonia after 10  years, Kawauchi was alone from the start. Before the race he had set his sights on the course record, but, he said afterward, "I was enjoying the scenery so much as I was running that I lost track of time. Maybe I'll break it next year."

source article:
https://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20180826-OHT1T50137.html
translated by Brett Larner

Okamoto and Suzuki Qualify for 2020 Olympic Trials With Hokkaido Marathon Wins

A veteran and a first-timer made the headlines from the opposite ends of the spectrum at Sunday's Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo, Hokkaido, the first race in the second season of qualifying for the MGC Race, Japan's new 2020 Olympic trials race to be held in September next year. A passing typhoon brought cooler than usual weather to Hokkaido and a better-than-usual chance of hitting the sub-2:13 and sub-2:30 qualifying marks most Olympic aspirants would have to clear.

The men's race was simply a race of attrition, with no dramatic changes in pace or sudden moves, just a large pack of motivated people going out mid-2:11 pace in a race where only two men have ever cleared 2:12, neither of them Japanese. In the pack, 59:47 Kenyan Paul Kuira (Konica Minolta), the promising young Shohei Otsuka (Kyedenko), championships marathoner extraordinaire Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki),2016 Sydney Marathon winner Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta), luckless veteran Naoki Okamoto (Chugok…

Nogami Takes Silver in Asian Games Women's Marathon

2017 World Championships women's marathon gold medalist Rose Chelimo, a Kenyan-born Bahraini, duly took gold in Sunday's Jakarta Asian Games marathon, biding her time in a slow race mostly led by 2017 Asian Championships silver medalist Keiko Nogami before taking off at 25 km to win unchallenged in a 2:34:51 Indonesian all comers record.

Behind her the main pack featured duos from Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, China and Kyrgyzstan, shedding members along the way before shaking down to a core chase group of four made up of Nogami, South Korean national record holder Do Yeon Kim and teammate Kyung Sun Choi, and North Korean rival Hye Song Kim. The fastest of the four, the South Korean Kim was the first to crack, leaving the other three to fight it out over the last 10 km for silver and bronze.

Choi, the only one in the chase trio not to have broken 2:30, launched a brief attack but was quickly reeled in by Nogami and Kim. Nogami returned fire with 5 km to go and dr…

Katsuyama Throws Bronze - Asian Games Athletics Day One Japanese Results

Following Hiroto Inoue's morning gold medal in the men's marathon, the first evening session of athletics at the Jakarta Asian Games was capped by a surprise bronze in the women's hammer throw by Hitomi Katsuyama. Katsuyama's throw of 62.95 m was 8 meters or more off the Chinese top two Na Luo and Zheng Wang and was nearly overtaken by teammate Akane Watanabe's 62.45 m but was enough for her to go home with hardware in an an event that's usually something of a weakness.

The day's only other final to feature a Japanese athlete, the women's 10000 m was out of the league of lone Japanese entrant Yuka Hori. After a series of delays involving missing numbers, an extra athlete and removal of a rear bib, Hori did much of the leading, dropped by surges twice and taking her time overtaking those ahead both times to end up 7th in  32:42.73. In an exciting race up front Darla Maslova of Kyrgyzstan outkicked Kenyan-born Bahraini Eunice Chumba and Deshun Zheng of C…

Inoue Wins First Japanese Men's Asian Games Marathon Gold in 32 Years

Ranked #1 thanks to his 2:06:54 breakthrough at February's Tokyo Marathon, Hiroto Inoue became the first Japanese man to win an Asian Games marathon since 1986 as he took the first gold medal in athletics at the Jakarta Asian Games in a sprint finish in 2:18:22.

Despite the hot and humid conditions, 26˚C and 79% humidity at the start and climbing from there, it was a pretty frustrating race to watch, to be honest, with a 4:00 first km and a low-2:20s projected finishing time until well into the second half. On paper the only real competition for Inoue and teammate Hayato Sonoda were the African-born Bahraini pair Abdi Abdo and El Hassan El Abbassi, but despite that the two Japanese runners stayed tucked into the pack as Japan-based Mongolian national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir made a few attempts to get it in gear.

Bat-Ochir did succeed in shaking it down to a pack of 8, but it took a surprise visit from Thailand's Tony Payne, who surged up from far back to overtake the l…

Triple Marathon Weekend Preview - Asian Games, Hokkaido and New Caledonia

Marathon season kicks off this weekend with three races featuring elite-level Japanese marathoners.

Saturday morning the athletics segment of the Jakarta Asian Games gets rolling with the men's marathon. With a 2:06:54 best from February's Tokyo Marathon Japan's Hiroto Inoue is the heavy favorite if he can handle the heat. His nearest competition, Ethiopian Bahraini Abdi Abdo, ran 2:08:32 in Rome this year, and Inoue's teammate Hayato Sonoda is the only other man in the field to have broken 2:10. With Bahrain's second man, the Moroccan El Hassan El Abbassi, ranked 4th at 2:10:57 it's pretty much a Japan-Bahrain dual on the men's side. Should Inoue succeed he'll be the first Japanese man to win Asian Games gold since Takeyuki Nakayama set the still-standing championships record of 2:08:21 at the 1986 Seoul Games. It's unusual to see an A-lister like Inoue run the Asian Games, but considering the weather conditions he'll face if he makes the Toky…

How a Former National Team Level Marathoner Developed an Eating Disorder

by Shoko Egawa

Egawa is an investigate journalist who made her name doing early work on the Aum death cult. Here she looks at the situation surrounding 2005 Helsinki World Championships marathon team member Yumiko Hara, who blamed a string of arrests for shoplifting on an eating disorder she claims to have developed as a result of the psychological trauma of the strict dietary and weight restrictions her corporate league coach put upon her.

"The weight restrictions were severe, way beyond what any other team did, and it was especially hard to take because I was the only they were being applied to. At meals the head coach told me, 'Eat this. Don't eat this.' I was weighed repeatedly throughout the day to the point that I was afraid to drink water because I thought my weight would increase by the amount of the water."

Earlier this summer former marathon national team member Yumiko Hara underwent questioning under Maebashi District Court Ota Branch judge Masaya Okuya…

Money First for a Midsummer Olympics? Just Can't Say No to Those American TV Dollars

In the "Why Is the News?" series the editors of the Nihon Keizai Newspaper look at the reasons underlying current news topics. This time they examine the Tokyo Olympics being held in the middle of summer.

Question: It's two years until the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. For both athletes and spectators, the toughest competition will be against the heat. Why can't the Olympics be held at a different time?

Answer: The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 24 to August 9. They are expected to be a hot summer Olympics. With Japan's high humidity there is tremendous risk of heat stroke, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called the need to take measures to protect athletes and audience alike "an urgent task."

No event will be impacted more than the marathon. To ameliorate the situation for the athletes, the start time has been moved up half an hour from the original plan to 7:00 a.m., and Tokyo is introducing special heat-reducing pavement an…

2018 Jakarta Asian Games - Japanese National Team Roster

The 2018 Jakarta Asian Games are underway, with athletics competition set to kick off Saturday morning with the men's marathon. 23 women and 35 men will represent Japan in what may be the best approximation in the next two years of the conditions they're likely to face at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

It's a national team with strong contenders in certain events and gaping holes elsewhere. The women's racewalk squad is very thin at only one entrant and no women are competing in any jumps, while no Japanese men are entered in the 5000 m or 10000 m. All the development in men's distance seems to be channelled into the marathon, where Japan may have one of its best gold medal chances in 2:06:54 man Hiroto Inoue. No Japanese man has won gold in the marathon at the Asian Games since Takayuki Nakayama set the still-standing Games record of 2:08:21 at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games. Given the heat and humidity of Jakarta Inoue is unlikely to touch that kind of time, but his chanc…

Kawauchi Wins Nemuro Seaside Half, Gets a Whole Crab

The 2nd Nemuro Seaside Half Marathon took place under the blue skies of summer along the Nemuro Peninsula, the participating runners traversing the extremity Japan's northeastern coast. 1053 people were entered in the event's half marathon, 10 km, 5 km, 3 km and 1 km divisions, an increase from last year. Every finisher received an entire hanasaki crab, the seasonal local specialty giving more than enough motivation to spur them on to the finish line.

In the day's main race, the half marathon, 417 people were entered. Lining up alongside guest runner Yuki Kawauchi, they shot out across the starting line with the firing of the gun at 9:00 a.m. sharp. From views of the Pacific Ocean in the first half they passed through a pastoral dairy farmland scene in the middle of the race and on to the panorama of the Sea of Okhotsk in the second half before a finish line in the heart of the town. Kawauchi was first to the finish line in 1:06:39. Whether first or last, everyone in the …

Kurgat Conquers Hiroshima XC

On a beautiful sunny late summer's day newly Japan-based Kenyan Amos Kurgat (Chudenko) had no trouble taking down the field to win the senior men's 8 km at the 19th Hiroshima Cross Country Meet. Solo the entire way, Kurgat was the only runner under 24 minutes at 23:43.

The only collegiate runner in the top 20, Ryosuke Nara, son of Daito Bunka University head coach Osamu Nara, took 2nd almost a minute back in 24:34 well ahead of his nearest corporate league competitor Shoma Yamamoto. Twins Kenta and Kota Otani (JFE Steel) were 7th and 8th just 5 seconds apart.

19th Hiroshima Cross Country MeetHiroshima, 8/18/18

Senior Men's 8 km
1. Amos Kurgat (Chudenko) - 23:43
2. Ryosuke Nara (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 24:34
3. Shoma Yamamoto (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 24:53
4. Kyosuke Nishioka (Chudenko) - 24:57
5. Shunya Suo (Mazda) - 25:06
6. Yamato Otsuka (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 25:07
7. Kenta Otani (JFE Steel) - 25:08
8. Kota Otani (JFE Steel) - 25:13
9. Shuji Matsuo (Chudenko) - 25:17
10. Go Nakaga…

On Broadcast Commentary

It's been 122 days since the 122nd Boston Marathon. Of what the two exceptional people who won that day accomplished, WilliamShakespeare summed it up better than any other commentator in his Sonnet 122:

Beyond all date, even to eternity;
     Or at the least, so long as brain and heart
     Have faculty by nature to subsist;
     Till each to razed oblivion yield his part
     Of thee, thy record never can be miss'd.

What else needs to be said? But the other thing that remains from that day is, of course, this:

Worst punditry ever? #Yukipic.twitter.com/AwjeuZDtOt — Xempo Running (@xempouk) April 16, 2018
In the 122 days since Boston this clip has been on my mind a lot. The commentary here by Larry Rawson and Al Trautwig was exceptionally bad, but it wasn't unique to them and highlighted many of the problems with marathon TV broadcasts and especially their hosts and commentators. I'm fortunate to live in Japan where the announcers for the countless marathon live TV broadcas…