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Showing posts from April, 2019

34 Men and 15 Women - The Final List of Japanese Olympic Trials Qualifiers

Yesterday was the last chance for Japanese men and women to qualify for the Sept. 15 MGC Race, Japan's new more-or-less one-shot 2020 Olympic marathon trials. Since August, 2017 they've had to meet tough standards, 2:08:30 or two races averaging 2:11:00 for men and 2:24:00 or two races averaging 2:28:00 for women with slightly easier marks in the traditional selection races like Tokyo and Nagoya. With yesterday's Hamburg and London marathons on the books a total of 34 men and 15 women made the cut.

Of the 34 men, 20 ran sub-2:10 within the qualifying window. When Kohei Ogino (Fujitsu) and Tadashi Isshiki (GMO) qualified in Hamburg yesterday it meant all 9 men who broke 2:10 at last year's Tokyo Marathon had made it. Tokyo was the race where the most qualifiers ran their fastest mark in the window, 14 between 2018 and 2019, with Beppu-Oita next at 5 and Lake Biwa 3rd with 4. The MHPS, Toyota, Fujitsu and GMO teams each qualified 3 runners, with Nissin Shokuhin, Konica M…

Weekend Overseas Marathon Results

15 Japanese men and 6 Japanese women lined up at overseas marathons Sunday to try one last time to qualify for the MGC Race, Japan's new 2020 Olympic trials marathon event, ahead of its Apr. 30 deadline, or to try to get under the Olympic standard before the Sept. 15 MGC Race. For men the needed marks were 2:08:30 or two races inside the qualifying window averaging 2:11:00 or better. For women, 2:24:00 and 2:28:00.

Already in, Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) ran the Krakow Marathon in hopes of clearing the 2:11:30 men's standard. Running steadily and under control on 2:10:20 pace, Nakamoto lasted until a final move by eventual winner Cyprian Kotut (Kenya) around 37 km put him away. As Kotut took off to win in 2:09:18, Nakamoto began to fade, holding on the 2nd place but just missing the Olympic standard in 2:11:34.

The Hamburg Marathon saw the largest number of Japanese athletes, with 4 women and 13 men. Among the women Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) had the easiest task, only n…

Chepngetich Runs Fastest-Ever Women's Half Marathon on Japanese Soil at Gifu Seiryu Half

Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich dominated the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon's 9th edition, running the fastest-ever women's half marathon on Japanese soil to win in 1:06:06. Taking advantage of cooler than usual conditions Chepngetich was out at world record pace from the gun, accompanied early on by fellow Kenyans Joan Chelimo Melly and Evaline Chirchir but alone by 10 km and leading by 6 seconds over Melly in 30:45.

The second half hit her hard, but Chepngetich had no trouble holding on well enough to take 1:38 off the 1:07:44 course record set two years ago by world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei. Melly, Chirchir and 4th-placer Mimi Belete (Bahrain) all went under 1:08:20, with Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) taking the top Japanese spot at 6th in 1:11:03.

The men's race was more conservative, with a lead pack of ten including last year's winner Nicholas Kosimbei (Kenya/Toyota), 2014 winner Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) and national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) going out n…

Kimura Clears Doha 5000 m Standard at Oda Memorial

Back from a few months in Australia and in her new home at the Shiseido corporate team, Tomoka Kimura became the third Japanese woman to clear the 15:22.00 standard for this year's Doha World Championships, running an early-season outdoor world-leading 15:20.26 to win Hiroshima's Oda Memorial Meet.

Tucked behind Kenyans Grace Kimanzi (Starts) and Helen Ekarare (Toyota Jidoshokki) through 4000 m, Kimura split under 3:00 for the last 1000 m to take the win. In her corporate league debut Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) was right behind her, just missing the Doha standard with a PB 15:23.58 for 2nd. Ekarare, one of six Japan-based Kenyans to have already cleared the standard, was 3rd in 15:25.28.

In the men's 5000 m Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu) took the top spot in 13:43.33 a near photo-finish with Bernard Koech (Kyudenko). Daiji Kawai (Toenec) was the top Japanese man at 3rd in 13:51.56, 0.04 off his season best.
53rd Oda Memorial MeetEdion Stadium, Hiroshima, 4/27-27/19

Osako Criticizes JAAF on Twitter After Being Denied National Championships Special Entry Without Qualifying Mark

Marathon national record holder Suguru Osako (27, Nike Oregon Project), aggressively criticized the JAAF on his personal Twitter account on Apr. 23 after not being allowed to enter the National Championships without a qualifying time.

Osako had sought entry to next month's National Championships 10000 m under a clause in the qualifying rules that lets the JAAF's high performance committee admit people who haven't hit the Nationals A-standard, but said his request was turned down because it might hurt other athletes' chances of qualifying for the World Championships and Olympics. He criticized the selection criteria. The same day the JAAF gave a public statement on its position, leading Osako to post a further string of tweets in response.

日本選手権、[本連盟強化委員が特に推薦する本連盟登録競技者]
という枠で出場しようと試みましたが、叶いませんでした.....。
陸連強化委員からの[大迫くんが日本選手権でいい走りをするとそれに負けた選手のランキングが下がり、不平不満が出るから]という理由でした。すごい理由だな。笑笑 pic.twitter.com/VX074DzGO1 — suguru osako (@sugurusako) April 23, 2019
Osako wrote:

"I…

Saving the Best for Last - Day Four of Asian Athletics Championships

On a day that saw three more world-leading marks, three more championships records and nine more national records, Japan saved its best for the last day of the Doha Asian Athletics Championships, bringing home three gold medals, two silvers and four bronze.

Yuki Hashioka brought the Japanese performance of the day, winning gold in the men's long jump with a world lead-tying PB jump of 8.22 m +0.6. Gold also came in the women's 100 m hurdles along with one of the bronzes, with Ayako Kimura and Masumi Aoki going 1 and 3.

The other gold came in the show-stopping men's 4x400 m relay, where Japan led start-to-finish to win  by 0.34 over India. India was later disqualified, elevating China to silver and hosts Qatar to bronze. The Japanese women's 4x400 m team led their race for almost 3/4 of the way, overtaken by India just before the last exchange and caught by Bahrain on the back corner but holding on for a surprise bronze.

Takashi Eto and favorite Naoto Tobe took silver an…

Yoshio Koide, Coach of First Woman to Ever Break 2:20 in Marathon, Dies at 80

Yoshio Koide, coach of the first woman to ever break 2:20 in the marathon and Olympic marathon gold, silver and bronze medalists Naoko Takahashi and Yuko Arimori, passed away Apr. 24. He was 80 years old. Koide had just announced his retirement from coaching at the end of March.

Koide became coach at Recruit through a teacher. Saying, "The age of our women is coming," he foresaw the rise of Japanese women's marathoning and actively made his dream of producing an Olympic gold medalist come true. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics where Takahashi won gold he produced a precise, aggressive winning strategy that seemed to go against character.

According to the Sept. 25, 2000 issue of Daily Sports covering Takahashi's gold, Takahashi's move came at 35 km near the apartment she had been at near the 32 km point on a section of road she had been running every day. Meeting with Takahashi the day before the race Koide confirmed the plan for the attack, telling her, "If there…

Ushiro Gold, Niiya Silver - Day Three of Asian Athletics Championships

Windier conditions throughout day three of the Doha Asian Athletics Championships made for a tougher day than the previous one, but there were still good performances across the board with one world-leading time, four that tied or bettered championships records, and three new national records.

The Chinese women led the way with a 42.87 in the 4x100 m relay, a new championships record and the fastest time in the world so far this year. In the absence of a Japanese team the Chinese men also took the 4x100, running it in 38.88 before being disqualified to elevate Thailand to gold. A new championships record also came in the women's 200 m, with Salwa Naser of Bahrain leading the qualifiers at 22.84 +0.6.

The other two championships record-breaking times came in the women's 10000 m. Reliving their duels at the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 Moscow World Championships, Japan's Hitomi Niiya led almost the entire way with Ethiopian-born Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel right on her he…

Kiryu Takes Gold - Day Two of Asian Athletics Championships

Despite sparse attendance, day two of the Doha Asian Athletics Championships saw three world-leading performances, five championships records, eight national records and Japan get onto the medal tally board in a real way after a relatively slow first day.

Qatari Abderrahman Samba turned in the performance of the day with a world-leading 47.51 championships record in the men's 400 m hurdles that left Japan's Takatoshi Abe tumbling in the turbulence. World-leaders also came in the men's 800 m via Qatari's Abubaker Haydar Abdalla with a 1:44.33 and the men's javelin with a throw of 86.72 m by Chao-Tsun Cheng of Taiwan.

After only winning a single bronze medal on the first day of the championships Japan got rolling with one gold, one silver and two bronze medals. National record holder Yoshihide Kiryu took the gold in the men's 100 m, running 10.10 +1.5. Teammate Ryota Yamagata was a DNS after winning his semifinal in a season best 10.18.

Ayaka Kora won silver in t…

Shiojiri Wins Only Japanese Medal on Day One of Asian Athletics Championships

The bronze medalist in the men's 3000 m steeplechase at last summer's Jakarta Asian Games, Kazuya Shiojiri turned in the only medal-winning performance on the opening day of the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar with another steeple bronze. Shiojiri spent most of the race comfortably in the silver medal position behind Kenyan-born eventual world-leading gold medalist John Koech (Bahrain), but on the last lap Avinash Sable (India) turned in an incredible kick to overtake Shiojiri in the home straight. Side-by-side with Sable over the last lap, Hossein Keyhani (Iran) kicked over a cone and ran a few strides inside the last corner but somehow escaped disqualification for 4th. Japan's Kosei Yamaguchi was 6th.


In both the women's 5000 m and men's 10000 m the gold and silver went to African-born Bahraini athletes with Indian runners taking bronze. In the 5000 m, Japan's 2018 World U20 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka relatively listlessly led the first …

Kibet Runs 10000 m World Lead in Kobe, a 3:44.86 High Schooler and More - Weekend Track Roundup

After giving World XC a miss, Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) got his outdoor season off to a good start with a 13:33.70 PB for 5th at California's Mt. SAC Relays. His teammate Yuki Nakamura ran only 14:34.97, while the U.S.-based Takeshi Okada (UC Berkeley) ran 9:02.75 for 12th in the 3000 mSC. Toyota Jidoshokki teammates Momoka Kawaguchi and Nao Yamamoto ran the women's 5000 m, Kawaguchi the faster of the two at 15:54.82.

Back home, Bernard Kibet (Kyudenko) ran an early season world-leading time of 27:36.24 to win the Hyogo Relay Carnival Grand Prix men's 10000 m, beating the 27:43.34 by Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) a day earlier in Hyogo's Asics Challenge men's 10000 m, at the time also a world-leader. Kibet's teammate Shohei Otsuka was the fastest Japanese man of the weekend at 28:25.42 in the Asics Challenge race.

Women's Grand Prix 10000 m winner Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Starts) came up short of a world-leading time but was just a few seconds off t…

Kiprop and Hunde Win Nagano Marathon

Ugandan Jackson Kiprop and Ethiopian Meskerem Hunde won Sunday's 21st edition of the Nagano Marathon. Running a steady and well-paced race that went out near 2:10:30 pace and sped up slightly to a 1:04:58 halfway split, Kiprop wore down the competition until there were only four left at 30 km. Ethiopian Deresa Geleta stayed with him until the very end, but Kiprop had the finish in him to open 3 seconds on Geleta to become Nagano's first-ever Ugandan winner in 2:10:39.

Geleta's 2:10:42 was good for a PB, with Japan's Naoya Sakuda (JR Higashi Nihon) also dropping a big PB of 2:11:21 for 3rd over Kenyan Alfred Kering. #1-ranked Asuka Tanaka (Hiramatsu Byoin) was one of the first to drop off Kiprop's early pace but rallied late in the race to take 5th in 2:14:35, his best performance since a stress fracture following his breakthrough in Tokyo last year.

Hunde pulled off an equally evenly-paced run to win the women's race, projected to run 2:33:44 after 5 km and en…

Asian Championships, Hyogo Relay Carnival, Nagano Marathon and More - Weekend Preview

The weekend's main action comes on the track, both at home and abroad. The main action comes at the Doha Asian Athletics Championships, a dry run for this fall's World Championships at the same new Khalifa Stadium where the athletics world will congregate in September. The Japanese national team is solid, with standouts including Jakarta gold medalists Yuki Koike in the men's 200 m, Seito Yamamoto in the men's pole vault and Keisuke Ushiro in the decathlon, men's 3000 m steeplechase bronze medalist Kazuya Shiojiri, 2018 World U20 Championships women's 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka in the 5000 m and the resurgent Hitomi Niiya in the women's 10000 m. JRN will be on-site throughout the Asian Championships to cover the action live and in support of Tanaka and Niiya. Entry lists are available here.

A few members of the Toyota Jidoshokki women's team and the U.S.-based Takeshi Okada (Berkeley) will be at California's Mt. SAC Relays, but most people …

2020 Tokyo Olympics Marathon to Start at 6:00 a.m.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee released the Games' official schedule on Apr. 16. The start times of the Aug. 2 women's marathon and Aug. 9 men's marathon have been moved from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. in an effort to mitigate the effects of extreme heat upon the athletes. The men's and women's 20 km race walks will likewise move an hour earlier from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., while the men's 50 km race walk will begin at 5:30 a.m. rather than 6:00 a.m. as originally planned. The schedules for other events including soccer, open water events and triathlon have also changed out of concern for the impact of heat on athletes.

Softball is scheduled to begin on July 22 in Fukushima, two days before the opening ceremony. The Japanese team is expected to compete in the opening game. The first medal event will be the women's 10 m air rifle final on July 25. In athletics, the men's 100 m final will be on the evening of Aug. 2, with th…

Boston Marathon Japanese Results

On a day that saw the fastest Boston Marathon men's winning time in 8 years and one of the deepest races in history with ten men under 2:10 including two Americans, the strongest-ever Japanese men's contingent at Boston couldn't live up to the level of the day.

2018 Jakarta Asian Games gold medalist Hiroto Inoue lasted the longest, running solidly in the lead pack well into the Newton hills and looking comfortable until he didn't. Inoue ended up 12th in 2:11:53, just missing a top 10 placing that would have put him clear of the 2020 Olympic qualifying standards ahead of September's MGC Race Olympic trials.

Defending champ Yuki Kawauchi fell off early, dropping at one point to 5th among the five elite Japanese men in the field but rallying late in the race to take 17th in 2:15:29, 29 seconds faster than his winning time last year. Kawauchi ran down Hayato Sonoda in the home straight, Sonoda next across the line behind him in 2:15:58.

Masao Kizu was aiming for a top …

Kanaguri Memorial Meet Results

April 1 is the start of the new academic and fiscal year, the time when runners move up from high school to university teams and on from university to the corporate leagues. The Kanaguri Memorial Meet is always one of the first chances to see people debut in new uniforms, and even though it was a week later than usual this year there were still lots of interesting items to be had.

#1 among them was the debut of Australian Melissa Duncan in the Shiseido team's pink uniform. Duncan had no trouble putting away the field of Japanese and Kenyan corporate leaguers, soloing a 15:20.88 to win the women's 5000 m A-heat by over 20 seconds.

2018 National Sports Festival women's 1500 m champion Ran Urabe (Nike Tokyo TC) had a much narrower margin of victory in the 1500 m A-heat but still pulled out a win over 2018 World U20 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka 4:21.96 to 4:22.25, Tanaka debuting in the new Toyota Jidoshokki TC uniform after moving to that club sponsor at …