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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 not on the Doha team have opted for Kobe's Hyogo Relay Carnival. With places on the line for this summer's World University Games national team and the chance to get in decent times ahead of the May/June National Championships the focus is on the 1500 m, 3000 m steeplechase and 10000 m for both men and women, with what may also be a decent women's 5000 m also on the bill. The women's Grand Prix 10000 m includes the three fastest women worldwide last year, Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels), Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) and Grace Kimanzi (Starts), while the men's includes six sub-28 Japan-based Kenyans led by 2018 world-leader Stanley Waithaka Mburu (Yakult).

The qualification window for September's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials closes at the end of this month, and at the Nagano Marathon at least two men, Asuka Tanaka (Hiramatsu Byoin) and Shoya Osaki (Chudenko) have a realistic chance of making it, Tanaka needing to run 2:11:47 and Osaki 2:11:12. Their competition includes Kenyan Alfred Kering and Tanzanian Ezekiel Jafary, with Kenyan Valentine Kipketer going head-to-head with high-volume marathoner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) in the women's race.

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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