Entry lists for the 98th Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships, Japan's most competitive collegiate meet, were released May 14. The meet begins May 23rd at Kanagawa's Sagamihara Gion Stadium.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary as a D1 program, Yamanashi Gakuin University will field its new Kenyan first-year Boniface Murua in the 10000 m on the 23rd and in the final day's 5000 m on the 26th. At 181 cm Murua has a long and dynamic stride that was in full evidence when he ran 14:06.27 at the Setagaya Time Trials meet immediately after his arrival in Japan in April, and in his 28:17.36 follow-up at the Nittai University Time Trials later that month. Asked about his Kanto Regionals debut, the Japanese Murua has learned was just enough for him to answer, "I'll do my best!"
3rd in the 800 m last year, third-year Daichi Setoguchi is also entered for the third year in a row. "I've been 5th and 3rd, so this year I want to deliver the win," he said full of fighting spirit. Fourth-year Tatsuya Kawaguchi, a member of this year's YGU Hakone Ekiden team lineup, will run the half marathon at Kanto Regionals. "It's my fourth year but first Kanto Regionals," he said. "I want to make the most of my Hakone experience."
As the team's vice-captain Kawaguchi was full of resolve, saying, "Kanto Regionals is a full-out battle. Every member of the team has to work toward the same goal of staying in D1. I hope that we can work together to maintain the legacy that all the great athletes who came before us built and to carry that legacy forward." Kawaguchi's attitude reflected YGU's 2019-20 team slogan, "Full Force Forward - Strong On Your Own, Strong as One."
Head coach Masahito Ueda, 60, commented, "For 24 years we've competed as a D1 program, but our experience of being competitive at that level has slipped away somehow and we're on thin ice now. I hope that our performance at this year's Kanto Regionals fully embodies 'Full Force Forward.' I want our athletes to stand on their individual starting lines with confidence."
translated by Brett Larner