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Izumiya Sets Collegiate NR, Yegon Just Misses Olympic Standard, Ishihara Runs U20 World Lead - Kanto Regionals Day 1 and 2 Highlights

The 100th edition of Japan's biggest collegiate meet, the Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships kicked off Thursday at Kanagawa's Gion Stadium. Or more exactly it kicked off at the Yomiuriland amusement park closer to Tokyo, where the men's half marathon was held on a closed circuit course inside the park. D1 top three Vincent Raimoi (Kokushikan Univ.), Charles Ndungu (Nihon Univ.) and Paul Onyiego (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) stayed together the entire way until Raimoi pulled away in the last sprint to win in 1:01:13. Ndungu clocked 1:01:14 and Onyiego 1:01:15. 4th-placer Shunsuke Shikama (Juntendo Univ.) just missed, running 1:02:26 for the top Japanese spot with the next four all under 1:03.

The D2 race was just as exciting and almost as deep, Ryo Nishikubo (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) and Kyosuke Hanao (Komazawa Univ.) outkicking Luka Musembi (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.)) and both timed at 1:02:00 but Nishikubo earning the win. Musembi was 3rd in 1:02:01, with another four runners going under 1:03. Although it has yet to be noted on the published results, the course was reported to have been short, roughly 20.8 km.

The D2 men's 10000 m was probably the race of the opening day, as 2021 Hakone Ekiden MVP Vincent Yegon (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) soloed a 27:30.24 PB for the win, going 30 seconds under the old D2 meet record and coming up seconds short of both the Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard and the Kanto Region record. 2nd-placer Philip Mulwa (Soka Univ.) was also under 28 in 27:56.11. With teammate Takuma Ishikawa a DNS after getting arrested the day before the meet, Takumi Karasawa (Komazawa Univ.) ran big for 3rd in 28:05.76. 

A transfer from the Sunbelx corporate team this year, Samson Ndirangu (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) held off a bold move over the last four laps from Shotaro Ishihara (Tokai Univ.) to win the D1 men's 10000 m in 28:01.80. Ishihara, who turned 19 in January two days after winning his Hakone Ekiden stage as a first year, ran 28:05.91 for 2nd, an U20 world-leading time, the second-fastest Japanese U20 and third-fastest Asian U20 mark ever. Longtime leader James Bunuka (Surugadai Univ.) faded after Ishihara's move and settled for 3rd in 28:13.96.

The women's 10000 m was very conservative until the last 1000 m, most of it spent hovering around only 3:30/km. Kaede Okajima (Nittai Univ.) hammered a 3:04 last 1000 m, going close to 60 seconds for the final lap to win in 34:08.73 by just over a second over Nana Matsumoto (Juntendo Univ.) and Mizuho Yamaga (Daito Bunka Univ.).

Stepping away from his specialty to help Juntendo University score team points, brand new 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Ryuji Miura ran a PB of 3:46.29 to lead Thursday's D1 1500 m qualifying round, then won Friday's windy and rainy final with a perfunctory kick over the last 100 m to come home in 3:48.57. Miura is scheduled to run Sunday's 5000 m, skipping out on his main event where he would be almost guaranteed to win easily.

Max Miller-Chimoto (Rikkyo Univ.) won the D2 title in 3:50.65, beating Reo Yamabayashi (Jobu Univ.) won won his qualifying heat in a PB 3:45.88. Risa Yamazaki gave the Nittai University women another win to go along with Okajima's in the 5000 m, winning the 1500 m final in 4:24.19.

In non-distance action, men's 110 m hurdles collegiate record holder Shunsuke Izumiya (Juntendo Univ.) broke his own record with a 13.30 (+0.8 m/s) in his first round heat on Thursday to become the third Japanese man to clear the Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard of 13.32. Friday's strong winds meant fast times in the D1 semis and final, where Izumiya won in 13:05 (+5.2 m/s). Likewise in the D1 men's 100 m final, where Ryota Suzuki (Josai Univ.) won in 10.01 (+5.5 m/s). 

Jun Maekawa (Nittai Univ.) cleared 4.05 m in the D1 women's pole vault, a new meet record by 5 cm. Another meet record came in the D1 women's discus throw, where Maki Saito (Tokyo Joshi Taiiku Univ.) threw 54.56 m. First-year Yu Ishikawa (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) won the D1 women's 100 m final in 11.44 (+5.1 m/s), with Mao Shimano (Nittai Univ.) winning the D1 100 mH final in 13.11 (+4.2 m/s).

The 100th Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships continue Saturday and Sunday at Gion Stadium, with live streaming courtesy of organizers KGRR.

© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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