Three athletes picked up guaranteed spots on the Olympic team in off and on rain on the second day of the National Track and Field Championships and National U20 Track and Field Championships Friday in Osaka. Women's javelin throw national record holder Haruka Kitaguchi scored her place with a 61.49 m final throw for the win, having already broken the Olympic qualifying standard and meeting the JAAF's criterium of a top 3 placing.
That was a tougher job to pull off in the men's 100 m final, where five of the eight men on the starting line had the Olympic standard. The fast-starting Shuhei Tada did his usual thing, out front early with national record holder Ryota Yamagata to his left and the rest of the field just behind. But after years of getting run down in the last 30 m, this time Tada pulled it off. holding his position to win his first national title in 10.15 (+0.2). Yamagata faded and was overtaken by Tokai University's Bruno Dede, who was 2nd in a PB of 10.19. Yamagata held on for 3rd, barely, in 10.27, with the next three runners, Yuki Koike, Yoshihide Kiryu and Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, all within 0.02 of him.
Having the standard, both Tada and Yamagata are now guaranteed for the 100 m at the Olympics. By taking 2nd, Dede complicated the situation as he doesn't have it. Koike is fairly sure to pick up the third spot on the team, higher-ranked than the injured Kiryu and beating him in the final, and both he and Kiryu beating the higher-ranked Sani Brown, who was competing after almost a year and a half away from racing.
Sani Brown and Koike are the two top-ranked men in the 200 m, but the tougher question will be who makes the final lineup for Japan's 4x100 m relay, heavily expected here to medal. Along with everyone in the 100 m, 200 m specialist Shota Iizuka and Doha World Championships anchor Kirara Shiraishi, who is focusing on the 200 m at Nationals, will also be in the mix. It's not quite at the level of the marathon, but Japanese men's sprinting is at the point where there's more than enough talent to fill available spots, and that's helping drive the level of competition further.
In the women's 1500 m, favorites Nozomi Tanaka and Ran Urabe went 1-2, well short of the Olympic standard at 4:08.39 and 4:10.52 but picking up enough placing points to pretty much guarantee Tanaka a place in the 1500 m quota and give Urabe a chance of hanging on to one of the bottom spots. Not so in the men's 1500 m, but it was an exciting race with a close finish among the top five that saw underdogs Kazuki Kawamura, Keisuke Morita and Shoma Funatsu all dip under 3:40 to take down all the big names including NR holder Nanami Arai. Kawamura took the top position in 3:39.18.
In other finals, Misaki Morota won the women's pole vault, clearing 4.20 m on her second attempt. Yuki Yamashita took the men's triple jump title with a 16.12 (+0.5) jump in the fifth round. Mei Kodama won the women's 100 m for the second year in a row, clocking 11.62 (-1.9). Mayu Kobayashi ran a PB 52.86 to win the women's 400 m, with amateur Kaito Kawabata, a full-time schoolteacher, doing the same in the men's 400 m with a 45.76 for the win.
In U20 races, high schooler Moeka Okawara ran a PB 4:18.65 to win the women's 1500. Another high schooler, Judah Hyodo, replicated that in the men's 1500 m with a 3:47.17 PB to take the U20 national title. Koyuki Nagaishi tied the women's 100 m meet record with a PB of 11.65 (-0.8) for the win, a time that would have put her at 3rd in the senior race.
In qualifying rounds, the main news was women's 100 mH NR co-holder Masumi Aoki scratching late with an injury. In her absence her partner in the NR Asuka Terada had no problem making it through the heats and semis to the final, taking her semifinal in an easy 13.06 (+0.2). Ayako Kimura, the first name on the list outside the Olympic quota, saw her chances of making the Olympic team vanish as she finished only 7th in her semi in 13.47 (+0.2). No surprises came in the men's 400 mH heats, with all four of the men who hold the Olympic standard making the final. Waseda University's Hiromu Yamauchi led the qualifiers in 49.52.
Complete results from Day Two are available here. Day One coverage and replay is here. A preview of Day Three and streaming info is here.
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