Skip to main content

Blummenfelt Wins Olympic Triathlon, Nener and Odakura Make Top 20

One of the only events to offer the average resident of Tokyo the chance to see Olympians in action with their own eyes, the men's triathlon went off with a snagged start Monday morning in Odaiba, Tokyo. A top 10 finisher in the 5000 m at the 2016 World U20 Championships, Alex Yee (Great Britain) did most of the heavy lifting on the run, reeling in breakaway bike leader Andrea Salvisberg (Switzerland) and shaking the lead group down to a trio with Hayden Wilde (New Zealand), 3rd in the pre-Olympic test event, and Kristian Blummenfelt (Norway), with two-time Olympic medalist Jonathan Brownlee (Great Britain) in tow. 

Late in the last lap Blummenfelt executed the same strategy he did in winning May's WTCS Yokohama,  powering away from both Yee and Wilde and opening a lead of 11 seconds to take gold. Yee claimed silver for his work, making it three-straight Olympics with a British man on the podium, with Wilde another 9 seconds back to take bronze, bringing New Zealand back into the medals for the first time since 2008. Brownlee ended up 5th, run down by one second by Martin van Riel (Belgium).

Further back, Kenji Nener (Japan) had a good start, strong on the swim and moving up to 8th place the bike. Nener, who trains with the Yamanashi Gakuin University men's ekiden team, fell to 14th on the run and came up short of Japan's best-ever Olympic placing of 13th, but ended the race only 11 seconds out of the top 10. and in a photo-finish with 2019 World Champion Vincent Luis (France).

The other Japnaese man in the race, Makoto Odakura was 39 seconds behind Nener in 19th, Japan's 3rd-best placing in the Olympics and making it the first time the country put two men in the top 20. In the lead-up to the pre-pandemic, pre-postponement Tokyo Olympics Japanese men's triathlon looked to be at an inter-generational low point, but with a day like this on home ground in front of an enthusiastic crowd the sport has stepped up a level in a way that's bound to pay off in the coming years.

Tokyo Olympic Games Men's Triathlon

Tokyo, 26 July, 2021

1. Kristian Blummenfelt (Norway) - 1:45:04
2. Alex Yee (Great Britain) - 1:45:15
3. Hayden Wilde (New Zealand) - 1:45:24
4. Marten van Riel (Belgium) - 1:45:52
5. Jonathan Brownlee (Great Britain) - 1:45:53
6. Kevin McDowell (U.S.A.) - 1:45:54
7. Bence Bicsak (Hungary) - 1:45:56
8. Gustav Iden (Norway)- 1:46:00
9. Max Studer (Switzerland) - 1:46:06
10. Mario Mola (Spain) - 1:46:13
14. Kenji Nener (Japan) - 1:46:24
19. Makoto Odakura (Japan) - 1:47:03

text and photos © 2021 Mika Tokairin, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee


Most-Read This Week

Hokkaido's Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. Builds 330 m Greenhouse Indoor Track

Targeting its sixth-straight win at the Oct. 23 Hokkaido Prefecture High School Girls Ekiden, Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. has complete construction of the Asahikawa Ryukoku Indoor Track, at 330 m in length the nation's largest running-specific circuit course entirelyely enclosed in vinyl greenhouse material. The ceremony marking the track's official completion is scheduled for Oct. 28th. In a part of the country known for heavy snowfall, the hope is that Asahikawa Ryukoku's new year-round training ground will help it make the jump to becoming a factor at the national level. The indoor track was built on the 1650 square meter campus of the former Asahikawa Toei H.S., where Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. will relocate next summer. Coated in durable vinyl, the massive white torus of the track stands out from its surroundings. Ranging from 5.4 m to 7.2 m in width, the track's housing is wide enough to accommodate four lanes. In the future, two lanes will be covered with artificial turf

Meiji University Wins Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Half Marathon

After a surprise finish outside the top 10 at this year's Hakone Ekiden, Meiji University  was back to do the expected, winning the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon qualifier Saturday in Tachikawa, Tokyo by over 4 minutes. In windy conditions things went out slowly up front, the lead group of 6 Kenyans hitting the first km in only 3:01. Last year's winner Joseph Lemeteki Razini  (Takushoku Univ.) made a push to get things into gear and Vincent Raimoi (Kokushikan Univ.), James Bunuka  (Surugadai Univ.), Charles Kamau Wanjiku  (Musashino Gakuin Univ.) and Paul Onyiego  (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) all took turns leading, but it wasn't until 14 km for Wanjiku to make a serous move. Running the rest of the way unchallenged, he took 1st in 1:01:23, more than a minute slower than Razini's winning time last year. The only two people in the front group not to take the lead at some point, Samson Ndirangu (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) and Noah Kiplimo  (Nihon Yakka Univ.) were 2nd an

Championship Ekiden Qualification Weekend

Championship ekiden season is on the way, and this weekend two of the main events will hold their official qualification races. Saturday in Tokyo's western suburb of Tachikawa is the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon, a chance for collegiate men to be on the starting line of the world's #1 race this coming January. 10 universities are already qualified for the Hakone Ekiden by having finished in the top 10 at this year's race, and at the Yosenkai another 10 will join them. 41 universities from the greater Tokyo area will run from 10 to 12 men each and are scored on the total time of their first 10 finishers. The fastest 10 teams go on to Hakone, pure and simple. Top individuals from teams that don't qualify will also be named to a select team, as long as they're Japanese citizens, to fill out Hakone's field of 21. NTV will broadcast the race and its tense qualifier announcement ceremony live starting at 9:25 a.m. Saturday local time, with official streami