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Yasushi Sakaguchi Retires as Chugoku Denryoku Head Coach - "I Was Blessed With the Right People for 35 Years"

Yasushi Sakaguchi , who guided the Chugoku Denryoku men's corporate team to the peak of its power as its head coach and later executive head coach, retired from the team at the end of June. Appearing at his final race on June 29, he said, "It all went by in a blur. I was blessed with the right people for 35 years." Sakaguchi helped co-found the Chugoku Denryoku team, working to build the team up from zero and becoming its head coach in 1994. "We started with the basics, and built Chugoku Denryoku up into a well-known powerhouse in athletics," he said. Sakaguchi's coaching style encouraging the independence of his athletes helped produced Olympians, World Championships medalists and national record breakers like Shigeru Aburaya , Tsuyoshi Ogata and Atsushi Sato . In the team's golden era it even won the New Year Ekiden national title. Asked what athletics has meant to him, Sakaguchi answered, "I got to experience the world, and to see it in all its
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93-Year-Old Sprint Legend Hiroo Tanaka After 1:43.02 - "400 m is Hard"

In his first race of the season 93-year-old super veteran runner Hiroo Tanaka showed that he still has what it takes. Tanaka lined up in three events at the Prefectural Sports and Recreation Festival in Aomori. Tanaka trains four days a week most of the time, but this was his first race since November, 2023, an almost 8-month blank. "I'm not confident at all. Especially about the 400 m," he said pre-race. "I'll be trying to break 1:50." But once the starting gun fired, Tanaka's sheer momentum couldn't be stopped. "I just focused on getting to the finish line without worrying about time," he said afterward. "I got there just before I was about to collapse." Despite not thinking about the pace he was running, Tanaka easily cleared his 1:50 goal with a stellar 1:43.02. Other runners gathered round to congratulation the legend of masters athletics. "Thank God it's over, thank God we're done," he said. "400 m is

Midweek Track Roundup

Catching up on track results from the last few days: After skipping the National Championships, men's 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura (Subaru) and 110 mH hurdler Shunsuke Izumiya (Sumitomo Denko) demonstrated fitness at the Paris Diamond League meet. Miura ran a season best 8:10.52 for 7th, with Izumiya 3rd in the final in a 13.16 (-0.6) SB after winning Heat 2 in 13.16 (+0.4). National champion Rachid Muratake (JAL) was a DNS in the final after winning Heat 1 in 13.15 (+0.1). At the last Nittai University Time Trials meet of the season, collegiate 5000 m and 10000 m record holder Richard Etir (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) won the men's 5000 m fast heat in 13:27.48, outrunning Brian Kiptoo (Reitaku Univ.) and Patrick Kamau (Kokushikan Univ.). Reishi Yoshida (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) was the fastest Japanese man in the meet at 13:45.54 for 6th. Kiptoo also soloed a 10000 m, literally, as in the only person in the race, in 29:05.52. Sharon Mwanthi (Yamanashi Gakuin H.S.) won the wome

Kasai, Goto, Kabasawa and Takashima Added to Japan's Olympic Team

With World Athletics' update of its Road to Paris rankings , one male and three female athletes have been added to Japan's team for the Paris Olympics, all in mid/long distance events. Left out are the vertical jumps, with women's pole vault NR holder Misaki Morota and high jumpers Nagisa Takahashi and Naoto Hasegawa missing by one or two places each. Men 100 m Abdul Hakim Sani Brown - 9.97 PB / 9.99 SB Ryuichiro Sakai - 10.02 PB / 10.10 SB Akihiro Higashida - 10.10 PB / 10.14 SB (4x100 m) - Hiroki Yanagita - 10.02 PB / SB (4x100 m) - Yoshihide Kiryu - 9.98 PB / 10.20 SB (4x100 m) - Shota Yamamoto - 10.16 PB / SB -  alternate 200 m Towa Uzawa - 20.23 PB / 20.26 SB Shota Iizuka - 20.11 PB / 20.46 SB Koki Ueyama - 20.26 PB / 20.47 SB 400 m Yuki Joseph Nakajima - 45.04 PB / 45.16 SB Kentaro Sato - 44.77 PB / 45.21 SB Fuga Sato - 44.88 PB / 45.61 PB (4x400 m) - Takuho Yoshizu - 45.57 PB / SB (4x400 m) - Kaito Kawabata - 45.73 PB / 45.77 SB (4x400 m) - Yudai Nishi - 20.43 PB

23-yr-old Yuki Nakamura Breaks Gold Coast Marathon Course Record

23-year-old Yuki Nakamura broke through to the upper levels of Japanese women's marathoning, taking over 6 minutes off her PB to win Australia's Gold Coast Marathon in a course record 2:24:22. Coming into the race with a best of only 2:30:31 from Nagoya in March, the night before the race Nakamura's coaching staff told JRN that her goal was to clear 2:26 and that she'd go with the lead group on 2:24 pace and see what she could do. Helped by a large group of men to break the wind, the pack of five soon shook down to just Nakamura, favorite Visiline Jepkesho of Kenya and 2:26 Ethiopian Sichala Kumeshi . Nakamura looked comfortable and under control, even like she was holding back, through the first 2/3 of the race. A move from Jepkesho before 30 km opened a 10 m gap between the two Africans and Nakamura, but Nakamura worked the small hill just after 31 km to catch back up and even go to the front. From there Nakamura threw in a series of surges, first breaking Kumeshi a

Buchanan and Pompeani Win Gold Coast Half Marathon

  The winner of Tokyo's Year End Half Marathon in 2019,  Andy Buchanan  ran a crafty race to beat four sub-61 Japanese men and the debuting Australian  Isaac Heyne  at the Gold Coast Half Marathon . Smiling most of the way, Heyne led on 2:59/km pace through the turnaround point just before 11 km before Koki Kamata  took over. From there it was a series of turnovers that took the lead group down to just Heyne, favorite Shunsuke Shikama , 2:06 marathoner Daisuke Doi , and Buchanan. All of them made moves in the last 2 km, but Buchanan made the definitive one in the last km, pulling away to win in a PB 1:02:20. After falling slightly behind, Heyne fought back for 2nd in 1:02:22 with Doi getting Shikama on the line for 3rd, both clocking 1:02:25. Four other Japanese men including 2:05 marathoner Kenya Sonota  made the top 10. The women's race started out as a trio with Australians Leanne Pompeani  and Jessica Stenson , and two-time winner  Sara Hall . Hall was the first to drop off

Gold Coast Half Marathon and Marathon Preview

Australia's Gold Coast Half Marathon and Marathon are big draws for Japanese corporate leaguers these days, especially with a big contingent from this year's National Corporate Half Marathon dominating the entry lists in the half. Two-time winner Sara Hall is top-ranked in the women's half with a 1:07:15 from Houston two years ago and will mostly be racing Leanne Pompeani for the win. Beyond that there's a big group at the 1:10 level including Japan's Rinka Hida , Yukari Nagatomo and Moe Shimizu who should all be in it for 3rd. The men's half is dominated by four Japanese men who broke 1:01 at the National Corporate Half in February, meaning that if the weather is decent then the 1:01:16 CR is likely to fall to Shunsuke Shikama , Koki Kamata , Soshi Suzuki or Daisuke Doi . That's a big if, though, with >50% chance of rain and a headwind in the 2nd half that's forecast to get stronger as the race goes along. The favorite for the win and a shot at

JAAF Announces Paris Olympic Team of 34 Men and 17 Women

Following last week's National Track and Field Championships, the JAAF has announced a tentative team of 34 men and 17 women for next month's Paris Olympics. Athletes in italics are within 5 places of their event quota and still have a chance of being added on roll-downs. The final team lineup will be announced next week. Men 100 m  (10.00) Abdul Hakim Sani Brown - 9.97 PB / 9.99 SB Ryuichiro Sakai - 10.02 PB / 10.10 SB Akihiro Higashida - 10.10 PB / 10.14 SB (4x100 m) - Hiroki Yanagita - 10.02 PB / SB (4x100 m) - Yoshihide Kiryu - 9.98 PB / 10.20 SB (4x100 m) - Shota Yamamoto - 10.16 PB / SB -  alternate 200 m  (20.16) Towa Uzawa - 20.23 PB / 20.26 SB Shota Iizuka - 20.11 PB / 20.46 SB Koki Ueyama - 20.26 PB / 20.47 SB 400 m  (45.00) Yuki Joseph Nakajima - 45.04 PB / 45.16 SB Kentaro Sato - 44.77 PB / 45.21 SB Fuga Sato - 44.88 PB / 45.61 PB (4x400 m) - Takuho Yoshizu - 45.57 PB / SB (4x400 m) - Kaito Kawabata - 45.73 PB / 45.77 SB (4x400 m) - Yudai Nishi - 20.43 PB / SB (20