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Showing posts from October, 2019

IAAF Proposes Holding Sapporo Olympic Men's and Women's Marathons on Same Day

On Oct. 30 it was learned that based on the premise of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathons and race walks being moved to Sapporo as a safeguard against hot temperatures, the IAAF and other involved parties have proposed two plans to compress the five events into three days. Both plans call for the men's and women's marathons to be held the same day. In the first plan the men's and women's 20 km race walks would be held Aug. 7, with the men's 50 km race walk held Aug. 8. Originally scheduled for Aug. 2, the women's marathon would be held the same day as the men's marathon on Aug. 9. In the second plan, the five events would be held either July 27 to 29 or 28 to 30. The men's and women's marathons would be held the same day, but which day they would be held has not been specified. Under this plan the road events would take place prior to the start of track and field competition at Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium on July 31, making it possible to av

JAAF Names Team of Six for 17th Asian Marathon Championships

On Oct. 30 the JAAF announced a team of three men and three women for the Asian Athletics Association's 17th Asian Marathon Championships to be held Dec. 22 in Dongguan, China. Times listed are athletes' best performances in the last three years. Men Daichi Kamino (Cell Source) - 2:10:18 (Tokyo 2018) Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:26 (Nobeoka 2019) Koki Tanaka (Kanebo) - 2:13:36 (Hokkaido 2019) Women Mao Uesugi (Starts) - 2:28:02 (Nagoya 2019) Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo) - 2:29:35 (Saitama 2018) Mirai Waku (Universal Entertainment) - 2:33:37 (Nagoya 2019) © 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

2020 National Championships 10000 m to be Held Separately at New Olympic Stadium Next May

A source with the JAAF revealed on Oct. 28 that the organization plans to hold the men's and women's 10000 m National Championships races at Tokyo's New Olympic Stadium. The two races will be staged May 9 the day before the Seiko Golden Grand Prix meet. The rest of the 2020 National Championships will take place June 25 through 28 at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. As at this year's Nationals, the 10000 m will be held earlier in order to give athletes the maximum opportunity to perform well in both it and the 5000 m. It is hoped that the opportunity to race in the Olympic Stadium will provide valuable experience that will help athletes deliver their best in the Olympic main event itself. source article: translated by Brett Larner photo © 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Meijo University Wins Third-Straight National University Women's Ekiden Title

The National University Women's Ekiden Championships took place Oct. 27 in Sendai, covering a six-stage, 38.1 km course from Koshin Gomu Athlete Park field to Sendai City Hall. Meijo University ran 2:04:34 to better the field by almost three minutes for its third-straight national title. Daito Bunka University was 2nd behind Meijo for the third year in a row, with ten-time national champ Ritsumeikan University taking 3rd. 4th-place Matsuyama University through 8th-place Kansai University joined the top three in earning guaranteed places at the 2020 National Championships. Meijo started slow, sitting 9th after the opening stage, but its second runner Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu passed eight people to move the defending national champs into 1st. From there to the finish Meijo held on to the lead despite a serious mid-race challenge from Daito Bunka. A stage win from Daito Bunka's third runner Yuka Suzuki brought them within 3 seconds of Meijo, but while fourth runner Yuk

Kisaisa and Tokyo Kokusai Dominate 2020 Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is one of the best races on the calendar in Japan or anywhere else, 43 Tokyo-area university men's teams of 10 to 12 runners each racing a half marathon head-to-head in hopes of becoming one of the lucky 10 teams to join the field for the 2020 Hakone Ekiden. Tens of thousands of alumni, fans, and school marching bands aligned under the crisp autumn skies of suburban parkland, all united in anticipation of that single moment when the announcer calls out the name of the final team to make the cut. In the only race of its kind on the university circuit, teams are scored on the aggregate time of their first 10 finishers, with the 10 fastest going on to January's main event. In warm and sunny conditions that seemed to hold times back by about a minute, Ledama Kisaisa (Obirin Univ.) led the way in 1:01:01 to become the first man in 18 years to win the Yosenkai 3 years in a row. After setting a 1:00:44 course record last year Kisaisa sought to become th

Kipkirui and Mwangi Break Takashimadaira Course Records

With the shift of the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifying race to the half marathon distance last year the Takashimadaira Road Race, a fall classic on the Tokyo race calendar, is the last elite-level 20 km left in Japan. Run on a perfectly-flat 5 km loop in Tokyo's northern suburbs, Takashimadaira features 5 km, 10 km and 20 km divisions and tends to attract a mix of some of the better Hakone teams and second-tier corporate teams. The main event, the men's 20 km, typically sees winning times under 60 or even under 59 minutes. This year it was down somewhat, with Koki Yamane of Hakone 5th-placer Teikyo University edging Hakone champ Tokai University 's Tomoya Hada for the win 1:00:34 to 1:00:56. The unattached Kyoko Matsumoto won the women's 20 km in 1:13:31. The 10 km seemed to be the bigger draw this year. The men's race is typically dominated by the Tokyo Police Department 's corporate team, but this year runners from a half dozen other teams fought th

Sekisui Kagaku Wins Princess Ekiden

The qualifying race for the Nov. 24 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships took place Oct. 20 in the town of Munakata, Fukuoka. Covering 42.195 km in six stages, in its fifth running the Princess Ekiden hosted 28 teams competing for the 14 qualifying spots on offer. Sekisui Kagaku took 1st among them in 2:19:36, holding off runner-up Kyudenko by 16 seconds with 3rd-placer Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo  another 4 seconds behind. 7th-place Hitachi qualified for Nationals for the first time in 3 years, and 14th-place Uniqlo made it in for the first time in 4 years, while Kagoshima Ginko was the unlucky 15th-place team, just 33 seconds short of qualifying. Two new stage records were set, Kaede Hagitani (Edion) running a new record of 22:28 for the 7.0 km First Stage and marathoner Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) running 34:42 for the 10.4 km Fourth Stage a month after a DNF at the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials. Princess Ekiden National Corporate Women's Ekid

Highlights From the Inaugural Denka Athletics Challenge Cup

Saturday saw the newest addition to Japan's top-level track circuit with the first edition of the Denka Athletics Challenge Cup in Niigata. Held in one of Japan's biggest stadiums, the 50,000-capacity Denka Big Swan Stadium, the meet was organized by the local Niigata Albirex RC corporate team and conceived of as a chance for people to get in early marks ahead of next year's pre-Tokyo Olympics buildup and for those who might have missed the Doha World Championships earlier this month to get in season-peak performances to do the same. Despite good weather in days before and after the meet, unlucky rain on the day of the meet meant performances mostly fell short of the hoped-for levels. That didn't stop some quality names domestic and international from taking part. The biggest name among them was Doha women's 800 m gold medalist Halimah Nakaayi (Uganda), who easily held off top Japanese collegian Ayano Shiomi (Ritsumeikan Univ.) for the win in 2:04.73 at th

Hakone Ekiden Universities Struggle With Flood Damage to Home Tracks

Big Three University Ekiden season kicked off Oct. 14 with the six-stage, 45.1 km Izumo Ekiden in Shimane. Among the teams competing was Chuo Gakuin University , making its tenth appearance at Izumo. Just days before the race its home track and training ground in Abiko, Chiba was flooded in the aftereffects of Typhoon #19. Having just been renovated and resurfaced in August, the Chuo Gakuin track now sits under 4 m of water. Head coach Yuji Kawasaki , 57, commented somberly, "It's going to be out of commission for the rest of the year. I have to give the question of where we can do our speed work some serious thought." Normally the start of ekiden season is marked by excitement and optimism, but across the Kanto Region university coaches and athletes shared Kawasaki's weighty tone. Few, though, were impacted as hard as Chuo Gakuin as it prepares for a return trip to Hakone. Immediately after the typhoon on Oct. 12 conditions at Chuo Gakuin's track facility we

Local Unemployed Man Arrested For Stealing 330,000 Yen of Team's Money at Izumo Ekiden Alternates' Race

On October 14 Shimane prefectural police arrested local unemployed man Yudai Kawai , 32, on suspicion of stealing 329,000 yen [~$3000 USD] from university students' bags at the Izumo Ekiden alternates' race track 5000 m. The alleged incident took place at approximately 5:10 p.m. on Oct. 14 at Hamayama Park Field in Izumo. Kawai was accused of entering a room off-limits to the general public, opening the bags  of two student managers for a private Tokyo-area university's ekiden team, and taking the money from their wallets. According to police, Kawai entered the room during the track race when the room was unlocked and unwatched. While putting the empty wallets back in the bags Kawai was caught in the act by one team's head coach who happened to return to the room at that time. Students who were entered in the Izumo Ekiden as alternates but did not run had the option of taking part in the track 5000 m. source article:

5th-Ranked Koku Gakuin Pulls Off Last Km Upset to Win First-Ever Izumo Ekiden Title

In the modern era of systematic mass-production of quality by dominant teams like Tokai University and Aoyama Gakuin University it has been years since an underdog came through with a surprise win on Japan's university men's ekiden circuit, but that's just what happened at today's Izumo Ekiden to kick off the 2019-20 Big Three University Ekiden season. The race was expected to be between defending champ Tokai and Buddhist powerhouse Komazawa University , with threats from AGU and fan favorites Toyo University . Like last year Tokai struggled a bit to get on its feet, lagging as a core leading quartet coalesced over the first half of the race's six stages. Running better than expected, #5-ranked Koku Gakuin University was right up in it along with AGU, Komazawa and Toyo, its second and third men Taiga Nakanishi and Yuhei Urano taking 3rd on their stages and Urano one of six men on the Third Stage to break its course record. The leading quartet broke up i

Chicago Marathon Japanese Results

After moving up to the top ranks of amateur Japanese women's marathoning with a 2:36:37 PB at this year's Tokyo Marathon, club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto) took another big step with a 2:33:16 PB for 14th at the Chicago Marathon . Running almost perfectly evenly, her first 5 km 18:11 and none after that faster than 17:49 or slower than 18:17, Kaneshige managed a slight negative split with a 1:16:46 first half and 1:16:30 second half. Just short of rival club runner Haruka Yamaguchi 's 2:33:09 PB in Sydney last month, with that kind of control Kaneshige looks to have plenty more room for growth. On the men's side, four Japanese men, Minato Oishi (Toyota), Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota), Ryoma Takeuchi (Hitachi Butsuryu) and Yuta Takahashi (Otsuka Seiyaku), went out in the second pack with the main leading group of American men. The fastest Japanese half marathoner so far this year, Oishi was almost as steady as Kaneshige the entire way as he opened with a 15:

Hakone Champ Tokai University the Heavy Favorite at Izumo Ekiden

University men's ekiden season kicks off Monday with the Izumo Ekiden , the first race in the three-month buildup to January's Hakone Ekiden main event. Last year four-time Hakone champ Aoyama Gakuin University outran up-and-coming Tokai University at both Izumo and November's National University Ekiden but fell short of stopping Tokai at Hakone. This year AGU is significantly down on strength, while Tokai is stronger than ever. But while Tokai is the clear favorite, it's got a serious challenge coming from at least one, maybe two familiar faces. The average stage length for Izumo's six stages is about 7.5 km, requiring a balance between 5000 m and 10000 m skills. Despite missing captain Ryoji Tatezawa Tokai leads the way in both departments, its top six 5000 m average of 13:47.22 the fastest among the seven schools with sub-14 minute averages and its 10000 m average of 28:39.35 likewise leading the way among the six sub-29 programs. Half marathon credentia

JAAF Vows to Improve National Team Selection Procedure After Ushiro Debacle

With regard to the issue of decathlon Asian Champion Keisuke Ushiro (33, Kokushikan Club) having been denied entry into the World Championships by the IAAF just before the Championships' start after having been told he would be on the Japanese team nearly three months earlier by the JAAF, at its current executive board meeting the JAAF established that in the future it will include the original text of the IAAF's qualification procedures along with the Japanese translation it makes available to Japanese athletes. JAAF chair Kazunori Asaba commented, "We want to improve our system so that athletes, coaches and managers can better understand the selection process." source article: translated by Brett Larner

JAAF Sets Tokyo Olympics Medal Bonuses at Same Level as for Rio

At an executive meeting in Tokyo on Oct. 10, the JAAF set the amounts for medals and top eight finishes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. A gold medal will earn 20 million yen [~$185,000 USD] , a silver medal 10 million yen and a bronze medal 800,000 yen. 4th-place finishes will be worth 300,000 yen, with 5th or 6th-place finishes worth 200,000 yen and 7th or 8th-place finishes 100,000 yen. The amounts are the same as awarded for performances at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. All members of relay teams will be eligible for bonuses including those who only run in qualifying rounds or the final, with the bonuses to be paid out at half the above amounts. In the unlikely event that an athlete earning a bonus is disqualified due to a doping violation or other reason, they will be liable to repay the entire amount. source article: translated and edited by Brett Larner

Hironaka Wins National Sports Festival 5000 m

The thirteen events of the 74th National Sports Festival track and field competition took place Oct. 4th through 8th in Ibaraki prefecture. Representing Tokyo, Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) won the senior women's 5000 m in 15:34.38. In the race, the pace stayed slow through 3000 m. Hironaka held back around the 3rd-place and 4th-place position before surging at that point, covering the remaining 2000 m in six minutes flat. "I ran exactly the way I'd envisioned," she said with the same kind of enthusiastic smile she had in high school. Hironaka still wore the Nagasaki uniform when she was the top Japanese woman and 3rd overall in the junior women's 3000 m last year. She joined the Tokyo-based Japan Post team after graduating from Nagasaki Shogyo H.S. this spring, finishing 3rd in the National Championships 5000 m. Her assertive win here capped a successful track season. She had thought about running in the Nagasaki uniform again this time, but, she said, "

Saku Chosei and Osaka Kunei Win Season-Opening High School Ekidens

The high school season-opening Nihonkai Ekiden and Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden took place Oct. 6 in Kurayoshi, Tottori. A total of 226 high school teams took part in the two events, both of which delivered heated battles. In the boys' race, the 39th edition of the Nihonkai Ekiden covering 42.195 km in seven stages starting and finishing at Kurayoshi Municipal Field, Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. emerged victorious for the second time with a time of 2:04:40 after taking control on the opening stage. After getting off to a weak start, Sera H.S. took 2nd, with Toyokawa H.S. 3rd after briefly leading mid-race. The top team from Hyogo prefecture, Suma Gakuen H.S. was 6th in 2:06:43, with rivals Hotoku H.S. 8th in 2:07:02 and Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. 10th in 2:07:41. Held the same day, the girls competed in the 34th running of the 21.0975 km Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden, likewise starting and finishing at Kurayoshi Municipal Field. Defending champion team Osaka Kunei Joshi G

Doha World Championships Day Nine Japanese Results

Tweaking its lineup to replace the ailing Yuki Koike with fast starter Shuhei Tada , the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team pulled off a bronze medal on the second-to-last day of the Doha World Championships. In a fast race that saw the top four teams set national and area records, Japan ran an Asian record 37.43 for 3rd behind winner U.S.A. in 37.10 and 2nd-place Great Britain in 37.36, a shot of confidence ahead of next summer's Tokyo Olympics where the 4x100 will be one of the country's best chances of medaling. Along with its pair of men's race walk gold medals the team's bronze brought Japan's medal count to three for the Championships. After running an 11-second PB to move up to all-time Japanese #3 in the women's 5000 m heats, Nozomi Tanaka improved again with a 15:00.01 in the final to advance to all-time #2. With the race going out well below Japanese national record pace Tanaka was just hanging on the entire time, part of the first group to

Doha World Championships Day Eight Japanese Results

Following up on Yusuke Suzuki 's win in the 50 km, Japan scored its second race walk gold with another win in the 20 km by Toshikazu Yamanishi . Where Suzuki led start-to-finish, Yamanishi waited 5 km before making a bold move to open a 17-second lead over Sweden's Perseus Karlstrom . From there he was never really under threat, Karlstrom and others shaving a few seconds off his lead but dropping back again over the final lap. In the end Yamanishi won by 15 seconds in 1:26:34, with Russian Vasiliy Mizinov overtaking Karlstrom for silver. Koki Ikeda made the top 8 with a 6th-place finish in 1:29:02, with Eiki Takahashi 10th in 1:30:04. The race walks may well end up being Japan's best shot at a medal next year in Tokyo, but there's no question that along with the men's marathon the event the home crowd will be cheering for the hardest is the men's 4x100 m relay. Running a new lineup of Yuki Koike , Kirara Shiraishi , Yoshihide Kiryu and Abdul Hakim Sani B

Doha World Championships Day Seven Japanese Results

A last-minute addition to the Japanese national team after days of confusion surrounding his qualification for the Doha World Championships, Asian decathlon champion Keisuke Ushiro was the only Japanese athlete in action on the seventh day of Championships competition. Leading the day off with his best two events, the 110 m hurdles and discus throw, the bottom-ranked Ushiro turned in a credible 16th-place overall placing that justified his presence in Doha. Doha World Athletics Championships Day Seven Japanese Results Doha, Qatar, 3 Oct. 2019 complete results Finals Men's Decathlon 1. Niklas Kaul (Germany) - 8691 2. Maicel Uibo (Estonia) - 8604 - PB 3. Damian Warner (Canada) - 8529 ----- 16. Keisuke Ushiro (Japan) - 7565 © 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Doha World Championships Day Six Japanese Results

2018 World U20 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka delivered the top Japanese performance on the sixth day of the Doha World Championships. Running the first of two heats in the women's 5000 m, Tanaka started close to PB pace and hung as the pack got faster and faster. Only faltering in the last two laps when the top four women took off, Tanaka held off Canada's Andrea Seccafien and South Africa's Dominique Scott to take 6th, qualifying for the final on time with an 11-second PB and all-time Japanese #3 time of 15:04.66. Post-race she told Japanese media, "I was just hanging on to the back of the pack. In the final I want to run a race I can enjoy." In the second heat, national champion Tomoka Kimura hung with the early slow pace but soon dropped back to finish last in 15:53.08. Her Shiseido teammate Melissa Duncan of Australia took 9th in 15:37.37 but fell short of qualifying for the final. After running a PB of 45.14 in the first round of

Doha World Championships Day Five Japanese Results

All three of Japan's men in the Doha World Championships high jump washed out in the qualification round on Day Five. Domestic hopes were high for world ranked #1 Naoto Tobe , but clearing only 2.26 m he took 7th in his group to miss the cut. Teammates Ryo Sato and Takashi Eto were farther off their best, clearing only 2.22 m and 2.17 m respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, Julian Walsh ran a PB 45.14 to make the semi-finals in the men's 400 m, 2nd in his heat behind the great Kirani James . His time put him at all-time Japanese #4, but Walsh will need to improve on it further to have a shot at making the final tomorrow. Doha World Athletics Championships Day Five Japanese Results Doha, Qatar, 1 Oct. 2019 complete results Qualifying Rounds Men's 400 m Heat 2 1. Kirani James (Grenada) - 44.94 - Q 2. Julian Walsh (Japan) - 45.14 - Q, PB 3. Vernon Norwood (U.S.A.) - 45.59 - Q 4. Steven Solomon (Australia) - 45.82 - q 5. Derrick Mokaleng (South Af