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19-Year-Old Ryuji Miura Breaks 3000m Steeplechase NR to Kick Off Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day One

Juntendo University 2nd-year Ryuji Miura  is the most exciting thing to have appeared on the Japanese scene in the last year, seeming to come from our of nowhere to just miss the 3000 m steeplechase NR last summer at age 18, breaking Suguru Osako 's U20 half marathon national record last fall, and then rewriting the 3000 m SC NR twice since turning 19 in February this year. In his first real race against international competition Miura kicked off track and field action at the Tokyo Olympics by taking 6 seconds off his own 3000 mSC NR to finish 2nd in the opening heat in 8:09.92. Miura's time was fast enough to have medaled at all but two past Olympics and auto-qualifying him for what looks to be a very fast final, making him the first Japanese man to make an Olympic steeple final since 1972 Miura was calm and relaxed throughout the race, staying in the top 5 the whole way and moving to the front when he needed to. Over the last lap he challenged 2019 Doha World Championships

Suspicious Fires Reported Along Olympic Marathon Course

A fire was discovered in Sapporo's Odori Park, start and finish point of the Tokyo Olympics women's and men's marathons. Smoke was seen coming from a stump in the park. Three days ago, another stump was found burning suspiciously in Nakajima Park near the marathon course's southernmost point.  Police received a call reporting the burning stump at around 10:00 a.m. on July 29. One of the people who helped put the fire out said, "The smoke was heavy and the fire wouldn't go out even when we poured water on it." Afterward the stump, located behind a public restroom in the Odori Park, appeared charred and blackened.  Several cigarette butts were found at the site, which is to host the Tokyo Olympic Games marathons on Aug. 7 and 8. On the evening of July 26 the other suspicious fire occurred outside the Hokkaido Prefectural Museum of Literature along the marathon course in Nakajima Park. A tree stump next to the sidewalk in front of the museum was found to be b

Japanese Athletes to Watch at Tokyo Olympics

As of right now, five days into the Tokyo Olympic Games , Japan leads the medal standings with 13 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze medals. Across sports Japanese athletes have been performing at the top level, showing both the benefits of increased investment in development over the last eight years since Japan won the 2020 Olympic bid and the home ground advantage. Track and field starts tomorrow, and while compared to some other sports it's one of Japan's weaker spots, it has a realistic shot at six medals with another eleven top 8 finishes in range. Your guide to who to watch for from the home team on the track, field and roads. Medal Chances Back when Japan first competed in the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912 it had exactly two athletes on its entire team, one marathoner and one sprinter. 109 years later not much has changed. Distance and sprints are still Japan's best chances of medaling, the race walks taking the place of the marathon, and the 4x100 m relay one of the most

Duffy Wins Olympic Women's Triathlon, Takahashi 18th

In contrast to hot and sunny conditions at yesterday's men's triathlon , the Tokyo Olympics women's triathlon went off Tuesday morning as the southern edge of a passing typhoon skirted the Tokyo area. Great Britain's Jessica Learmonth  led an initial breakaway group of seven through the swim and was in it through the bike. American Katie Zaferes  took over the front group shook down to just her, Learmonth, German Laura Lindemann  and Bermuda's Flora Duffy .  Duffy hammered the run, covering it in 33:00 and opening a lead of over a minute to take gold in 1:55:36, the first Olympic triathlon medal female or male for Bermuda. Zaferes dropped the others in the front group to move into 2nd, but on the third lap she was caught by Great Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown , one of the people to have dropped back from the leaders on the bike. On the final lap Taylor-Brown broke away from Zaferes to take silver in 1:56:50. Zaferes held on to bronze in 1:57:03. Japan's Nii

'The Hottest Ticket in Tokyo? Olympic Triathlon'

https://www.triathlete.com/events/olympics/the-hottest-ticket-in-tokyo-olympic-triathlon/ Another story for Triathlete magazine by JRN's Mika Tokairin  and Brett Larner , this one on the fans who turned out to watch the Olympic men's marathon despite Tokyo's state of emergency and the authorities asking them to leave. photo © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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

'Tokyo 2020: A Sequel Nowhere Close to "Original" Olympic Games of 1964'

https://indianexpress.com/article/olympics/tokyo-2020-sequel-nowhere-close-original-olympic-games-1964-7417355/lite/ A story in the Indian Express about my 83-rear-old father-in-law Akira Tokairin , who was at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, 1972 Sapporo Olympics and 1998 Nagano Olympics and who had tickets for track and field for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Photo above: Tokairin jumping in late '50s or early '60s.

February's Marugame Half Plans to Go Ahead With Reduced Field Size, No International Competitors

On July 19 the organizers of the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon made the decision to move forward with the event's 75th edition, postponed one year to next Feb. 5-6 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a field reduced in size by 30%. Conditions the organizers established for the event to take place included there being no state of emergency declared for Kagawa prefecture at that time. At another meeting the same day at Marugame city hall, the committee met to discuss guidelines for implementing the event. Along with an obligation to meet the JAAF's pandemic road race guidelines, the organizers and city took into account the prefectural government's alert level system, stipulating that conditions must be within the 3rd through 6th level of the prefecture's six-level risk categorization. The organizers also limited participation to residents of Japan.  The field will be limited to 7,000 runners, a reduction of 30% from its usual size, with the 3 km and elem

'The Distance'

A new documentary about Naoko Takahashi , Olympic gold medalist and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon.

Five National Records in Chitose Bring Hokuren Distance Challenge to an End

The 2021 Hokuren Distance Challenge series wrapped up Saturday in Chitose with a big day for Japanese middle distance. Hiroki Minamoto  (Kantai Heiyo Univ.) started things off with a 1:45.75 to win the men's 800 m, exactly tying the national and collegiate records. The holder of both records, Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki), was 2nd in 1:45.83, with Mikuto Kaneko  (Chuo Univ.) right there in 1:45.85 to come in at 3rd in the race and the all-time JPN lists. Kazuki Kawamura  (Toenec) kept it going in the men's 1500 m, taking over 1.5 sec off Nanami Arai 's 7-week-old NR in 3:35.42. U18 NR holder Keita Sato (Rakunan H.S.) was 2nd in 3:37.18, breaking the U20, U18 and H.S. national records and moving up to all-time JPN #3.  Tokyo Olympics 5000 m team member Yuta Bando  (Fujitsu) was 3rd in 3:37.99, good for all-time JPN #6, with his teammate in both Fujitsu and the Olympic 5000 m Hiroki Matsueda  last in 3:52.01. Although they're listed as DNS in the official results, both Bando a

'On The Ground At The Games That Almost Didn’t Happen'

https://www.triathlete.com/events/olympics/on-the-ground-at-the-games-that-almost-didnt-happen/ An article I wrote for Triathlete magazine.

Olympic Steeplers Miura and Aoki Run 5000 m PBs in Kitami

Meet 4 of 5 in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place Wednesday in Kitami, Hokkaido. The men's 5000 m A-heat was the race of the day, with Tokyo 2020 steeplechase squad members Ryuji Miura  (Juntendo Univ.) and Ryoma Aoki  (Honda) going 1-2 in PBs of 13:26.78 and 13:32.31. Still just 19, Miura moved up to all-time Japanese U20 #2 less than a second behind record holder and rival Yamato Yoshii 's record of 13:25.87. Another steepler, although not part of the Olympic team, Yasunari Kusu  (Ami AC) ran a PB of 13:48.40 to win the 5000 m B-heat. Three women went under 15:20 in the women's 5000 m A-heat, Kenyans  Agnes Mwikali  (Kyocera) and Tabitha Njeri Kamau  (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) getting the top spots in 15:15.82 and 15:16.73 and planned Olympic doubler Nozomi Tanaka  (Toyota Jidoshokki) 3rd in 15:17.93. Paralympic team member Misato Michishita  (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) was off the time she ran on Saturday in Abashiri but still picked up the win in th

Two Major Autumn High School Ekidens Canceled

In order to ensure the safety and well-being of the athletes, officials, and local residents, the 36th Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden and 41st Nihonkai Men's Ekiden , both major high school races scheduled for Oct. 3 in Kurayoshi, Tottori, have been canceled. We the organizing committee sincerely apologize to all the athletes and their supporters who had been looking forward to racing in Kurayoshi, but we ask for your understanding of the situation. source article: https://www.city.kurayoshi.lg.jp/gyousei/div/kyouiku/gakushu/sports/r163/ translated and edited by Brett Larner

Mountain Runner Ruy Ueda Becomes First Asian to Win Skyrunning World Championships - "I'm Happy to Leave My Name in the History Books"

The Skyrunning World Championships took place July 9th to 11th in Barruera, Spain. Ruy Ueda , a native of Omachi, Nagano, won the overall title, making him the sport's first Asian world champion.  Ueda placed 1st in the Vertical Kilometer division on the championships' opening day, covering 3.3 km course with 1000 m of elevation in 35:06. That made him the first runner from Asia to win an individual division at the Skyrunning World Championships. Two days later he followed up with a 3rd-place finish in the Sky division , covering the mountainous 42 km course in 4:10:51. Combining his scores from the two races, Ueda was named winner of the overall World Championships title. In an interview with NBS Ueda was ecstatic, saying, "I'm really happy to leave my name in the Skyrunning history books." As the 2019 Skyrunning World Series champion, Ueda called his win in the Vertical Kilometer division "valuable. Ueda put more focus into the Sky race, but even though t

100 College Students Race Train to Celebrate Line's 100th Anniversary

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Ueda Dentetsu Bessho train line in Nagano, 100 local college students raced the train in ekiden style. Following the train line's route, the ekiden was planned by students at Nagano University, located on the Bessho Line, as a celebration of the line's history.  The race began at 4:00 p.m. Friday, with the train and student team starting simultaneously at Ueda Station. Running as a 100-runner relay, the students attempted to beat the train to its terminus, Bessho Onsen Station 11 km away. The student team fell behind in the early going, but as the train stopped at each of the 13 stations along its line they made up ground and ultimately made it to the finish line at Bessho Onsen just seconds ahead of the train.  Kenta Imanishi  of the Bessho Onsen Ekiden Organizing Committee commented, "The 100th anniversary is a one-time deal, but we hope to keep doing other activities so that people can learn more about the

Kobayashi Breaks Collegiate Women's 10000 m Record - Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Highlights

Meet 3 of 5 in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series happened Saturday in Abashiri, Hokkaido. The biggest news came in the women's 10000 m , where 2021 National University Half Marathon champion Narumi Kobayashi  (Meijo Univ.) broke the 11-year-old collegiate women's national record and cleared the qualifying time for next year's World Championships. Running with excellent pacing by  Pauline Kamulu  (Route Inn Hotels), Kobayashi split 15:44 at 5000 m before picking it up in the second half to win in 31:22.34. Ai Hosoda  (Edion) hung with Kobayashi as long as she could but ended up 2nd in 31:39.32, with amateur club runner Haruka Yamaguchi  (AC Kita) taking 15 seconds off her two month-old PB for 3rd in 32:09.44. James Muoki  (Konica Minolta) won the men's 10000 m A-heat in 27:35.59. Muiru Muthoni  (JR Higashi Nihon) was the only other man under 28 minutes at 27:52.93, Kazuya Nishiyama  (Toyota) fading to 28:08.36 after Yuki Sato (SGH Group) abruptly drop

Ruy Ueda Wins Skyrunning World Championships Vertical Kilometer

by DogsorCaravan.com Even after the sport came to a standstill for a year, Japan's Ruy Ueda  has continued his climb up the ranks. The Skyrunning World Championships kicked off July 9 in Catalunya, Spain, as part of the BUFF Mountain Festival. Going head to head with Europe's best, Ueda crowned the first day of the Championships by winning the vertical kilometer race. It was his first individual world title since being named the 2019 Syrunner World Series champion, and he aims to make it a double crown in Sunday's Sky Race. The vertical race at this year's World Championships climbs 1000 m over a 2.8 km course from town of Barruera. Immediately going to the front of the field of 33, Ueda had a 7-second lead by the 2.2 km checkpoint after 481 m of climb. He held his lead from there, crossing the finish line in 35:06 to claim the world title. In 2016 he was 10th on the same course in 36:27 at that year's World Championships. 32 seconds back in 2nd was Spain's Dani

All Olympic Events Within Metropolitan Tokyo to be Held Without Spectators

The IOC, IPC, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Organizing Committee and the National Government held a top-level meeting at 20:00. on July 8 to discuss the issue of spectators at the Tokyo Olympics. It was learned that they have made the decision that all Olympic events within metropolitan Tokyo will be held without spectators.  Following the announcement that a fourth state of emergency will be declared in Tokyo on July 12, the five parties agreed that barring spectators from all events within the city was the prudent move to take to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Multiple sources involved in the discussions confirmed the decision. The issue of spectators at events held at venues outside of Tokyo will be discussed later in a meeting with the relevant local governments. In addition, a decision on the maximum attendance for Paralympic events, scheduled to be made by July 16, was bumped back until after the conclusion of the Olympics in order to better evaluate the situation wit

Ndirangu Leads Six under 28 - Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet Highlights

The second meet in the 2021 Hokuren Distance Challenge series happened Wednesday in Fukagawa, Hokkaido. The race of the day was the men's 10000 m A-heat , where 2021 Hakone Ekiden MVP Vincento Yegon  (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) lead a pack of seven through 9000 m just sub-28 pace. Newcomer Samson Ndirangu  (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) threw it down with 1000 m, breaking up the pack as he pulled away for the win in 27:43.58. Yegon faded to 4th in 27:50.66, with Naoki Koyama  (Honda) next across the line in 27:55.16, the only Japanese man of the day to break 28 minutes. 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Taku Fujimoto  (Toyota) came up just short, 7th in a 6-second PB of 28:02.54. After barely missing out on a place on the unexpectedly competitive Japanese men's 3000 mSC squad for the Tokyo Olympics, steepler Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) was quick to turn around the disappointment with a 5-second PB of 28:11.09 to win the 10000 m B-heat . Riki Nakanishi  (Toenec) won the C-heat , wi

Organizers Back Hokkaido Governor's Call for People Not to Come Watch Sapporo Olympic Marathon and Walks

At a July 6 meeting, the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games backed Hokkaido governor Naomichi Suzuki 's call last week for people to voluntarily refrain from coming to watch the Olympic marathon and race walk events in Sapporo next month. The requested is intended to reduce the risk of virus transmission by minimizing the number of people coming and going in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The Olympic women's marathon takes place Aug. 7 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., with the men's marathon on Aug. 8 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. The men's 20 km race walk runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6:05 p.m. on Aug. 5, with the men's 50 km walk on Aug. 6 from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and the women's 20 km walk from 4:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Aug. 7. source article: https://hochi.news/articles/20210706-OHT1T51160.html translated and edited by Brett Larner

Weekend Track Roundup (updated)

The first meet in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge  in Hokkaido was the main meet of the weekend, but there was more action near Tokyo than in a normal year too as organizers sought to keep the number of people in one location down. At the HDC Shibetsu Meet the men's 3000 m was the highlight, with Yohei Ikeda  (Kanebo) winning in 7:56.10 to lead the top eight under eight minutes. Even just five years ago it was rare to see more than one Japanese man break eight in an entire year, a sign of how much things have changed in both shoes and priorities.  Titus Wambua  (SID Group) ran 13:22.49 for 1st in the men's 5000 m A-heat, Kenyans sweeping the top four spots. In 5th Kotaro Kondo  set a new school record for ekiden power Aoyama Gakuin University , running 13:34.88.  34-year-old Yuki Sato  (SGH Group) was 6th in 13:35.74, bettering the time he ran at Nationals less than two weeks ago by 3 seconds. Women's results in Shibetsu were low-key, Sakiko Naito  (Panasonic) t

Japan Announces Team of 65 for Tokyo Olympics

On July 2 the JAAF announced a team of 43 men and 22 women in track and field for the Tokyo Olympics.  With the men's 4x100 m relay being Japan's best chance of a medal outside the road events, the men's 200 m entries are of particular interest. National champion Yuki Koike , one of only two men to have hit the Olympic qualifying standard, is listed as an alternate, while the other Abdul Hakim Sani Brown , is listed as a stating member despite a DNS at Nationals due to injury concerns after the 100 m. Should Sani Brown scratch and Koike take his place it would open the door for 100 m alternate Yoshihide Kiryu  to run if the feeling is that doing the triple would hurt Koike's chances in the relay.  High schooler Hiroki Yanagida  was named as an alternate to the 4x100 m team after a breakthrough 10.22 at last weekend's National Championships. Another one of the breakthrough stars at Nationals, 19-year-old Juntendo University  hurdler Rachid Muratake  was named alter

Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet Streaming

The five-meet Hokuren Distance Challenge series in Hokkaido kicks off Saturday at 16:30 local Japan time in Shibetsu with ten women's and men's races from 1500 m to 5000 m. Start lists and the meet schedule c an be found here . Look for the remaining four meets every 3~4 days through the 17th. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Hokkaido Governor Suzuki Asks People Not to Come Watch Olympic Marathon and Race Walks

With regard to the issue of spectators at the Tokyo Olympics marathon and race walk events, at a road work and budgetary special committee meeting on July 1, Hokkaido governor Naomichi Suzuki  commented, "With a basic principle of asking people to refrain from watching along the course, we would like to seek guidance on effective safety measures (from the organizing committee)" . The Tokyo Olympics marathon and race walk competitions are scheduled to take place in central Sapporo, Hokkaido, from Aug. 5 to 8. source article: https://www.htb.co.jp/news/archives_12229.html translated by Brett Larner

Kitakyushu Marathon Targets 2022 Race After 2021 Cancelation

With regard to next February's race, the organizing committee of the Kitakyushu Marathon has announced, "We are taking steps toward moving forward with plans to hold the event." Kitakyushu mayor Kenji Kitahashi , head of the organizing committee, made the comments at a general committee meeting on July 1. With this year's race having been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, if the event happens it will be its first edition in two years. As countermeasures against the pandemic, the 3 km and 5 km fun run events will be canceled, and no places will be set aside for international runners. The marathon will have a field size of 11,000, with applications opening on Aug. 16 and continuing through Sept. 21. source article: https://rkb.jp/news/003051.html translated by Brett Larner

Izumiya 13.06 NR in 110 m Hurdles - Japanese Olympic Trials Day Four Results

Japan's Trials for the Tokyo Olympic Games wrapped Sunday in Osaka at the 105th National Track and Field Championships and National U20 Track and Field Championships. A day after his Juntendo University  teammate Ryuji Miura set a NR in the men's 3000 mSC, Shunsuke Izumiya  stunned with a 13.06 (+1.2) NR to win the men's 110 mH. After Shuhei Ishikawa  and another Juntendo runner, Rachid Muratake , false started Izumiya was left with empty lanes on either side, but already holding the standard all he had to do was make the top 3 alongside NR holder Taio Kanai  and #2-ranked Shunya Takayama and a spot on the Olympic team was his.  Instead of playing it safe, he cut 0.24 off his best and 0.10 off Kanai's record for the win. How good was that? It ranks him #5 worldwide among Olympic qualifiers. Kanai was 2nd in 13.22 and Takayama just making it in 13.37 by 0.01 over Shuhei Nomoto , giving Japan a full squad for the 110 mH. It's too soon to call Izumiya a medal conte

Miura Survives Water Jump Fall to Break Own 3000 mSC NR - Japanese Olympic Trials Day Three Results

Qualifiers for Japan's team for the Tokyo Olympic Games came on strong today on the third day of the 105th National Track and Field Championships and National U20 Track and Field Championships. The men's 3000 mSC final was expected to be one of the best events of the meet, and it more than lived up to it. 19-year-old NR holder Ryuji Miura  of Juntendo University  was the only Japanese man with the Olympic standard and only needed to make top 3 to guarantee his spot at the Olympics. He led most of the way, splitting 2:49 for the first 1000 m and 2:46 for the next, burning off all the competition except Japan's #2-ranked man Kosei Yamaguchi  and #5-ranked Ryoma Aoki  as the pace got hotter. Miura was leading on the second to last water jump when he slipped and fell. As Aoki and Yamaguchi went by Miura bounced back up, passing Yamaguchi and in sync with Aoki on the next jump. From there it was all his, tearing through a 66-second last lap to finish in 8:15.99 almost 2 second