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Showing posts from August, 2021

Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Four Japanese Results

Monday marked the fourth day of track and field competition at the Tokyo Paralympics . It was a relatively quiet day for the home team, with only three athletes competing in finals. In the men's T33 100 m final, Yuhei Yasuno  was a distant 5th in 22.34, almost 3 seconds behind 4th place.  Takuya Shiramasa  and Akihiro Yamazaki  went 6th and 7th in the men's F46 javelin throw final, Shiramasa throwing 58.35 m and Yamazaki 57.69 m. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Aomori 90+ Relay Team Breaks Two World Records

At a track and field meet over the weekend, a relay team made up of four men in their 90s living in Aomori prefecture set new 90+ age group world records for the 4x100 m and 4x400 m. Meet organizers are applying to have both records officially ratified. 130 people from age 23 to 92 took part in the Aomori Masters Track and Field Championships on Aug. 29 in Hirosaki, Aomori. Among them were the relay team made up of Aomori natives Matashiro Suruga , 92, Yuzo Kudo , 92, Kozo Mitsuya , 90, and Hiro Tanaka , 90. Despite temperatures that rose to nearly 30˚C, the team members exhibited smooth baton work as they ran 1:43.69 in the 4x100 m. Their time took almost 40 seconds off the previous M90 record of 2:22.37. Just two and a half hours later the Aomori team took on the 4x400 m. In front of strong crowd support they clocked 9:56.36, bettering the previous record set by an American team in 2014 by around 2:45. In May this year the same Aomori team had run 8:49.01 , but because they were the

Sato Gold Again in T52 1500 m - Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Three Japanese Results

T52 men's 400 m gold medalist Tomoki Sato  was back Sunday in the T52 1500 m, squaring off again vs. American Raymond Martin  as the two favorites for gold on day three of track and field action at the Tokyo Paralympics. Martin was expected to take it out hard, but instead he immediately tucked in behind Sato, who had outkicked him at the last second in the 400 m. Sato was forced to lead the entire way, but when Martin would have been expected to kick coming off the final corner Sato had an extra gear, taking gold in a Paralympic record 3:29.13.  Martin was in the silver position again 3:29.72, with Japan's Hirokazu Ueyonabaru  soloing a 3:44.17 for bronze, replicating the medal podium from the 400 m. Sato's Paralympic record was less than a second off the Olympic 1500 m record set in Tokyo by Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen . What a great head-to-head race that would be. The only other Japanese athlete active in a final, Uran Sawada  placed 5th in the T12 women's lon

Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Two Japanese Results

Tokyo Paralympics track and field continued Saturday at the main Olympic Stadium. In the men's T63 long jump, 39-year-old Atsushi Yamamoto  set an Asian Record 6.75 m (-0.2) on his fifth attempt to briefly move into the bronze medal position before being bumped back down to 4th.   Junta Kosuda  jumped two PBs in a row on his last two attempts to take 7th overall with a 5.95 m (+0.1). The only Japanese woman to make the T47 400 m final, Sae Tsuji  placed 5th in 58.98. In the women's T64 long jump, two Japanese athletes made the top eight. Maya Nakanishi  jumped 5.27 m (+0.2) on her fifth attempt to take 6th, 0.35 m out of the medals. Saki Takakuwa  took 8th with a jump of 4.88 m (+0.5) on her second attempt. Fleur Jong  of the Netherlands set a world record of 6.16 m to take the gold medal. Masayuki Higuchi  finished 8th in the men's T54 5000 m final, clocking 10:31.28 after going almost 20 seconds faster in the qualifying heats. Higuchi was just 0.78 out of the bronze med

Sato Wins 400 m Gold - Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day One Japanese Results

Track and field competition at the Tokyo Paralympics started Friday at the main Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. The biggest news for Japan was in the T52 men's 400 m, where Tomoki Sato  pulled off a last-second reversal to take gold over American Raymond Martin  55.39 to 55.59. Veteran Hirokazu Ueyonabaru made it a double medal for Japan, taking bronze in 59.95. Another big result for the home team came in the T11 men's 5000 m, where Kenya Karasawa  and Shinya Wada  took silver and bronze in 15:18.12 and 15:21.03. Karasawa made a long push from 500 m for the win but was caught with 150 m to go by Brazil's Yeltsin Jacques , who pushed on to take gold in 15:13.62.  Kakeru Ishida  placed 5th in the T47 men's 100 m final in 11.05. In the T11 women's long jump final, Chiaki Takada  also took 5th with a jump of 4.74 mm (+1.7) on her first attempt.  Track and field action at the Tokyo Paralympics continues through Sept. 5. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Shoe Review: Relance RL-01

JRN hasn't done many product reviews over the years, but when French shoe startup Relance  contacted us about reviewing their RL-01 model we liked what the company's mission statement had to say about manufacturing domestically, environmental concerns and paying workers a fair wage, and agreed to try a  pair. Relance was launched in late 2019 by designer Violaine Grégoire . The RL-01 is the first shoe she and her team have brought to market. Still in the Kickstarter phase , Relance hopes that the RL-01's limited release will help generate the funds and interest needed to launch full-scale production and additional models next year. The Shoe At first glance the RL-01 looks like what it is, a heavy cushioned trainer geared toward fashion-conscious recreational runners. It's got a lot of nice styling details like a blue-white-red tricolour logo and heel loop, and a single pair of differently-colored eyelets, but weighing in at 330 g it's definitely on the heavier end o

Olympic Steeplechase 7th-Placer Miura on Tokyo 2020 and Izumo

At the Tokyo Olympics, Ryuji Miura  from Hamada, Shimane became the first Japanese man ever to place in the top 8 in an Olympic 3000 m steeplechase final, finishing 7th overall. In his first independent interview since the Olympics, Miura talked about his feelings toward his community and of his future ambitions. Hometown fans may be able to look forward to seeing him race in Shimane again very soon. "I was really nervous in the qualifying heat," says Miura of his opening round race where he ran a national record 8:09.92. "In the final it was more like, 'Let's get it done,' and I was half psyched up and half stressed out. I think the whole atmosphere of it being the Olympics and me having a blast being there helped make this result happen."  Still just 19 and a 2nd-year at Juntendo University , Tokyo was Miura's Olympic debut. What was really noticeable about him before and after the race was how calm and cool he stayed during and after the race, loo

Japanese Team Roster of 46 for Tokyo Paralympics

Japan will field a team of 20 women and 26 men for track and field competition at the Tokyo Paralympics, spanning most of the Paralympics' duration with a daily schedule from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5.  The complete schedule can be found here . Many of Japan's medal chances come in the marathon, including women's T12 world record holder Misato Michishita  and veteran Wakako Tsuchiya  in the T54 class, and Shinya Wada  in the men's T11 class and Tsutomu Nagata  in the men's T46 class. A breakdown of who's who on the Japanese team: Women 100 m Kaede Maegawa - T63 Momoka Muraoka - T54 Mana Sasaki - T13 Uran Sawada - T12 Chiaki Takada - T11 Saki Takakuwa - T64 Yuka Takamatsu - T38 200 m Sae Tsuji - T47 400 m Mana Sasaki - T13 Yuka Takamatsu - T38 Ayumi Takemura - T38 Aimi Toyama - T20 Sae Tsuji - T47 1500 m Anju Furuya - T20 Sayaka Makita - T20 Moeko Yamamoto - T20 Marathon Yumiko Fujii - T12 Tsubasa Kina - T54 Misato Michishita - T12 Mihoko Nishijima - T12 Wakako Tsuchid

Mie Prefecture Asks for Next Month's National Sports Festival to be Canceled

In an interview with a source involved in the situation, on Aug. 21 it was learned that the Mie Prefectural Government has asked the Japan Sports Association and other stakeholders to consider canceling next month's 76th National Sports Festival in light of the current explosion in coronavirus case numbers throughout the country. The Japan Sports Association and Ministry of Eduction, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, co-sponsors of the Festival, plan to hold discussions on the issue soon. The National Sports Festival is scheduled to be held in Mie prefecture from Sept. 25 to Oct. 5. Some events, including swimming, gymnastics, wrestling and judo, were scheduled to begin Sept. 4 prior to the official opening of the Festival. At a meeting on July 29 the National Sports Festival Organizing Committee agreed to a proposal to examine the advantages and disadvantages of going ahead with the Festival. The Mie Prefecture Medical Association, a group made up of doctors, dentists and

A Quick Guide to Japanese Marathoners Racing Overseas This Fall

In the last week or two, four major international marathons have announced elite fields that include Japanese athletes, mostly men. There aren't many homegrown elite-level races for them to pick from, either for men or women.  Postponed from the spring, despite corona numbers breaking new records almost daily the Tokyo Marathon is still scheduled to go ahead Oct. 17, a date that plops it right in the middle of ekiden season for both corporate men and especially women. The men-only Fukuoka International Marathon will hold its 75th and final running on Dec. 5, the traditional date that has contributed to its downfall due to a conflict with the New Year Ekiden less than four weeks later. The Hofu Marathon is two weeks after Fukuoka, even more in conflict with the New Year Ekiden, and with a World Athletics Elite Label this year it may be capitalizing on the void in women's racing opportunities by giving something approaching parity to its women's field. Or maybe not. With thos

Sapporo Gakuin Women Win Fifth-Straight Hokkaido University Ekiden

The Hokkaido University Ekiden took place Aug. 14 in Sapporo's Moerenuma Park, with women covering 35.86 km in six stages and men 101.06 km in eight stages. In the women's race, Sapporo Gakuin University  scored a fifth-straight prefectural title, all six of its athletes winning their stages and covering the total distance in 2:11:31. The team's win secured its place at the Oct. 31 National University Women's Ekiden in Sendai. The Sapporo Gakuin men won in 5:19:31, their fourth-straight and 28th overall prefectural win. They likewise qualified for the National University Ekiden, taking place Nov. 7 in Nagoya for men. The women's decisive win came under new head coach Hiroyuki Kudo , 71, who previously led the Otani Muroran H.S.  boys and girls and the Sapporo Nichidai H.S.  girls to a combined 21 National High School Ekiden appearances. 2nd-year Sena Onishi  generated the team's momentum on the opening leg. Last year Onishi was unwell and lost more than 10 kg, p

Coe Floats Ideas of Tokyo Hosting World Championships and Ekiden at World Road Running Championships

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe sat for an interview with the Asahi Newspaper. Coe indicated that the Tokyo Olympics, which came to a conclusion on Aug. 8, had reaffirmed to him the popularity of track and field in Japan. Indicating that he wanted to give something back to Japan, Coe hinted at the possibility of the World Championships returning to Tokyo.  At a press conference held Aug. 8 in conjunction with the closing of the Tokyo Olympics, Coe said, "I have tremendous gratitude to Japan for preparing a truly special stage on which our athletes could perform. I promise to bring athletics back to Japan at a time when everyone can be a part of it."  In the Asahi interview, Coe indicated that there is a possibility that Tokyo will be awarded the 2025 World Championships, the venue of which has yet to be decided. One reason he cited was Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium, for which the problem of a post-Games use looms large. At the Olympics the track and stadium earned

Men's Marathon was 2nd-Most Viewed Event at Tokyo Olympics

On Aug. 10, Video Research, Ltd . announced that the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics broadcast on NHK on Aug. 8 earned an average viewership rating of 46.7% in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area, 41.5% in the Fukuoka area, 41.3% in the Osaka area, and 40.7% in the Nagoya area. In the 32 regions surveyed, Video Research calculated that 46,997,000 people nationwide watched the closing ceremony in realtime.  The 46.7% viewership rating far surpassed that of the 2008 Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, which recorded only 25.1%. It was the third-highest rating on record for Olympic closing ceremonies, behind the 1964 Tokyo Olympics with 63.2%, and the 1972 Munich Olympics with 46.9%. The event broadcast that earned the highest viewership was the Aug. 7 men's baseball final on NHK, where Japan defeated the U.S.A. to win the gold medal, at 37.0%  2nd was NHK's broadcast of the Aug. 8 men's marathon, where Suguru Osako  placed 6th, which earned 31.4% viewership in its secon

Government Officials Concerned About Impact of Large Crowds Along Olympic Marathon Course on Pandemic

At Odori Park in central Sapporo, the start and finish point for the Tokyo Olympics women's and men's marathons held on Aug. 7 and 8, it was found that the number of people in the area of the park increased by over 10% during the marathons relative to the same time period a week earlier. Increasing as the end of the race neared, crowd size was 12.7% higher at the finish of the women's marathon on Aug. 7 and 10.3% higher at the finish of the men's marathon on Aug. 8.  The Mainichi Newspaper Corp. analyzed the data, which was collected by Agoop, a subsidiary of mobile phone service provider Softbank. Comparisons were made based on the average number of people present per hour within a 500 m radius of the Odori subway station. The women's marathon began at 6:00 a.m. on Aug. 7. Between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. 31,256 people were present in the area, but from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. that number increased to 35,248. After 8:00 a.m., when Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir  won the go

Government Shrugs Off Public Criticism of Bach Shopping Trip in Ginza

On Aug. 9 IOC president Thomas Bach  and a female companion were spotted strolling in Tokyo's fashionable Ginza district accompanied by bodyguards. At a press conference following a Cabinet meeting on Aug. 10, Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa commented, "Whether something is necessary or an emergency is a judgment that must be made by the individual." Under the state of emergency currently declared for Tokyo, the government has asked residents of the city to refrain from going out in public unless it is absolutely necessary or an emergency. The Olympic Playbook, a collection of rules and regulations covering countermeasures against the coronavirus pandemic, explicitly prohibits athletes, staff and officials from going sightseeing. Bach's actions set off a firestorm of criticism against him on Japanese social media. Given that Bach arrived in Japan on July 8, Minister Marukawa commented, "The important point is that pandemic countermeasures are strictly observed

Marathon Head Coach Kawano Reports Hattori Had >40˚C Skin Temperature Post-Race, Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Via an online post-race press conference on Aug. 8, Olympic team long distance and marathon head coach Tadasu Kawano discussed the condition of Yuma Hattori , 27. Hattori placed 73rd in the men's marathon earlier in the day. "After he finished he had a body surface temperature reading of over 40˚C," Kawano said. "There's no doubt that he was exhibiting symptoms very much like those of heat stroke."  In the first half of the race Hattori ran alongside eventual 6th-placer  Suguru Osako  near the front and middle of the lead pack. But near the midway point he lost contact. He collapsed after finishing, medical staff in the finish area rushing to his assistance and taking him away in a wheelchair. In the last straight to the finish line Hattori appeared to be dragging his left lag, stopping at one point to walk and hold his left leg in apparent pain. "Muscle cramping and convulsions can occur during heat stroke," said Kawano. "I think that may ha

Osako Runs Fastest-Ever Japanese Olympic Marathon for 6th - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Ten Japanese Results

The men's marathon wrapped up athletics competition at the Tokyo Olympics , with heavy hopes of a medal made all the heavier by a DNF in the men's 4x100 m relay final. When Colombian Jeison Alexander Suarez  took the race out harder than expected Japanese marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura held back from going with the front group, setbacks in his training over the last year giving him reason for caution. 2018 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Yuma Hattori  and 5000 m national record holder Suguru Osako went with it, Hattori lasting through 20 km before dropping and Osako until just after 30 km when eventual winner Eliud Kipchoge  dropped a 14:28 split for the next 5 km. Osako worked his way into 6th and looked briefly like he might catch back up to the main chase group of four, but once he got within 15 seconds of them he stalled and simply held position. Kipchoge took his second-straight Olympic gold in 2:08:38. Somali-born Abdi Nageeya  and Bashir Abdi  took silver

Ichiyama and Hironaka Make Top 8 - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Nine Japanese Results

Bumped up an hour on short notice, the women's marathon was one of the events at the Tokyo Olympics where Japan hoped to get onto the podium, or at least into the top eight for the first time since national record holder Mizuki Noguchi 's gold medal in Athens in 2004.  All three Japanese women, Honami Maeda , Ayuko Suzuki  and Mao Ichiyama , were up in it early, Maeda doing her share of frontrunning in the earliest stages, but when the race really got moving only Ichiyama was left. After 32 km she lost steam and started to drop back, falling as low as 9th, but a lucky break with Kenyan-born Israeli Lonah Salpeter  stopping and walking at 38 km while battling American Molly Seidel  for bronze put Ichiyama back into 8th, where she stayed until she crossed the finish line in 2:30:13. "I've got no regrets about finishing 8th," she said post-race. "Thanks for cheering from so early in the morning." Suzuki was 19th in 2:33:14 and Maeda 33rd in 2:35:28. Kenyan

Kawano 6th, 4x100 m Men DNF - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Eight Japanese Results

In what was considered Japan's best chance of medaling in Tokyo Olympics athletics, the Japanese men came up with a 6th-place finish by national record holder Masatora Kawano  in the final Olympic men's 50 km race walk. 2018 Asian champion Hayato Katsuki  had an early setback, losing a shoe in the first couple of km and never making his way back into contact. Kawano and national champion Satoshi Maruo  stayed near the front of the main pack until a move from Canadian Evan Dunfee  began to break it up.  Maruo soon fell off, but Kawano looked to be one of the medal contenders as the pack turned into five behind breakaway leader Dawid Tomala  of Poland. Without warning, around 42 km Kawano suddenly pulled off the course and went to his hands and knees to vomit. He could have been out of it at that point, but Kawano quickly bounced back up and set off to regain contact. He did, but the effort cost him in the final push. Tomala took gold in 3:50:08, with Germany's Jonathan Hil

Ikeda and Yamanishi Take Silver and Bronze - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Seven Japanese Results

Japan's women's and men's 4x100 m relays were the only ones in action in the morning session on the seventh day of track and field competition at the Tokyo Olympics . The women's team performed up to ability, delivering a season best 43.44 to finish 7th in their heat and not advancing to the final. The men's 4x100 m team has faced more pressure in the lead-up to this Olympics than anybody except maybe Japan's marathoners, so much so that the official Japanese broadcaster has been airing ads for the men's 4x100 m final all throughout the last week and a half on the assumption that the Japanese men would be there.  They will be, but barely. Japan finished 3rd in the first heat in 38.16 to take an auto-qualifying spot by 0.02 over France. With the two time qualifying spots going to Germany and Ghana in the second heat in 36.06 and 36.08 it was closer than anyone would have liked to a major embarrassment, and with Japan the slowest of the eight qualifiers for t

Izumiya and Kanai Come Up Short - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Six Japanese Results

Two of Japan's hopefuls for making their final at the Tokyo Olympics , men's 110 m national record holder Shunsuke Izumiya  and previous NR holder  Taio Kanai both came up short in the semifinals at today's morning session. Running first, Kanai started well but caught his trailing foot on the eighth hurdle and fell, getting up to finish in 26.11. Izumiya hit the first hurdles, but while it didn't seem to have much of an impact on him he lost his balance after hitting the eighth hurdle and finished 3rd in his semi, just 0.03 from making the final on time. The lone Japanese man in the javelin throw, Takuto Kominami  threw 78.39 m to finish 19th in the qualifying round, just over 4 m short of getting into the top 12 and moving on to the final. The only Japanese athlete competing in the evening session, Nozomi Tanaka  shaved another fraction off her own record to make it through her 1500 m semifinal in 3:59.19. © 2021 Mika Tokairin, all rights reserved

Kitaguchi Makes Javelin Final - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Five Japanese Results

One of Japan's hopes for a top 8 placing in track and field, women's javelin NR holder Haruka Kitaguchi  got off to a good start at the Tokyo Olympics with a season best opening throw of 62.08 m in the qualifying round, just short of the 63.0 m auto-qualifying mark. She wasn't able to improve on that in subsequent throws but advanced to Friday's final with ease, placing 3rd in her group and 6th overall. Kitaguchi is the first Japanese woman to make an Olympic javelin final since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Mirroring the lackluster performances in the men's 100 m, none of the three Japanese men in the 200 m moved on past the first round heats. Jun Yamashita came closest at 20.78 for 5th in the third heat, 0.25 off qualifying on time. In his third Olympics  Shota Iizuka  was 6th in the opening heat in 21.02, with Abdul Hakim Sani Brown  6th in the second heat in 21.41. In the evening session, national record holder Shunsuke Izumiya  and previous NR holder Taio Kanai  

Hironaka Breaks Fukushi's 5000 m NR - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Four Japanese Results

In the morning session on day four of track and field competition at the Tokyo Olympics, Yuki Hashioka became the first Japanese man since the 1984 Los Angeles Games to make an Olympic long jump top eight. Having jumped 8.17 m in the qualifying round to rank 3rd in the final, Hashioka struggled to perform up to ability. making the top 8 cutoff after three jumps but failing to clear 8 m.  On his final jump he delivered a 8.10 m to place 6th, visibly disappointed but still the best Japanese men's Olympic performance in 37 years and 8 cm further than Junichi Usui 's bronze medal jump in Los Angeles. In the women's 1500 m heats, Nozomi Tanaka  shaved another sliver off her record to qualify for the semifinal in 4:02.33. Past national champion  Ran Urabe  ran a PB 4:07.90 but did not advance. In the evening session,  Ryuji Miura  was the lone Japanese man in the men's 3000 m steeplechase final in just his second serious international race, the first being his national recor

'On the Street Outside the Olympic Stadium: “This is a Fake Olympics”' A story by JRN's Mika Tokairin  for Podium Runner on what people in the streets around the Olympic Stadium are saying as Tokyo 2020 track and field competition goes on. Photo © 2021 Mika Tokairin, all rights reserved

Walsh, Terada and Tobe Falter - Tokyo Olympics Athletics Day Three Japanese Results

Women's 3000 m steeplechase national champion Yuno Yamanaka led off the home team's campaign on the third day of track and field competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games . Still just 20 years old, Yamanaka, the younger sister of 2014 National University Men's Half Marathon champion Hideto Yamanaka , went out at national record pace, mostly at the end of the pack but moving up one by one as other athletes faded. Yamanaka ended up 10th in her heat in 9:43.83 and didn't advance, but in post-race interviews she was optimistic about her chances of breaking the national record and making the final in Paris three years from now. Having skipped June's National Championships 400 m with an injury, Julian Walsh  was the only other Japanese athlete in action in the morning session, running the men's 400 m heats. Walsh was far off his best, running only 46.57 to finish 6th in his heat and not advance. Also entered in the 4x400 m relay, Walsh may still make another appearance,