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Nishiyama Runs Fastest-Ever JPN Men's Time in World Championships Marathon - Oregon 22 Day 3 Japanese Results

With the last-second withdrawal of NR holder Kengo Suzuki after a positive COVID test the day before the race, it was up to newbies Yusuke Nishiyama and Gaku Hoshi to represent Japan in the men's marathon at the start of Day 3 of the Oregon 22 World Championships. Nishiyama, who won February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in 2:07:47 in his debut, told JRN pre-race that his goals were top 8 and a PB, in that order. He stayed in the lead group for much of the race, but although he dropped off in the later stages and missed both goals, his 2:08:35 for 13th was still the fastest-ever by a Japanese man at the World Championships. Teammate Hoshi, 1st at February's Osaka Marathon in 2:07:31 in his debut, struggled to match Nishiyama, fading to 38th in 2:13:44.

In between, longtime Japan-based Mongolian NR holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, 40, made good on one of his two goals for his 10th-straight World Championships, beating his best-ever Worlds time of 2:16:41 by 5:02 as he ran 2:11:39 for 26th. That fell short of beating his best-ever World placing, 19th in Daegu '11 when he ran the 2:16, but in the home straight and post-race Bat-Ochir was all smiles. Given Ethiopian gold medalist Tamirat Tola's 2:05:36 World Championships record and the fact that the top 19 were all sub-2:10, that seems pretty reasonable. Next up Bat-Ochir will run September's Muenster Marathon in Germany, the first stop on the road to qualify for his 11th World Championships and ultimately his 6th Olympic marathon.

Underperforming most of the season since Hakone, all-time #2 Ren Tazawa, a student at Nishiyama's alma mater Komazawa University, struggled to perform up to ability, finishing more than a minute off his best in 28:24.25 for 20th. Called up just over a week before Oregon 22 began to fill an open slot in the 10000 m, 27:25.73 man Tatsuhiko Ito did a good job not to finish last off only base training, finishing 22nd of 24 in 28:57.85 with a strong kick to make sure he got under 29 minutes.

In qualifying action, Fuga Sato and Julian Walsh both advanced to the men's 400 m semifinals, Sato running 45.88 for 4th in heat 5 and Walsh 45.90 for 4th in heat 1. Kaito Kawabata managed only a 46.34 for 5th in heat 6 and did not move on. Both Shunsuke Izumiya and Shuhei Ishikawa missed out on making the men's 110 m hurdles final, Izumiya 14th on time in 13.42 +0.3 and Ishikawa last in 13.68 -0.6. Kazuki Kurokawa likewise missed the men's 400 m hurdles final, 16th in 49.69.

The day closed with news of another scratch from the Japanese women's marathon team as Hitomi Niiya and her coach followed women-only NR holder Mao Ichiyama and her coach in testing positive for COVID. That means only one Japanese woman, this year's fastest, Mizuki Matsuda, will start tomorrow's race. Together with Suzuki's setback Oregon 22 has turned out to be a disaster for what would have been Japan's best-ever marathon lineups at a World Championships.

text and photos © 2022 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Stefan said…
I think you summed it up perfectly when you said "Oregon 22 has turned out to be a disaster for what would have been Japan's best-ever marathon lineups at a World Championships."

I was gutted when hearing of the news of Hitomi Niiya's withdrawal due to COVID. Being 34 years old and with a renewed desire to take on the marathon challenge I felt this was a now or never event. I can imagine it will be difficult for her to stay motivated for this event and who knows how the COVID affects her health in the short and long term. I hope Mao Ichiyama has no lingering after effects either.

Nevertheless, what an outstanding run in a good time from the ever so consistent Mizuki Matsuda. I saw her post race interview where she was in tears. I'm not sure what was said but she should be proud of that performance! It was a good time in the circumstances.
Eric in Seattle said…
I was in Eugene at Track & Field, I saw Matsuda got into ninth place. Onward. Eric

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