Skip to main content

Plan Revealed to Further Restrict Non-Japanese Athletes Running National High School Ekiden

It has been learned that a plan has been put forth to further restrict the length of the stages that non-Japanese runners can run at the National High School Ekiden and its regional qualifying races starting next year. In the 7-stage, 42.195 km boys' race the plan calls for them to be restricted to the two 5 km stages and the two 3 km stages, or to only the two 3 km stages. In the 5-stage, 21.0975 km girls' race they would be restricted to the 4.0975 km Second Stage and the two 3 km stages, or to only the two 3 km stages.

The National High School Ekiden boys' race began in 1950, with a girls' race added in 1989. No restrictions on non-Japanese athletes were in place up to 2007, and teams that had them typically ran them on the longest stage of the race, the 10 km First Stage for boys and the 6 km First Stage for girls. But as the number of highly talented international students increased, the race's overall outcome started to become predetermined by the end of the opening leg, and in 2008 rules were put in place to ban them from running the First Stage.

After that, running non-Japanese students on the 8.1075 km Third Leg came to be recognized as the "winning plan." But even with this ghettoization of the event international athletes continued to have a major impact. In the last ten years, teams with non-Japanese athletes won the National High School Ekiden boys' race eight times and the girls' race three times.

With the boys' race set to celebrate its 75th running next year, voices have called for the occasion to be marked by further tightening the use of non-Japanese citizens beyond the 2008 restrictions. But it is a fact that the presence of international students has directly contributed to raising Japanese athletes' competitive level. And the post-graduation success of athletes like the late Samuel Wanjiru, who won his stage at the National High School Ekiden three years in a row and helped Sendai Ikuei H.S. take the overall title twice before going on to win the gold medal in the men's marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has elevated the prestige of the National High School Ekiden itself. With such restrictions going against the societal trend of increased internationalization, discussions on their implementation are being held carefully.

In addition, another proposal has been put forward to increase the number of slots for schools from high-population areas like the Tokyo-centric North Kanto and South Kanto regions and the Osaka-area Kinki region. Currently each of Japan's 47 prefectures sends one team to the National High School Ekiden. In each five-year anniversary edition an additional eleven spots are handed out to the above regions for a field of 58 teams. The proposal calls for this to be made the standard field size beginning next year. Both proposals would be put into place starting in the 2024-25 academic year and are beginning to attract attention.

source article:
translated by Brett Larner

Buy Me A Coffee


Most-Read This Week

29 Women and 67 Men - Final List of Qualifiers for Oct. 15 MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials

With Sunday's Tartan Ottawa International Marathon the qualifying window for the Oct. 15 MGC Race , Japan's marathon trials for the 2024 Paris Olympics, came to a close. When the JAAF introduced this format for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a total of 15 women and 34 men made the tough standards. This time, with identical standards for women and even tougher ones for men , 29 women and 67 men made it, double the numbers on both sides. At the MGC Race, the top two finishers will earn guaranteed places on the Paris team. The 3rd placer will have a provisional spot, with the 4th and 5th placers named provisional alternates. If anyone runs under TBA time standards at one of the winter 2023-24 domestic marathons they'll have the chance to steal the 3rd spot on the team from the 3rd placer at the MGC Race, keeping those races relevant and the whole lead-up to the Olympics exciting. Among women, all three members of the Tokyo Olympics marathon team, Mao Ichiyama (Shiseido), Ayuko Su

Olympic Trials Hopefuls Come Up Empty Handed at Ottawa Marathon

With the deadline for qualification for the Oct. 15 MGC Race Olympic marathon trials coming right up, at Sunday's Tartan Ottawa International Marathon eleven Japanese men took a last shot at joining the 67 men and 29 women to have already qualified. Depending on how fast they had already run inside the qualifying window each of the eleven had an individual qualifying standard to run, ranging from 2:08:00 to 2:11:30. But with the difficulties of doubling after having already raced in February or March, long international travel, and hot conditions in the last half hour of the race, none succeeded in hitting their qualifying mark. Ryoma Takeuchi (ND Soft) and Ryo Osaki (Komori Corp.), who both ran 2:08 earlier this year and needed to run in the 2:11 range to make it, and 2:10 runner Chihiro Ono (GMO) lasted the longest, Takeuchi still on track at 35 km and Osaki and Ono right on the cusp at 30 km. But like winner Yihunilign Adane (Ethiopia), who dropped from 2:06 pace at 30 km t

National Track and Field Championships Day 1 Preview and Streaming

The 107th National Track and Field Championships and 39th U20 National Championships happen the next four days at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. With the Bangkok Asian Championships in July, Budapest World Championships in August and Hangzhou Asian Games in September this will be the main national team selection event for all three. Streaming will be on the main channel above from 10:30 a.m. local time until things starting getting good at 18:00, and on a separate feed for field events at the same time. After that you need to be a subscriber to NHK BS1 to catch the TV broadcast of the main events.  Live results can be found here . Five events on the Thursday program have people in the World Championships quota, and out of those the men's 5000 m is going to be the race of the day. Everyone is there - NR holder Suguru Osako (Nike), indoor NR holder Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko), U20 NR holder Keita Sato (Komazawa Univ.), H.S. NR holder Hiroto Yoshioka (Juntendo Univ.), Olympian