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Showing posts from August, 2023

2:07 Marathoner Dairokuno Withdraws from Olympic Trials With Injury

On Aug. 29 the JAAF announced that Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) has withdrawn from the Oct. 15 Marathon Grand Championship race, Japan's trials event for the 2024 Paris Olympics marathon team. Dairokuno is reported to be suffering from tibial periostitis in his left leg due to overuse. A native of Kagoshima, Dairokuno is 30 years old. While at Meiji University he won the 8th Stage at the 2014 National University Ekiden, and since joining the Asahi Kasei corporate team has been a member of three national champion lineups at the New Year Ekiden. His PBs include 13:28.61 for 5000 m, 27:46.55 for 10000 m, and 1:01:32 for the half marathon. At the 2021 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon he ran his 2:07:21 marathon best. source article: translated by Brett Larner

Wambui Collapses Before Hokkaido Marathon Finish Line, Sawahata Takes Women's Race

With temperatures climbing over 30˚C, strong winds and at times heavy rain, 20,000 people ran the Hokkaido Marathon Sunday in Sapporo, which for the first time featured a two-wave start. Former Nihon University  Hakone Ekiden runner Patrick Mathenge Wambui , now with the NTT Nishi Nihon  corporate team, broke away from the rest of the field in his marathon debut and looked set for an easy win. But the hot and humid conditions hit him hard at the end of the race, and as he staggered in the home straight Wambui collapsed to the ground. He managed to get up and finish, just holding off the fast-closing Takumi Iwata  (JFE Steel), a superb effort that outweighed his winning time of 2:20:54 being the second-slowest winning time in Hokkaido history. Iwata was 2nd in 2:20:59, with Shoma Hosoya  (Logisteed) 3rd in 2:22:24. Tomomi Sawahata , an amateur runner and veterinarian in Tokorozawa, Saitama, took the women's race in 2:38:18, the fourth-slowest women's winning time. "I don&#

World Championships Wrap With Record Number of Japanese Top 8 Placings

The World Athletics Championships wrapped up August 27 in Budapest after 9 days of competition. Japan earned only one gold and one bronze medal, but it had a record 11 top-8 placings, many in events where Japan has typically lagged behind the rest of the world. After the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the JAAF set about on a program to develop "unwavering athletes" in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics, raising the level of the sport by developing athletes who can perform reliably at the international level. Women’s javelin gold medalist Haruka Kitaguchi , 25, represents the kind of athlete the JAAF is looking for, along with first-ever World Championships 110 m hurdles finalist Shunsuke Izumiya , 23, 5th in Budapest, and 3000 m steeplechase 6th-placer Ryuji Miura , 21. All three were near the top of the world rankings going into Budapest and performed up to ability there. All of them show the "unshakability" the JAAF is pushing. All competed in Diamond League meets this seas

Budapest World Championships Day 8 and 9 Japanese Results

The women's marathon at the World Championships used to be a fairly reliable source of medals or at least top 8 finishes, but as the first race on Day 8 in Budapest showed those days are slipping farther and farther away. 9th last year in Oregon, Mizuki Matsuda was the top Japanese woman again this time at 13th in 2:29:15, starting slow before passing teammates Rika Kaseda and Sayaka Sato but unable to break into the top 8. Kaseda was 19th in 2:31:53 and Sato 20th in 2:31:57, the medals going to Ethiopians Amane Beriso and Gotytom Gebreslase in 2:24:23 and 2:24:34, and fast-closing Moroccan Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi in 2:25:17. The formerly Japan-based Rosemary Wanjiru and Selly Chepyego Kaptich were the top two placers for Kenya at 6th and 7th in 2:26:42 and 2:27:09. With that down, Japan's only other real medal shot was in the men's 4x100 m final where it was one of five teams who could realistically place on the podium. Over the first three legs Japan was more or l

‘A Mongolian Marathoner’s Secret Weapon? Staying Power.’

When Mongolia's Ser-Od Bat-Ochir  ran his first World Championships marathon in 2003 George Bush Jr. was in his first term and Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" was at the top of the charts. He's run every Olympic and World Championships marathon since then, all 15, and tomorrow does #16 in Budapest. He's an unsung hero of the sport, and the New York Times' Scott Cacciola  tells his story: photo © 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kitaguchi Wins Japan's First-Ever Non-Marathon World Championships Women's Gold - Day 7 Japanese Results

Haruka Kitaguchi lived up to her #1 in the world ranking with a last-second comeback to take gold on the 7th day of the Budapest World Championships . Stunningly consistent with her first five throws all between 61.78 m and 63.00 m, Kitaguchi sat in 4th place just out of the medals when she stepped up for her 6th and final attempt. Australian Mackenzie Little and Latvian Anete Kocina were just ahead at 63.38 m and 63.18 m, but with Colombia's Flor Denis Ruiz Hurtado having opened with a 65.47 m area record it would take something special for Kitaguchi to move into the top spot. And that's exactly what she delivered. Kitaguchi threw 66.73 m, the second-furthest of her career and just 31 cm off her month-old national record, right when it mattered. With that she stepped into the history books as the first Japanese woman ever to win a World Championships gold medal in an event other than the marathon. Back home there were immediate calls for a national holiday to be declared.

Kawano Wins 35 km RW Bronze - Budapest World Championships Day 6 Japanese Results

  Day 6 of the Budapest World Championships started with Japan getting onto the medal board for the first time as one of its best individual chances came through. All three Japanese men in the 35 km race walk went out with the lead group and stayed there until just past 20 km, where 2021 50 km national champion Satoshi Maruo lost contact. 2023 35 km national champ Tomohiro Noda lasted another 8 km before dropping, leaving last year's Oregon silver medalist Masatora Kawano in contention for another medal as the pack dwindled. By 31 km it was down to just Kawano, last year's 4th-placer Brian Pintado of Ecuador, and 20 km gold medalist Alvaro Martin of Spain. Kawano dropped back with 2 km to go, Martin pulling away to take a second gold in a 2:24:30 national record and Pintado getting onto the medal stand with a 2:24:34 area record for silver. Kawano finished with a 2:25:12 SB for bronze, Japan's first medal of any kind in a World Championships that looks set to produce

Budapest World Championships Day 5 Japanese Results

  None of the finals on Day 5 of the Budapest World Championships featured any Japanese athletes, but there were good performances in qualifying rounds in both the morning and evening sessions. First up for the day, Tomoya Karasawa didn't turn in one of the good ones, failing to clear the opening height in the men's pole vault qualifying round. Japan's best prospect for an individual medal outside of race walking, Haruka Kitaguchi was the first woman in the javelin throw and one of only seven to clear the auto-qualifying mark of 61.50 m, throwing 63.27 m. Marina Saito managed only 58.95 m for 15th in the first round, just 71 cm short of making the qualifying bracket of twelve. Men's long jumpers Yuki Hashioka , Hiromichi Yoshida and Shotaro Shiroyama were all off their game in the opening round, Hashioka jumping best with a credible 7.94 m -0.2 m/s but short of the 8.00 m that proved necessary for qualification. Yoshida jumped 7.60 m +1.2 m/s and Shiroyama only 7.

Budapest World Championships Day 4 Japanese Results

After missing the final in Oregon last year 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Ryuji Miura built on his 7th-place 2021 Olympic debut with a 6th-place finish at the Budapest World Championships. Miura started slow and moved up throughout the race, getting as high as 5th when ahead of him a fall on the first obstacle after the bell brought bronze into tantalizingly close range. But he couldn't quite close it, and just steps before the finish he was run down by New Zealand's George Beamish , dropping to 6th in 8:13.70 with Beamish 5th in 8:13.46. Ryoma Aoki , who beat Miura to the punch as the first Japanese man to qualify for a World Championships 3000 mSC final in 20 years, was 14th in 8:24.77. Olympic and defending World champion Soufiane El Bakkali was unstoppable again, winning in 8:03.53. Flawless in the men's high jump qualifying round, Ryoichi Akamatsu struggled to get into his rhythm in the final. After making 2.20 m and 2.25 on his first attempt, Akamatsu r

Budapest World Championships Day 3 Japanese Results

  Shunsuke Izumiya was one of Japan's few individual medal possibilities at the Budapest World Championships , and on Day 3 of the championships he ran like that was a true statement. After a 13.33 +0.5 m/s for 2nd in his 110 m hurdles opening heat, Izumiya stepped up with a 13.16 -0.2 m/s to win his semifinal, making him Japan's first-ever Worlds 110 mH finalist and putting him at 3rd among the eight finalists. From there he needed another step up to get into the medals, but with a 13.19 +0.0 m/s he finished only 5th as Americans Grant Holloway and Daniel Roberts took gold and bronze in 12.96 and 13.09, and Jamaican Hansle Parchment silver in 13.07. In the men's 400 mH semifinals, Kazuki Kurokawa ran a PB of 48.58, the fastest time by a Japanese man in 11 years and good for #6 on the all-time Japanese list and #10 on the all-time Asian list. But it wasn't enough to get him into the final, as Kurokawa placed 4th in SF2, 0.19 short of qualifying on time. The women&#

Budapest World Championships Day 2 Japanese Results

  Following up on breakthrough performances at last month’s Asian Championships , the Japanese men made the 400 m heats the event of Day 2 at the Budapest World Championships for the Japanese team. In Heat 1 Kentaro Sato got it rolling with a 44.77 for 2nd, breaking the 32-year-old NR by 0.01 seconds and saying post-race that he’d go for more in the next rounds. Fuga Sato followed that with a 44.97 PB for 2nd in Heat 4, becoming just the 3rd Japanese man ever under 45 seconds. Joseph Nakajima didn’t quite match that level but with a 45.15 for 3rd in Heat 5 made it 3/3 for qualification for the semifinals. Former NR holder Abdul Hakim Sani Brown tied his old NR with a 9.97 +0.3 m/s in the men’s 100 m semifinals, then took 6th in the final in 10.04 +0.0 m/s. That was one place better than his 7th last year in Oregon, the first time a Japanese man had ever made a Worlds final in the 100 m. But although he was disappointed with his performance after his excellent semi, with American C

Budapest World Championships Day 1 Japanese Results

The Budapest World Championships got off to a rocky start for the Japanese team as it came up empty-handed in the opening event in one of its two best shots at a medal. Silver medalist in the last two global championships, Koki Ikeda took the men's 20 km race walk out hard only to fade abruptly at 15 km and finish 15th in 1:19:44. Two-time defending world champion Toshikazu Yamanishi faded even earlier, ultimately landing 24th overall and 4th out of the four Japanese men in the race in 1:21:39. 24-year-old Yuta Koga took the top Japanese spot at 12th in his World Championships debut with a 1:19:02 season best, 1:15 out of the medals in a race that saw gold medalist Alvaro Martin of Spain clock a world-leading 1:17:32 and 2nd through 6th set new national records. Eiki Takahashi was 21st in 1:20:25. Fresh from doing her final training in St. Moritz, women's 5000 m NR holder Ririka Hironaka bookended the day with a good comeback run in the 10000 m after a long season of rec

Now 39, Former Hakone Ekiden Star Masato Imai Putting Everything Into Last Chance for First Olympics

At Japan's Olympic marathon trials in Tokyo on Oct. 15, the top two finishers will earn places on the 2024 Paris Olympics marathon team. The oldest man on the entry list is 39-year-old Masato Imai of the Toyota Kyushu corporate team. In his days at Juntendo University Imai redefined how to run the Hakone Ekiden's legendary uphill 5th leg with multiple course records, earning him the title "God of the Mountain." Joining Toyota Kyushu after graduation ,he made the Japanese team for the Beijing World Championships but was unable to run due to illness. At the Olympic trials, he says, "I'll bring all my experience as an athlete into play." Imai qualified for the MGC, the shorthand name for the Olympic trials, when he placed 6th at last year's Osaka Marathon. At 39, almost all the other athletes from his generation have retired, but Imai continue to pursue the toughest of distances, the marathon. "The presence of the 'The Olympics' weighs h

Corporate Federation Announces Major Changes to New Year Ekiden Course

The JITA, the corporate federation that organizes the National Corporate Women's Ekiden and New Year Ekiden corporate men's championships, has announced major changes to the New Year Ekiden course. The core of the changes is the combination of the existing 8.3 km 2nd leg and 13.6 km 3rd leg into a new 21.9 km 2nd leg, and the split of the current 22.4 km 4th leg into a new 3rd leg of around 15 km and a new 4th leg of 8 km. The current 2nd leg is the shortest of the traditional New Year Ekiden and is where non-Japanese athletes are restricted to running, while the existing 4th leg is its longest and features most of the top marathoners. With only one leg before them, runners on the 2nd leg, primarily Kenyans, start relatively close together, making for one of the fastest, deepest and most exciting head-to-head road races in the world every year. Runners on the 4th leg are more dispersed, but with the long distance of the stage it gives the very top marathoners and half marathone

Komori Corporation Wins 76th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden

After making a post-corona return last year it time for its 75th anniversary year, the Towada Hachimantai Ekiden returned this year for its 76th. Without enough teams entered the women's race was canceled, but 15 teams of 5 men each raced the 5-stage, 71.4 km race in Akita on Aug. 7. Daichi Kimoto got the Hokuriku Corporate Select Team off to a good start with a 36-second lead on the 13.0 km First Stage, but the Komori Corporation B team's Benard Langat cut that down easily with a 36:33 CR for the the 13.0 km Second Stage, putting KCB 2:07 ahead. That didn't last, though, as the Komori Corporation A team's Antipas Kibet dropped a 46:20 CR for the 15.7 km Third Stage to put his team into the lead by 2:03. KCA's fourth runner Takuma Shibata turned that into an unbreakable 3:37 lead with a stage win, leaving anchor Yusuke Baba to bring them home for the win in 3:51:14. The winner on the uphill Fifth Stage last year, Comodi Iida 's Akihiro Kaneko did it ag

Takigahara SDF Base Unstoppable Again at Mt. Fuji Ekiden

For the 7th edition in a row, the Takigahara SDF Base team dominated the 48th Mt. Fuji Ekiden , a 11-stage, 48.19 km race up Mount Fuji and back down, with 3258 m elevation gain on the way up, 3199 m loss on the way down, every runner having to handle both an uphill and downhill leg, and the top men averaging 10:39/km on the steepest climb and as fast as 2:10/km on the steepest of the descent. Takigahara faced challenges early on from last year's 8th-place Moriyama 35th Infantry Regiment team and, in its debut, the pro Eldoreso team featuring 100 km NR holder Jumpei Yamaguchi . The anchor stage winner last year, Moriyama's Toshihiro Hayashi pulled off a rare double stage win this time, leading on the 6.54 km, 243 m uphill First Stage and winning the 4.88 km, 184 m downhill Eleventh Stage. Eldoreso's Takumi Kato duplicated that feat, winning the 4.64 km, 345 m uphill Second Stage and passing Moriyama to move into the overall lead, then winning the 4.64 km, 345 m downhi

Japan Announces Teams for Budapest World Championships and Riga World Road Running Championships (updated)

Update: 24 hours after announcing its team for the Budapest World Championships, the JAAF announced a list of 5 additional men, 8 additional women, and 1 women's double. The numbers below have been updated to include them. Two big announcements in the last week from the JAAF of its rosters for this month's Budapest World Championships and next month's Riga World Road Running Championships. 28 women, 48 men and 35 officials make up the Budapest team, with multiple winners from last month's Asian Championships, national record holders, and at least two real medal prospects in women's javelin throw world leader Haruka Kitaguchi  and men's 20 km race walk defending champion Toshikazu Yamanishi . Especially on the women's side, a lot of athletes on the cusp of making the quotas for their event didn't get there, but a few did, like Asian 10000 m champ Ren Tazawa , pictured above with coach Hiroaki Oyagi  and 1:00:08 half marathoner Tomoki Ota  in St. Moritz, S

Kitagawa's Half Marathon Gold Caps Final Day of World University Games

  Osaka Geijutsu University performing arts major Hikaru Kitagawa kicked off the final day of the Chengdu World University Games with the first Japanese women's gold medal of the games in athletics, winning the half marathon in 1:13:17 by 14 seconds over Turkey's Yayla Kilic Gonen . And winning it in style. 3 seconds behind Kilic Gonen at 20 km, Kitagawa closed from there to the finish in 3:08, or 2:51/km pace, the kind of split you'd more often see in a men's race. You have to wonder if the 20 km split was accurate, but anyway Kitagawa made up 17 seconds in 1.0975 km, which is pretty good. Fatma Karasu made it a Turkish 2-3 with a 1:14:28 for bronze. Rio Einaga of Osaka Gakuin University was 8th in 1:15:34 and national champion Meijo University's Saki Harada 14th in 1:16:36, enough to land Japan the team silver behind Turkey. China took the team bronze. Japanese men usually dominate the World University Games half marathon given their focus on that distance for

Nagahara Breaks Steeplechase High School NR at National High School Championships

Following yesterday's mishap in the opening heats , Soma Nagahara (Saku Chosei H.S.) delivered the performance of this year's National High School Track and Field Championships. Straight to the front form the guy, Nagahara broke 3000 mSC national record holder Ryuji Miura 's high school NR by over 7 seconds to win the national title in 8:32.12. Still a senior in high school, that time was also good enough to rank him at all-time #3 on the Japanese U20 lists and #3 in the world this year among U20 athletes. And it wasn't just him. The race as a whole was the best high school steeple ever, with 2nd-placer Zen Kuroda (Tamano Konan H.S.) running 8:40.71 for #4 on the high school all-time lists, 3rd-placer Taisei Endo (Saku Chosei H.S.) 8:45.47 for #6, and 4th-placer Oju Tsujimoto (Hamamatsu Kaiseizan H.S.) 8:46.85 for #8. By comparison, the American H.S. NR for the 3000 mSC is 8:47.04. Still in college, Miura really looks to have opened the door for other Japanese athl

Japan Doubles Medal Count of Day Five of Chengdu World University Games

Japan more than doubled its medal count on the fifth day of athletics competition at the Chengdu World University Games . Juntendo University's Haruki Manju got things started in the morning session with a bronze medal in the men's 20 kmRW in 1:25:32. That was almost 2 minutes behind winner Salih Korkmaz of Turkey, but together with teammates Kazuhiro Tateiwa , 5th in 1:26:40, and Kento Yoshikawa , 8th in 1:29:06, it was enough to score the Japanese men the team silver behind China. The next medal came 13 hours later in the women's 5000 m. In a close race that came down to a three-way battle over the last lap Portugal's Mariana Machado Carvalho won gold in 16:02.58 over China's Yuyu Xia. Doubling from the 10000 m, Nittai University's Risa Yamazaki  lost ground to the top 2 but leaned in for bronze in a photo finish with fast-closing Norwegian Amalie Saeten , 16:08.86 to 16:08.90. Ritsumeikan University's Tomo Muramatsu struggled, running only 16:51.22 f

Freak Accident Stops Steeplechase at National High School Championships

There were a lot of good performances on the 4th day of the Sapporo High School Championships, but a freak accident in the first heat of the boys' 3000 mSC got most of the attention. The leading runner at the first obstacle fell right as he started to jump, colliding with the barrier at waist height and falling forward over it. The ~100 kg barrier rocked forward just as multiple people behind the leader put their feet on it as they jumped, tipping it further. Athletes in the next row started to crash into the runners ahead or hit the obstacle, giving it enough momentum to fall over. It probably wasn't the first time this has ever happened, but given the construction of the obstacle and the combination of force and angle of impact needed to knock the it over it must be pretty close to never. Nobody was caught underneath, but when officials stopped the heat and re-ran it the runner who first hit the barrier, Shuya Kanamori (Sakudaira Sogo H.S.), and one other were both absent.

Nishi Takes 200 m Silver - World University Games Day Four Japanese Results

  Waseda University's Yudai Nishi  gave Japan its first silver medal of the Chengdu World University Games on the fourth day of athletics competition, taking 2nd in the men's 200 m final. After winning SF1 in a PB of 20.43 +0.9 m/s, Nishi started conservatively in the final. In the middle of the field coming into the straight, Nishi closed the fastest in the field to move up into 2nd but came up short of catching gold medalist Isadore Matsoso of South Africa. Matsoso clocked 20.36 to Nishi's 20.46, with Amlan Borgohain of India taking bronze with a season best 20.55. Waseda's Aoi Inage was last in 21.10 after having run a PB 20.64 +1.1 m/s for 3rd in SF3. Both Japanese men in the 5000 m heats qualified easily for the final, Komazawa University's Taiyo Yasuhara jogging a 14:42.91 for 5th in Heat 1 and Tokai University's Shotaro Ishihara cruising to 2nd in Heat 2 in 14:31.91. Tsukuba University's Saki Katagihara made it through to the final in the women

Three Boys Sub-14 in 5000 m Heats at National High School Championships

In distance action on Day 3 of the Sapporo National High School Track and Field Championships , the 5000 m saw 3 boys go sub-14 in the qualifying heats. Duncan Maina (Senshudai Kumamoto H.S.) led the 5 qualifiers from the relatively low-key Heat 1 in 14:25.23. Things escalated in Heat 2, where Kaito Matsui (Saitama Sakae H.S.) led 6 of the 7 qualifiers under 14:08 in 14:02.90. Things went even further in Heat 3, with Samuel Kibathi (Kurashiki H.S.) running 13:56.21, Eliud Kabiga (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) 2nd in 13:56.79, and Sota Orita (Suma Gakuen H.S.) 3rd in 13:58.38. The other 3 qualifiers from Heat 3 were all under 14:08, setting up a deep and potentially fast final tomorrow. In the girls' 800 m, Daisy Jerop (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) led the first round in 2:08.47 to win Heat 2, with Heat 1 winner Rin Kubo (Higashi Osakadai Keiai H.S.) running 2:09.20, the top 4 in Heat 3 under 2:10, and the top 2 in Heat 6 both under 2:10. Fresh off running the fastest-ever 1500 m by a 10th grade

Shobu Takes Steeplechase Bronze - World University Games Day Three Japanese Results

Waseda University's Atsushi Shobu added another medal to Japan's so far petite haul on day 3 of athletics competition at the Chengdu World University Games . Running the men's 3000 mSC, Shobu sat at the back of the lead pack throughout the race. In 5th at the bell, Shobu moved up into 3rd on the back straight, then was overtaken by Germany's Nick Jager heading into the curve. Both passed Czech Damian Vich and kept up their duel for 2nd until the final obstacle, where Shobu hesitated and lost ground. Jens Mergenthaler took gold in 8:38.42, Jager making it a German 1-2 with a silver in 8:40.53 to Shobu's 8:40.84 for bronze. The men's 400 m final was maybe the race of the day, with the top 6 all running new PBs and Portugal's Joao Coelho and Australian Reece Holder both going under the WUG record in a photo finish. Coelho was timed at 44.782 for gold, with Holder officially running 44.785 for silver. Romanian Mihai-Sorin Dringo took bronze in a PB of 45.2