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Hironaka Silver, Murayama and Fujii Bronze - Hangzhou Asian Games Day 1 Highlights


Athletics started Friday at the Hangzhou Asian Games, with Japanese athletes scoring medals in 3 of the day's 5 finals. Yutaro Murayama and Nanako Fujii kicked it off at 7:00 a.m. in the 20 km race walk. Murayama was the only man able to go with Chinese duo Jun Zhang and Zhaozhao Wang, but both pulled away to make it a 1-2 for the Games hosts in the opening event. Zhang took gold in 1:23:00, Wang silver in 1:24:08 with Murayama 33 seconds back in 1:24:41 for bronze. Tomohiro Noda was well back in 4th in 1:27:08, having served a 21-second penalty mid-race.

Starting 10 minutes later, the women's race podium ended up looking exactly the same but with very different race development. China's Jiauyu Yang and Zhenxia Ma were way out front most of the way and couldn't have been closer at the end, Yang taking gold in 1:30:03 and Ma silver in 1:30:04. Fujii was almost a kilometer behind in 1:33:49 for silver, with teammate Yukiko Umeno 4th in 1:39:44.

In the evening session, women's hammer throw NR holder Joy McArthur couldn't perform up to the level she was at earlier this season when she threw her 69.89 m NR. In Hangzhou the best she could manage was a season-worst 61.01 m for 6th. It was another 1-2 for China, Zheng Wang winning gold at 71.53 m and Jie Zhao silver at 69.44 m, with South Korea's Taehui Kim throwing a 64.14 m PB to take bronze.

All-time JPN #3 Ririka Hironaka was the only Japanese woman in the 10000 m, which had only 8 starters including 3 African-born women. Hironaka set the early pace on sub-32 track before Bahraini duo Viola Jepchumba and Bontu Edao Rebitu took over, and well into the late stages of the race they stayed a trio. Hironaka slipped off midway through the second half, but retook Rebitu, who ultimately dropped out, and closed again to within 7 seconds of Jepchumba. Jepchumba took gold in a PB 31:43.73, Hironaka 31:50.74 for silver. With Rebitu dropping out Kenyan-born Caroline Kipkirui of Kazakhstan beat China's Yaxuan Li to the line for bronze in 33:15.83.

No Japanese athlete were in the women's shot put, where it was another Chinese 1-2. Lijao Gong won gold with a throw of 19.58 m, Jiayuan Song taking silver at 18.92 m. Baliyan Kiran put India on the medal table with a 17.36 m throw for bronze.

In qualifying rounds, men's 400 m NR holder Kentaro Sato and fellow sub-45 man Fuga Sato both won their heats, Fuga the fastest overall qualifier for the final at 45.56 in H3 and Kentaro 45.57 45.57 in H2. H1 winner Kalinga Kumarage of Sri Lanka matched that with a 45:57 of his own.

In the men's 100 m heats veterans Yoshihide Kiryu and Yuki Koike both moved on to the semifinals, Kiryu 2nd in H1 in 10.27 (-0.2) behind Thailand's Soraoat Dapbang, who ran a 10.26 PB, and Koike winning H2 in 10.27 (-0.2). China's Zhenye Xie was the fastest qualifier, putting on a show for the home crowd with a 10.07 (-0.2) to win H4.

© 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Stefan said…
Hironaka when fit and healthy always performs well. I'm really pleased with her recent results and to be given the Women's Captain role for someone so young is testament to her discipline and maturity. I'm now looking forward to her performances in the Exiden season and I believe she still has the 5000m to run in this event.

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