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Takuma Sunaoka Joins Sumitomo Denko Corporate Team


The Sumitomo Denko corporate team has announced that Takuma Sunaoka has joined its men's long distance program. Sunaoka, 24, is a native of Tokyo. At Saitama's Seibo Gakuen H.S. he didn't make a mark at the national level but ran a respectable 14:14.75 for 5000 m. After entering Josai University he began to improve, and during his third year there he made his collegiate ekiden debut at the National University Men's Ekiden.

Placing an excellent 2nd on the 1st leg in that run, he was put on the 1st leg two months later at the Hakone Ekiden, where he ran well for 7th. In December, 2021 at the Edion Distance Challenge he ran 13:19.96 for 5000 m, at the time the 2nd-fastest ever by a Japanese-born collegiate runner, and attracted attention for his track speed.

Sunaoka was recruited by the Konica Minolta corporate team after graduating, and in January this year was 3rd on the New Year Ekiden 1st leg. At the end of March he quit Konica Minolta and started training at Josai again. Running unattached, on May 4 he ran a career 2nd-best 13:27.55, the fastest time by a Japanese runner at the Golden Games in Nobeoka meet.

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