Monday, June 30, 2014

Omwamba, Kitonyi, Sumi and the Takamatsu Sisters Dominate Weekend Track Action

by Brett Larner

Just shy of six months since a stress fracture knocked Enock Omwamba and Yamanashi Gakuin University out of the 2014 Hakone Ekiden, Omwamba sent a clear signal that he is back to full strength.  Omwamba made a tentative return at last month's Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships with a double 1500 m and 5000 m win but sat out defending his title in the 10000 m.  In the first meet of this summer's Hokuren Distance Challenge series in Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Omwamba outran a half-dozen corporate-league Africans and top Japanese talent including sub-28 men Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta) and Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) to cut more than 15 seconds off his best as he won the 10000 m A-heat in 28:00.33.  With Omwamba fully recovered, senior Hiroto Inoue having cleared 62 minutes for the half marathon this season, the entire core of Yamanashi Gakuin Prep High School's 2013 National H.S Ekiden champion team joining its roster this year and the extra motivation of a DNF at Hakone this year, YGU should be a major threat in this fall's university ekiden season.

Omwamba's new PB also bettered that of his rival for the position of #1 Kenyan on the university circuit, Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.).  While Omwamba raced in Hokkaido, Kitonyi was in Tokyo to lead Nihon at the National University Men's Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier, a unique series of four track 10000 m races with two athletes per university running in each heat and their combined times determining their team score and the top seven schools earning places behind the top seeded schools at November's National University Men's Ekiden Championships.  After a sudden, violent thunderstorm that caused the alternates' race to be stopped after 4400 m, Kitonyi lead the fastest of the four heats to win in 28:15.99 over 2014 Kanto Region D1 10000 m champ Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), 2013 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) and others.  Despite his efforts, Nihon Univ. finished only 9th of the 20 schools in the field and failed to qualify for the National Championships.  Kanagawa University took the top position in 3:59:54.79 by a fraction of a second over Juntendo University, with Tokai University, Jobu University, Daito Bunka University, Josai University and Chuo Gakuin University joining them in qualifying.

Back in Hokkaido times in Fukagawa and the second Hokuren Distance Challenge meet in Shibetsu were relatively conservative.  Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin), who spent most of the spring training under Alberto Salazar with the Nike Oregon Project in the U.S., took a shot at improving on his all-time Japanese #6 5000 m PB of 13:20.80, but although he was well on track at 3000 m in 8:00-flat Osako faded badly to a 13:42.54 finish in Shibetsu.  The man sitting one place behind him on the all-time Japanese 10000 m lists, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) was again one step behind, running 13:44.46 in Fukagawa in his first serious race since making his marathon debut in Dubai in January.

Rina Yamazaki (Team Panasonic) led a decent women's 10000 m in Fukagawa that saw the top four clear 32:30, Yamazaki winning by four seconds in 32:17.25.  Kenyan Rosemary Wanjiru (Team Starts) continued her successful transition from Aomori Yamada H.S. to the corporate leagues with a 15:35.83 win in the Shibetsu women's 5000 m, where Natsuki Omori of 2013 National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University ran the fastest time of the weekend by a Japanese woman, 15:49.30.

Higher-level women's results came elsewhere in the country.  At the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials meet, Azusa Sumi, the star runner from 2013 National High School Girls' Ekiden champion Toyokawa H.S., ran 9:01.19, the fourth-best time ever by a Japanese high schooler, to win the 3000 m A-heat by almost 15 seconds.  It's an indication of how good Sumi's performance was that although both the Fukagawa and Shibetsu Hokuren meets had women's 3000 m on the schedule, the fastest time in either was only 9:15.02 by corporate league runner Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren).

Although most of the country's best athletes were up north in Hokkaido for summer training, Japan's 47 prefectures also held their prefectural track and field championships this weekend.  This year's 10000 m national champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) had an easy win in the Gunma Championships 5000 m, setting a meet record 16:14.02 to take the title.  Two weeks after setting a 50 km national record, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) picked up the Saitama 1500 m title in 3:56.48.  The most impressive results, however, came in Osaka where Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) and her younger sister Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin J.H.S.) went 1-2 in the 1500 m, both breaking Nozomi's 4:20.25 meet record from last year.  Nozomi again got the win in 4:19.59 but Tomomi was just behind in 4:19.96, the third-best ever by a Japanese junior high school student.  The daughter of Kenyan 2001 Nagano Marathon winner Maxwell Musembi and Japanese mother Kaoru Takamatsu, Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu will make her international debut in the 3000 m at next month's World Junior Championships in the U.S.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nojo and Mochizuki Take Lake Saroma 100 km Titles

by Brett Larner
complete results coming shortly

Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted the 29th running of the world's fastest ultra, Hokkaido's Lake Saroma 50 km and 100 km Ultramarathon.  Predicted temperatures over 25C meant probable slow times on the course that hosts both the men's and women's 100 km world records, but that did not stop defending men's 100 km winner Hideo Nojo (New Balance) from going for it.  An opening split of 36:03 for the first 10 km put him right on the cusp being on track to break 6 hours, but while that was clearly not going to be sustainable Nojo pushed on ahead of Takahiro Sunada's 6:13:33 world record pace until nearly halfway before the heat got the better of him.  Slowing to close to 45 minutes per 10 km by 70 km, Nojo rallied late in the race and went back under 40 minutes for the final 10 km to take the win in 6:40:15, three minutes slower than his winning time last year but a world lead by seven and a half minutes.

Women's winner Chiyuki Mochizuki (Canon AC Kyushu), the 2012 and 2013 Lake Saroma 50 km winner, started more conservatively in her 100 km debut, going out at 7:57 pace for the first 10 km before picking it up.  Like Nojo she slowed after halfway, but not long after 60 km she stabilized to just over 49:00 per 10 km, a pace she held all the way to her 7:55:09 finish.  Based on the strength of their performances, both Mochizuki and Nojo will likely lead the Japanese team for November's 100 km World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kawauchi Wins Saitama 1500 m Championship Title

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2014 Incheon Asian Games marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the 1500 m at this weekend's Saitama Prefecture Track and Field Championships at Kumagaya Sports Park Field.  Running both the semifinal and final on June 29, Kawauchi placed 1st in the semis in 3:55.18 before winning the final in 3:56.48 to happily claim his first prefectural title.

Kawauchi fell short of his PB of 3:50.51, but, he said with a smile, "I'm really, really happy to win the title.  It was important to me to win, and everything went according to plan.  Marathon runners don't have to just run the marathon!"

Asked for comment on Japanese-born comedian Hiroshi Neko being named to the Cambodian team for the Asian Games marathon, Kawauchi replied, "His best is slower than my worst, so what am I supposed to say about him?  I'm going there to win the gold medal.  His goal is something different.  It would be strange if I sent him encouragement.  Once the race is over it's of course important to respect each other's efforts in the competition, but it's strange to think that a member of the Japanese national team would cheer on a member of the Cambodian national team."

Next weekend Kawauchi runs Australia's Gold Coast Airport Marathon in defense of his win there last year.  "I want to play a leading role in the greatest marathon in Australian history," he said.

Translator's note: In his last race two weeks ago Kawauchi set the 50 km national record of 2:47:27.  His younger brother Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.) finished 3rd in the Saitama 1500 m final.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"If Kenyans Are Saying 'Wow, Man' Then I Have to Feel Confident" - Fujiwara On Training in Kenya Ahead of Australian Debut Vs. Kawauchi at Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner
photos c/o Arata Fujiwara

Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) is just about the most unpredictable elite runner in the world, a 2:07 marathoner who has run slower than 2:20 and even 2:30 as many times as he has hit it out of the park. An independent who, without a sponsor after quitting Japan’s rigid corporate team system in 2010, became just the fifth Japanese man in history and the first in over 20 years to win a marathon outside Japan sub-2:10 when he set a 2:09:34 course record at the 2010 Ottawa Marathon with support from JRN. His 2:07:48 at the 2012 Tokyo Marathon, again sponsorless, made him all-time #7 in the Japanese record books and got him both sponsors and a place in London, but he flamed out when it most counted at the Olympics.

Jumping into Fukuoka on a whim a few months later for an impromptu duel with Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t), Fujiwara beat his fellow indy rival by nearly a minute to take 4th in 2:09:31. After that 2013 was mostly a bust, the only bright spots being a 4th-place finish behind the three legends at last September’s Great North Run in the U.K. and a win at Japan’s Hakodate Half Marathon a month later, beating Kawauchi both times. His two marathons since then were both unsuccessful, a DNF at Fukuoka in December and a shuffling finish far down the field after pushing this year’s Tokyo at national record pace for the first 25 km. This spring when the Japanese Federation announced its new marathon National Team program featuring just about all of Japan’s current sub-2:10 men, Fujiwara’s name was left off the list.

Since then Fujiwara, now 32, has re-evaluated what he’s doing, creating a long-term plan to get him to what is likely to be his last Olympic shot in Rio. He completely reworked his training philosophy, hiring longtime Japan-based Kenyan Cyrus Njui as a full-time training partner and moving out of central Tokyo to softer, more spacious turf to the northwest in Saitama. Hearing that Kawauchi would return to Australia’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon on July 6 this year to try to improve on his CR-tying 2:10:01 win last July, Fujiwara set getting there first as the initial goal of the next phase of his career. With Njui joining Fujiwara in the Gold Coast field with support from JRN, the pair travelled to Kenya in mid-May to get down to business. On the final day of their training in Kenya JRN interviewed Fujiwara about how his training has changed, his goals for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and beyond, hiring Njui, and, of course, Kawauchi.

This is your first time in Kenya, right?

Yes, my first time. We’ve been here just over a month, about 35 days. We’ve been in two places, Kianyaga and Nyahururu. Kianyaga is south of Mount Kenya, where Cyrus is from. We were there for two weeks, then went to Nyahururu. Nyahururu is one of the famous training areas, at an elevation of about 2400 m. 2380 m, I think. That’s where we’ve been now for over two weeks. We originally planned to train in Iten too, but going to three places made things too busy so we changed plans and stayed in Nyahururu.

How would you compare the training you're doing there to altitude training you’ve done previously in St. Moritz and elsewhere?

When I’ve trained in Kunming and St. Moritz at around 1700 or 1800 m elevation it was pretty tough, but Kianyaga didn’t seem that hard. I didn’t feel like I was suffering even though it was about 1800 m. I ran a lot on hills there on a cross-country loop at a moderate pace, then have focused more on speed since we came to Nyahururu. After we got to Nyahururu it really felt like altitude training. I definitely started suffering, but a good suffering, the kind of pain that you know is the result of you improving. That has been a great encouragement.

Needless to say, when you’re running at 2400 m you’re going to go a lot slower compared to what you do running near sea level in Japan. In our 2000 m X 3 workout today, the last before we head to Nairobi tomorrow to fly back to Japan, I was doing them in a little over six minutes, about 6:05 or 6:06. If I was doing this workout in Japan they would be around 5:45 or 5:50, basically sub-3:00 pace, but compared to that the effects of altitude made the workout here much tougher. The other Kenyans are better at handling it, but they’ve been saying, “It’s amazing that you’ve survived this long.” I don’t really have anything to measure myself against, so if Kenyans are saying, “Wow, man,” then I have to feel a little confident. (laughs)

Can you give us an idea of the basic overall training regimen you’ve gone through since arriving there?

It was divided into two parts, Kianyaga and Nyahururu. At first in Kianyaga the key workouts were cross-country runs and a buildup on a dirt road. I did the cross-country workout three times, 15 km the first time, 20 km the second time and 25 km the third. That was on a grass cross-country loop around a tea field at about 2100 m. It wasn’t really an established course, just a route we made ourselves. One loop was about 1.6 km. The buildup workout was at about 1500 m on a slightly downhill course. We’d start at a jog and end up just over 3:00 per km pace over a total of 16 km. I did that workout three times as well.

In between these workouts it was easy jogging, but here the easy jogs are tough too. (laughs) No joke, they were hard. I figured that out pretty quickly. So, if in name only, at least, I did some “easy jogs” up and down the mountain on different courses. There were a lot of hills, so even jogging uphill became like getting in another hard workout. In between the cross-country and buildup workouts there were one or two days of these runs they were calling “easy jogs.” Doing this I could feel that I was steadily getting into better and better shape. The buildup workout was a lot faster the third time than when we did it the first time.

That was the Kianyaga part of the training. Once we got to Nyahururu we started doing more speed work, alternating speed and longer distance. The first track workout was 600 m X 10. After that was another 400 m X 10 workout with all ten of the 400s in about 68 seconds, then 30 km the next day. Next was 1000 m X 5, then another interval workout, then 1000 m X 5 again. The second 1000 m workout was a lot better than the first one, about 3:02 to 3:03 for each rep. The pace was faster the first time, but it was right after we got to Nyahururu and it was tough to handle the altitude so I had to sit a couple out.

That was at 2400 m?

Yes, 2380 m. Next after that was 25 km on a course with really serious ups and downs. It was net downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back. [Samuel] Wanjiru used that course when he was training for the Beijing Olympics. I heard that he ran the uphill part on the way back at 3:30 per km pace. I did it at around 4:10 or 4:20 pace. (laughs) Even that was really tough, but I could still keep up. I did that run with Cyrus.

Was that the workout you emailed me about where you ran with a big group of twenty or thirty guys that shook down to about five by the end?

No, that was a different run. That was an easy jog. (laughs) At the start they said it was going to be an easy jog, but along the way everyone started battling. (laughs) An “easy jog” in name only. But that’s part of Kenya’s strength. That run didn’t count as a workout since it was just a morning run, but it was really hard anyway. I wore my heart rate monitor and it was about the same as when I did serious workouts. That’s why everybody died along the way. But that was different from the 25 km workout.

Overall, what has been different this time from how you’ve trained for marathons in the past?

Basically, up to now I’ve always placed the greatest emphasis on time, like running at 3:00 per km pace. If I was at sea level, for example, my progression would be doing 1000 m X 10 at exactly 3:00 per km, then 2000 m X 5 at 3:00 again, and once I could do that then 3000 m X 5 at 3:00. Up to now I’ve always focused on trying to perfect running “three minutes,” building and building the distance over time.

In Kenya I’m dealing with altitude and rough courses with a lot of ups and downs, so I have no idea what pace I’m really running. If we’re just talking about getting the workouts in then I’ve really been getting it done, but whether it’s a long pace run or an interval workout it’s hard to read into the times because of the altitude and hills, and since I don’t have any experience with this kind of situation it’s hard to say what kind of time I’m ready to run. But my body feels in great condition so I’m not that worried about it. Overall I’ve had to let go of being fixated on times and take confidence from knowing that I’ve put in good, hard work that isn’t reflected in the times, and that has been radically different from how I’ve managed my training in Japan.

Your last two marathons didn’t go well. In Fukuoka you dropped out and in Tokyo you slowed down dramatically after running near national record pace through 25 km. How would you compare your preparations this time to those two races?

For Fukuoka I was training very focused on times and I thought I was relatively ready, not perfect but about 70%. But it was a total failure, a real confidence shaker. It was hard right from the beginning. I felt heavy and knew I couldn’t make it to 40 km, and dropped out at 20 km. In Tokyo, I’d had the flu so I hadn’t gotten in good training and was not confident. I was half thinking of pulling out before the race, but among other things there was pressure from the organizers to run, so I ran. Once we started I was surprised at how well I was moving, the first time in a long time that I had felt good and comfortable during a race. That was the way it developed. Overall I ended up with a bad result but along the way Tokyo was the first time in a long time that I felt like I was running an interesting race. My training had been totally insufficient, but being able to run as far as I did as well as I did on that kind of training base gave me some confidence back. If I could do that, then if I could get in a solid training cycle I knew I could still be competitive.

Compared to Tokyo, my training this time has been absolutely great. I’m lean and I’ve got the mileage in. It’s been at altitude so the speed has not been what it usually would, but I feel like once I go back down I’ll be able to fly. Overall, if you wanted to compare it to Tokyo, things are looking pretty good.

What are your goals for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon?

I want to break 2:10. If I’m lucky, 2:08, 2:07. That’s what I’d like to shoot for, especially since a lot of other Japanese are running. I wasn’t picked for the marathon National Team, so I’d like to get a little payback for that, and in that respect the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is perfect timing. I’m doing it my way. I’m imagining the headlines saying that I made a comeback by training here in Kenya. That’s the kind of race I want to run.

I’m definitely very conscious of Kawauchi being there, and especially that he’s viewed as a hero in Australia. I guess that makes me the anti-hero. That’s the role I’ll be playing there. I know he’s looking to join the overseas sub-2:10 win club, so it’s my job to be the anti-hero and stop that from happening. (laughs)

What do you think about Hirokatsu Kurosaki from the national champion Konica Minolta corporate team? He was one of the guys who benefitted a lot from your pacing in Tokyo and ended up with a solid time, 2:09:07.

I wasn’t thinking about him at all in Tokyo, but to run that kind of time in his third marathon was pretty awesome. He was in great shape. I think he’ll be in good shape this time too. Kurosaki’s running rhythm matches mine pretty well, so it’s easy to run together and that’s a plus to me. Overall, a lot of tough guys are coming this time. If it comes down to a race after 30 km I’m totally confident, so in that sense I’m feeling good about my chances of winning.

This spring you hired Cyrus Njui to your Arata Project company. Could you talk about him?

Cyrus Njui’s contract with the Hitachi Butsuryu team ran out this spring. He has been in Japan for over thirteen years and wanted to stay based there, so a mutual friend came to me and asked if there wasn’t a way for him to work with me. From my point of view, I thought having Cyrus to train with would be a major plus, so I talked to him about becoming training partners and we both felt that it would work out well. We thought of approaching Miki House about supporting him, but my sponsor contract with them is an individual one and so rather than via Miki House we decided it would work better if he was supported as a member of the Arata Project. It’s kind of a first.

For me, I’ve sort of had a pattern of how I’m going about things since I went independent four years ago, but that pattern was a little too fixed and it just led to me banging up against a wall without being able to find a way through. I couldn’t figure out what I needed to change, and so in that regard a new stimulus, a new storm called Cyrus is blowing through and that has led me to really revamp what I’m doing. The result of that is I’m here in Kenya now. Basically the only way to know if it was the right or wrong decision is to look at the race results, but I feel like I’m going in the right direction with the big changes I’ve made. But coming here to Kenya and training with Cyrus has been something really memorable, a major motivator and it has really helped my fitness. In that respect it was definitely a good thing. I plan to come back in August. Training at 2400 m, you really need at least two months. The first month it’s just suffering as your body adjusts, but if you have a second month then you can really train. If I come back and do that then I think I can go for 2:06.

text (c) 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
photos (c) 2014 Arata Fujiwara, all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Regional Qualifiers Set Up July's National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Just over a month out from the 2014 National High School Track and Field Championships regional qualifying action has wrapped up, with most regions holding their qualifiers the June 20-23 weekend after an earlier round in other regions the weekend before.  Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) brought one of the best performances of the weekend with a 9:10.08 to win the Kinki region girls' 3000 m, but with Nao Yamamoto (Tokuha Gakuen Kikugawa H.S.) running 9:10.39 to win the Tokai region qualifier the national meet should be close. Along with earlier standout results like the 13:56.55 win by Silas Kingori (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) and 14:13.67 runner-up finish by Hiroki Miura (Tohoku H.S.) last weekend in the Tohoku region boys' 5000 m, this weekend's best performances included:

  • Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) running 2:08.47 to win the Kinki girls' 800 m.
  • Naoto Ozawa (Kusatsu Higashi H.S.) winning the Kinki boys' 1500 m in 3:49.95 before doubling to win the 5000 m in 14:29.34.
  • Motoi Nabeshima (Katsura H.S.) taking the Kinki boys' 800 m in 1:51.75.
  • Azusa Sumi (Toyokawa H.S.) winning the Tokai region girls' 1500 m in 4:21.33 by less than 0.20 seconds over teammate Hinano Yamada.
  • Paul Kamais (Sera H.S.) winning the Chugoku region boys' 5000 m in 14:09.83, the fastest time of the weekend's high school meets.
  • Ryuya Kajiya (Hakuoh Prep Ashikaga H.S.) running the weekend's fastest time by a Japanese boy, 14:19.42, to win the North Kanto region 5000 m after picking up the 1500 m title in a more conservative 4:04.26.

Overall the results in distance and other events compared very favorably to those at the simultaneous Brooks PR Invitational high school meet in the U.S., where the top Japanese high schoolers' marks would have put them in the top three in almost every event.  A great database covering the top results at each regional meet along with extensive coverage of other Japanese high school track and field results is maintained by Bruce Carrick on the site, essential reading for anyone interested in the depth and quality of another underdocumented area of Japanese athletics.

Kinki Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Kyoto, June 20-22

Girls 3000 m Final - June 22
1. Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 9:10.08
2. Kureha Seki (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:21.28
3. Ena Kagayama (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 9:21.82
4. Yuki Maehata (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:22.38
5. Fukiko Ando (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:22.51

Girls 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Maiko Konishi (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 4:27.17
2. Aki Manabe (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 4:27.97
3. Aiko Moriguchi (Nishinomiya H.S.) - 4:28.08
4. Karin Yasumoto (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 4:28.69
5. Kyoka Mori (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 4:28.80

Girls 800 m Final - June 22
1. Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 2:08.47
2. Hina Takahashi (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 2:10.26
3. Moe Kawaharada (Hieizan H.S.) - 2:10.59
4. Moyu Tashiro (Nagata H.S.) - 2:10.73
5. Asaka Sugiura (Saikyo H.S.) - 2:10.98

Boys 5000 m Final - June 22
1. Naoto Ozawa (Kusatsu Higashi H.S.) - 14:29.34
2. Tomoya Morita (Higashi Harima H.S.) - 14:31.60
3. Kensuke Horio (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 14:34.02
4. Yuichiro Nishikawa (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 14:34.93
5. Taisei Hashizume (Wakayama Kita H.S.) - 14:36.79

Boys 1500 m - June 20
1. Naoto Ozawa (Kusatsu Higashi H.S.) - 3:49.95
2. Haruki Nishimura (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 3:50.87
3. Yuta Bando (Tsuna H.S.) - 3:50.91
4. Motoi Nabeshima (Katsura H.S.) - 3:51.05
5. Taisei Hashizume (Wakayama Kita H.S.) - 3:51.45

Boys 800 m - June 22
1. Motoi Nabeshima (Katsura H.S.) - 1:51.75
2. Haruki Nishimura (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) -1:52.38
3. Keita Ueda (Ikuno H.S.) - 1:53.00
4. Shion Yamori (Tenoji H.S.) - 1:53.37
5. Keiji Fujiwara (Akashi Josai Prep H.S.) - 1:53.52

Tokai Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Aichi, June 20-22

Girls 3000 m - June 21
1. Nao Yamamoto (Tokuha Gakuen Kikugawa H.S.) - 9:10.39
2. Nodoka Aoki (Mashita Seifu H.S.) - 9:12.77
3. Chiaki Nakane (Chukyo Prep H.S.) - 9:24.17
4. Haruka Nishiyama (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - 9:26.77
5. Yuka Kanamori (Gifu Shogyo H.S.) - 9:28.84

Girls 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Azusa Sumi (Toyokawa H.S.) - 4:21.33
2. Hinano Yamada (Toyokawa H.S.) - 4:21.52
3. Yuka Sarumida (Toyokawa H.S.) - 4:22.09
4. Nao Yamamoto (Tokuha Gakuen Kikugawa H.S.) - 4:22.24
5. Chiaki Nakane (Chukyo Prep H.S.) - 4:22.25

Girls 800 m Final - June 21
1. Nanako Matsumoto (Hamamatsu Municipal H.S.) - 2:09.61
2. Chika Mukai (Shigakukan H.S.) - 2:09.99
3. Naoko Muto (Hamamatsu Nishi H.S.) - 2:13.18

Boys 5000 m Final - June 22
1. Fuminori Shimo (Iga Hakuoh H.S.) - 14:29.25
2. Atsushi Yamato (Aichi H.S.) - 14:31.98
3. Kazuma Ohata (Shimada H.S.) - 14:33.28
4. Hirotomo Obata (Toyokawa Kogyo H.S.) - 14:33.69
5. Tatsuya Sumide (Iga Hakuoh H.S.) - 14:34.10

Boys 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Namiki Oishi (Fujieda Meisei H.S.) - 3:55.96
2. Ryosuke Tawada (Aichi H.S.) - 3:57.14
3. Yuto Aoki (Aichi H.S.) - 3:57.21

Boys 800 m Final - June 21
1. Ryo Asai (Zuiryo H.S.) - 1:56.71
2. Shun Hakamata (Hamamatsu Konan H.S.) - 1:56.86
3. Kazuki Kawamura (Ogaki Nihon Prep H.S.) - 1:57.22

South Kanto Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Kanagawa, June 20-23

Girls 3000 m - June 23
1. Mina Kato (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) - 9:19.42
2. Sae Harada (Narita H.S.) - 9:19.70
3. Natsuki Sekiya (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - 9:22.21
4. Miyu Hatakeyama (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:22.97
5. Nozomi Terauchi (Hadano H.S.) - 9:23.09

Girls' 1500 m Final - June 21
1. Mina Ueda (Narita H.S.) - 4:33.25
2. Mina Kato (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) - 4:33.37
3. Kana Sugiyama (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) - 4:33.56

Girls 800 m Final - June 22
1. Shizuka Okuda (Tokyo H.S.) - 2:11.51
2. Mina Ueda (Narita H.S.) - 2:11.79
3. Kana Sugiyama (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) - 2:13.15

Boys 5000 m - June 21
1. Takuya Hanyu (Yachiyo Shoin Gakuen H.S.) - 14:34.90
2. Kohei Namba (Senshu Prep Matsudo H.S.) - 14:38.11
3. Takumi Kato (Narita H.S.) - 14:41.86
4. Kengo Yajima (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - 14:52.63
5. Shogo Ise (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - 14:52.96

Boys 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Kenta Umetani (Tokai Prep Boyo H.S.) - 3:56.79
2. Renya Maeda (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) - 3:56.90
3. Takeshi Okada (Koku Gakuin Prep Kugayama H.S.) - 3:57.91

Boys 800 m Final - June 22
1. Kenta Umetani (Tokai Prep Boyo H.S.) -1:57.01
2. Renya Maeda (Funabashi Municipal H.S.) -1:57.48
3. Atsushi Nada (Nihon Prep H.S.) - 1:58.45

North Kanto Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Kanagawa, June 20-23

Girls 3000 m - June 23
1. Ayaka Nakagawa (Shohei H.S.) - 9:24.02
2. Harumi Okamoto (Tokiwa H.S.) - 9:25.78
3. Yuki Sato (Ibaraki Christian H.S.) - 9:26.64
4. Yuka Kobayashi (Tokiwa H.S.) - 9:26.86
5. Yuka Ando (Hakuoh Prep Ashikaga H.S.) - 9:28.52

Girls 1500 m Final - June 21
1. Ayaka Nakagawa (Shohei H.S.) - 4:24.49
2. Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) - 4:26.01
3. Yuki Kometani (Tokiwa H.S.) - 4:26.63
4. Yuka Kobayashi (Tokiwa H.S.) - 4:27.80
5. Moeko Takagi (Nasu Takuyo H.S.) - 4:28.49

Girls 800 m Final - June 22
1. Airi Hagiwara (Niijima Gakuen H.S.) - 2:15.68
2. Rika Takamizawa (Sakado Nishi H.S.) - 2:15.91
3. Ayaka Nakagawa (Shohei H.S.) - 2:16.15

Boys 5000 m - June 21
1. Ryuya Kajiya (Hakuoh Prep Ashikaga H.S.) - 14:19.42
2. Kenta Shimizu (Chuo Chuto Kyoiku H.S.) - 14:20.18
3. Kohei Nakajima (Suijo H.S.) - 14:23.63
4. Ryoji Tatezawa (Saitama Sakae H.S.) - 14:25.19
5. Kazuya Shiojiri (Isesaki Seimei H.S.) - 14:33.54

Boys 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Ryuya Kajiya (Hakuoh Prep Ashikaga H.S.) - 4:04.26
2. Ko Kobayashi (Toyo Prep Ushiku H.S.) - 4:04.60
3. Shin Saito (Isesaki Shogyo H.S.) - 4:04.61

Boys 800 m Final - June 22
1. Takumi Yokokawa (Nakanojo H.S.) - 1:54.25
2. Ko Kobayashi (Toyo Prep Ushiku H.S.) - 1:54.38
3. Rikuto Iijima (Midorioka H.S.) - 1:54.63

Chugoku Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Hiroshima, June 20-22

Girls 3000 m - June 21
1. Shinobu Koyoshigawa (Sera H.S.) - 9:23.29
2. Sayaka Takarada (Kojokan H.S.) - 9:24.89
3. Kanako Takemoto (Saikyo H.S.) - 9:26.53
4. Koma Adachi (Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S.) - 9:28.56
5. Yuki Munehisa (Saikyo H.S.) - 9:29.18

Girls 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Arisa Yamamoto (Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S.) - 4:37.92
2. Sara Takahashi (Kojokan H.S.) - 4:39.00
3. Sumire Kuramoto (Kojokan H.S.) - 4:39.36

Girls 800 m Final - June 22
1. Shoko Fukuda (Matsue Kita H.S.) - 2:13.17
2. Saki Kamioka (Okayama Joto H.S.) - 2:13.24
3. Airi Ikezaki (Funairi H.S.) - 2:13.38

Boys 5000 m - June 21
1. Paul Kamais (Sera H.S.) - 14:09.83
2. Shiki Shinsako (Sera H.S.) - 14:25.87
3. Daiju Nakashima (Sera H.S.) - 14:33.13
4. Kiyosumi Higashijima (Yonago Shoin H.S.) - 14:43.49
5. Kakeru Nakamura (Saikyo H.S.) - 14:44.72

Boys 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Kakeru Nakamura (Saikyo H.S.) - 4:01.44
2. Kenshiro Harada (Takagawa Gakuen H.S.) - 4:03.51
3. Shuto Tomita (Tokuyama Kogyo H.S.) - 4:03.69

Boys 800 m Final - June 22
1. Shusei Matsuo (Keishin H.S.) - 1:56.90
2. Rito Yasuda (Fuchu H.S.) - 1:57.05
3. Tsubasa Tokunaga (Okayama Sozan H.S.) - 1:58.33

Hokushinetsu Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Nagano, June 20-22

Girls 3000 m - June 22
1. Rino Kojima (Seiryo H.S.) - 9:35.92
2. Yukine Oguchi (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 9:36.88
3. Kanna Tamaki (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 9:41.72

Girls 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Aoi Mukara (Mikata H.S.) - 4:32.69
2. Rino Kojima (Seiryo H.S.) - 4:32.97
3. Kana Tsuchida (Niigata Meiken H.S.) - 4:33.26

Girls 800 m Final - June 22
1. Shiho Hasegawa (Nanao H.S.) - 2:13.79
2. Ai Hagihara (Tokamachi H.S.) - 2:14.65
3. Yuika Murotani (Tonami H.S.) - 2:15.23

Boys 5000 m - June 22
1. Isaac Mbugul (Kaishi Kokusai H.S.) - 14:29.94
2. Shun Izawa (Tokai Prep Daisan H.S.) - 14:42.82
3. Takahiro Horii (Sabae H.S.) - 14:44.88
4. Kazuya Azegami (Sekine Gakuen H.S.) - 14:47.07
5. Hikari Yamazaki (Nagano Nihon Prep H.S.) - 14:49.07

Boys 1500 m Final - June 20
1. Isaac Mbugul (Kaishi Kokusai H.S.) - 3:58.46
2. Takehiro Matsuda (Sabae H.S.) - 4:00.54
3. Shun Yuzawa (Tokai Prep Daisan H.S.) - 4:00.88

Boys 800 m Final - June 22
1. Kento Masuda (Hokuriku H.S.) - 1:52.70
2. Daichi Nakajima (Kiso Seiho H.S.) - 1:52.80
3. Kazuomi Hanaoka (Niigata Meiken H.S.) - 1:53.26
4. Masaya Tezuka (Tokai Prep Daisan H.S.) - 1:53.53
5. Takao Kitao (Nyuzen H.S.) - 1:53.65

Hokkaido Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Kushiro, June 17-20

Girls 3000 m - June 20
1. Momoko Tokuya (Sapporo Nihon Prep H.S.) - 9:34.22
2. Airi Tanaka (Asahikawa Ryukoku Prep H.S.) - 9:38.15
3. Nagisa Kato (Sapporo Nihon Prep H.S.) - 9:53.12

Girls 1500 m Final - June 18
1. Saya Shiraishi (Asahikawa Ryukoku Prep H.S.) - 4:33.37
2. Mizuki Kato (Sapporo Nihon Prep H.S.) - 4:33.60
3. Mayu Okuna (Sapporo Nihon Prep H.S.) - 4:35.14

Girls 800 m Final - June 19
1. Saya Shiraishi (Asahikawa Ryukoku Prep H.S.) - 2:14.19
2. Mizuki Kato (Sapporo Nihon Prep H.S.) - 2:14.91
3. Kazuna Uke (Kitami Hokuto H.S.) - 2:17.03

Boys 5000 m - June 19
1. Charles Ndungu (Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) - 14:13.08
2. Yohei Komatsu (Tokai Prep Daiyon H.S.) - 15:19.44
3. Naoya Katsuragawa (Sapporo Nihon Prep H.S.) - 15:19.78

Boys 1500 m Final - June 17
1. Yohei Komatsu (Tokai Prep Daiyon H.S.) - 3:58.95
2. Yuki Niizeki (Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) - 3:59.42
3. Ryotaro Kawakami (Tokai Prep Daiyon H.S.) - 4:00.48

Boys 800 m Final - June 19
1. Yusuke Nakagawa (Takikawa Nishi H.S.) - 1:56.68
2. Arata Koga (Hakodate Municipal H.S.) - 1:57.58
3. Koki Shimazu (Hakodate Prep Yuto H.S.) - 1:57.59

Shikoku Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Kagawa, June 14-16

Girls 3000 m - June 16
1. Minori Tani (Naruto H.S.) - 9:39.83
2. Ikumi Fukura (Tomioka Higashi H.S.) - 9:43.59
3. Chihoka Nakazato (Yamada H.S.) - 9:43.81

Girls 1500 m Final - June 14
1. Minori Tani (Naruto H.S.) - 4:29.07
2. Noa Ito (Yawatahama H.S.) - 4:29.65
3. Ikumi Fukura (Tomioka Higashi H.S.) - 4:34.51

Girls 800 m Final - June 15
1. Kako Okada (Yawatahama H.S.) - 2:16.38
2. Masaki Tokunaga (Imabari Kita H.S.) - 2:16.60
3. Misaki Ogata (Komatsushima Nishi H.S.) - 2:17.30

Boys 5000 m - June 15
1. Taku Tomihara (Jinsei Gakuen H.S.) - 15:11.06
2. Tomoaki Wake (Yawatahama H.S.) - 15:12.33
3. Shin Takeuchi (Matsuyama Kogyo H.S.) - 15:13.33

Boys 1500 m Final - June 14
1. Taku Tomihara (Jinsei Gakuen H.S.) - 3:56.28
2. Koichi Saijo (Tomioka Higashi H.S.) - 3:57.74
3. Shingo Kagawa (Jinsei Gakuen H.S.) - 3:57.94

Boys 800 m Final - June 15
1. Issei Murakami (Imabari Nishi H.S.) - 1:55.44
2. Ryohei Iio (Yawatahama H.S.) - 1:55.52
3. Kodai Kiyomura (Niihama Nishi H.S.) - 1:55.63

Tohoku Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Miyagi, June 13-16

Girls 3000 m - June 16
1. Mariam Waithera (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 9:19.35
2. Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 9:33.81
3. Kanako Yahagi (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 9:36.95

Girls 1500 m Final - June 14
1. Monica Margaret (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 4:23.43
2. Kanako Yahagi (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 4:27.06
3. Yuzuna Endo (Yamagata Johoku H.S.) - 4:29.42

Girls 800 m Final - June 16
1. Asami Nishida (Iwaki Sakuragaoka H.S.) - 2:13.47
2. Ayane Kumagai (Morioka Seio H.S.) - 2:14.43
3. Karen Mori (Kosei Gakuin H.S.) - 2:16.16

Boys 5000 m - June 14
1. Silas Kingori (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 13:56.55
2. Hiroki Miura (Tohoku H.S.) - 14:13.67
3. John Kariuki (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 14:14.62
4. Hayate Kurumada (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 14:18.02
5. Haruki Minatoya (Akita Kogyo H.S.) - 14:21.64

Boys 1500 m Final - June 13
1. John Kariuki (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 3:50.03
2. Yota Endo (Yamagata Minami H.S.) - 3:52.48
3. Takanori Hayashi (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 3:52.53
4. Tsubasa Komuro (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 3:53.02
5. Katsutoshi Monoe (Kitakata H.S.) - 3:53.22

Boys 800 m Final - June 15
1. Ryusei Sakuraoka (Morioka Minami H.S.) - 1:54.11
2. Kazuyoshi Tamogami (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 1:54.63
3. Ren Takahashi (Shioko H.S.) - 1:54.65

South Kyushu Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Okinawa, June 12-15

Girls 3000 m - June 15
1. Haruka Tobimatsu (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:26.33
2. Rui Maenohara (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:27.40
3. Sayaka Onitsuka (Miyazaki Nihon Prep H.S.) - 9:28.06
4. Yuri Nozoe (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:28.78
5. Kyoka Nakagawa (Kumamoto Shinai Joshi Gakuin H.S,) - 9:28.97

Girls 1500 m Final - June 13
1. Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 4:24.76
2. Yuri Nozoe (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 4:25.80
3. Sayaka Onitsuka (Miyazaki Nihon Prep H.S.) - 4:27.76

Girls 800 m Final - June 14
1. Nanami Shigeyama (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 2:12.40
2. Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 2:12.58
3. Sumire Inudo (Kumamoto Shogyo H.S.) - 2:13.55

Boys 5000 m - June 13
1. Ryota Tanaka (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 14:46.49
2. Taku Hirosue (Kobayashi H.S.) - 14:49.67
3. Yusho Miyazaki (Kumamoto Chiharadai H.S.) - 14:49.75

Boys 1500 m Final - June 12
1. Taku Hirosue (Kobayashi H.S.) -3:55.72
2. Ryota Tanaka (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 3:55.91
3. Yuta Kanbayashi (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 3:56.26

Boys 800 m Final - June 14
1. Suguru Otakuro (Taragi H.S.) - 1:53.42
2. Kaisei Kakino (Yatsushiro Kogyo H.S.) - 1:55.13
3. Kohei Yamashiro (Maehara H.S.) - 1:56.09

North Kyushu Regional Qualifier
National H.S. Track and Field Championships
Oita, June 12-15

Girls 3000 m - June 15
1. Ayame Kazu (Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S.) - 9:30.63
2. Wakaba Kawakami (Isahaya H.S.) - 9:32.28
3. Ryoko Matsukawa (Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S.) - 9:32.97

Girls 1500 m Final - June 12
1. Yuka Matsumura (Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S.) - 4:29.79
2. Hikari Fukuda (Tokai Prep Daigo H.S.) - 4:30.60
3. Kyoko Tokunaga (Shimahara H.S.) - 4:30.60

Girls 800 m Final - June 14
1. Sae Shuto (Oita Nishi H.S.) - 2:09.69
2. Saki Miyata (Nagasaki Minami H.S.) - 2:10.36
3. Yukino Tsutsumi (Sasebo Nishi H.S.) - 2:10.44
4. Wakako Ikeda (Koka H.S.) - 2:10.66
5. Yuka Matsumura (Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S.) - 2:11.06

Boys 5000 m - June 13
1. Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) - 14:38.69
2. Kiyoshi Koga (Tosu Kogyo H.S.) - 14:39.99
3. Takaki Soejima (Shiroishi H.S.) - 14:40.26

Boys 1500 m Final - June 12
1. Shota Funatsu (Fukuoka Prep Ohori H.S.) - 3:58.47
2. Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) - 3:58.80
3. Yuichiro Sugi (Yanagawa H.S.) - 3:59.44

Boys 800 m Final - June 14
1. Shunichi Takaki (Koka H.S.) - 1:53.01
2. Shinki Ogawa (Isahaya H.S.) - 1:54.08
3. Daiki Matsuo (Keitoku H.S.) - 1:54.18

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hiroshi Neko Named to Cambodian National Team for Asian Games

translated by Brett Larner

Comedian Hiroshi Neko, 36, has been named to the Cambodian national team for this autumn's Incheon Asian Games in the marathon according to a June 22 press release from his management.  Neko, a Cambodian citizen, holds the all-time second-best Cambodian time of 2:30:26.  The Asian Games will be his third time being named to a Cambodian team for an international championships.  Neko commented, "I will do everything I can in training for the three months until the main event, and I will show everyone my best running there."

The Japanese-born Neko, whose real name is Kuniaki Takizaki, took Cambodian citizenship in 2011.  He was initially named to Cambodia's 2012 London Olympics team, but due to eligibility issues surrounding his transfer of citizenship he was unable to run.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

'Pacemaker Ronoh Stuns Kipsang in Olomouc, While Kiplagat Breaks Course Record'

Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon
Olomouc, Czech Republic, 6/22/14

1. Geoffrey Ronoh (Kenya) - 1:00:17
2. Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 1:00:25
3. Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) - 1:01:42
4. Wilfred Kirwa Kigen (Kenya) - 1:01:56
5. Joel Kipkoech Kimutai (Kenya) - 1:02:49
6. Nicholas Kipchirchir Bor (Kenya) - 1:03:20
7. Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland) - 1:03:23
8. Kenji Yamamoto (Japan/Team Mazda) - 1:03:28
9. Marcin Chabowski (Poland) - 1:03:32
10. Paul Kariuki Mwangi (Kenya) - 1:03:33

1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:08:53
2. Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 1:09:23
3. Hirut Alemayehu (Ethiopia) - 1:10:57
4. Faith Jeruto Kipsum (Kenya) - 1:11:12
5. Janet Jelagat Rono (Kenya) - 1:12:40
6. Alyson Dixon (Great Britain) - 1:13:12
7. Kotomi Takayama (Japan/Team Wacoal) - 1:13:22
8. Mame Feyisa (Ethiopia) - 1:13:25
9. Yukari Abe (Japan/Team Shimamura) - 1:13:34

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mori Takes Two National Titles, Motanya Wins First at National University Individual Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Kenyan newcomer Lazarus Motanya (Obirin Univ.), winner of the D2 1500 m title at last month's Kanto Regional Track and Field Championships, returned this weekend for his first national title, winning the 1500 m at the National University Individual Track and Field Championships in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa on Friday.  Despite having only the 7th-fastest PB in the final, Motanya had no trouble frontrunning his way to the win against the overly cautious Japanese competition in 3:51.72.  Runner-up Tatsuya Shimizu (Toyo Univ.) was almost three seconds back in 3:54.28 with Chiu-Chin Tseng (Taiwan/National Sports University), one of a number of Taiwanese collegiates joining this year's meet, rounding out the podium in 3:54.39.

Motanya was back again on Saturday for the 5000 m but could not match a field that included many of 2012 Izumo Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University's A-squad.  AGU's Tadashi Isshiki, the course record-setter at February's Kanagawa Half Marathon, barely missed setting a meet record as he won in 14:00.72 with his teammates taking 3rd through 5th.  Challenging him for the win and the record in 14:00.92 and the only runner able to break through the AGU wall was Kentaro Hirai, a key member of the team that helped Kyoto University qualify two weeks ago for November's National University Ekiden Championships for the first time in 41 years.  Motanya was only 19th in 14:34.90.

With Daito Bunka University women having dominated Kanto Regionals last month it looked possible that they might also sweep the National Individual meet. DBU's Chikako Mori, who set a short-lived new university national record in the 3000 mSC at Kanto Regionals, got things off on the right foot with a 4:29.14 win in the 1500 m, but in the 5000 m her teammate Fuyuka Kimura fell victim to Kanaya Taiiku University's Rina Nabeshima who finished over 13 seconds ahead in 15:59.04.  Like AGU in the men's 5000 m, KTU dominated the women's race with its athletes also taking 3rd and 4th.  Mori returned on Sunday to win again in the steeple amid heavy rain, far off her Kanto Regionals mark in 10:14.31 but still ten seconds ahead of the competition.  The men's steeplechase, also on Sunday, saw Takumi Murashima (Juntendo Univ.) outrun Shuya Tsuda (Tsukuba Univ.) by less than a second to win in 8:53.57, just 0.05 off the meet record.

Strong winds resulted in some spectacular marks in some of the jumps and throws, but legit meet records did come in a few events.  Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) led the men's 200 m final with a meet record 20.64 (+1.8), with Kai Kobayashi (Waseda Univ.) joining him in the record books with a 40:31.36 meet record in the men's 10000 m walk.  Despite the wind Kanae Tatsuta (Mukogawa Joshi Univ.) cleared 4.01 m in the women's pole vault to set a new meet record by just 1 cm, while Orina Ushiro (Kokushikan Univ.) continued the forward trend in Japanese javelin with a 55.89 m women's meet record.

2014 National University Individual Track and Field Championships Highlights
Shonan BMW Stadium, Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, June 20-22, 2014
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m - June 21
1. Rina Nabeshima (Kanaya Taiiku Univ.) - 15:59.04
2. Fuyuka Kimura (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 16:12.05
3. Yuki Maekawa (Kanaya Taiiku Univ.) - 16:16.96
4. Rie Fujita (Kanaya Taiiku Univ.) - 16:21.71
5. Anna Matsuda (Matsuyama Univ.) - 16:29.66

Men's 5000 m - June 21
1. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 14:00.72
2. Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) - 14:00.92
3. Yuhi Akiyama (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 14:00.95
4. Yusuke Ogura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 14:09.76
5. Kento Sato (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 14:15.29
19. Lazarus Motanya (Kenya/Obirin Univ.) - 14:34.90

Women's 1500 m - final - June 20
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:29.14
2. Misaki Nakamura (Tsuru Bunka Univ.) - 4:29.40
3. Monami Ichimura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:29.92
4. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:33.48
5. Momoko Akiyama (Tsukuba Univ.) - 4:34.52

Men's 1500 m - final - June 20
1. Lazarus Motanya (Kenya/Obirin Univ.) - 3:51.72
2. Tatsuya Shimizu (Toyo Univ.) - 3:54.28
3. Chiu-Chin Tseng (Taiwan/National Sports University) - 3:54.39
4. Keisuke Morita (Tsukuba Univ.) - 3:54.40
5. Tenchi Kamitani (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 3:56.25

Men's 200 m - final (+1.8) - June 21
1. Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 20.64 - MR
2. Kazushi Kimura (International Pacific Univ.) - 21.04
3. Masaharu Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 21.05
4. Shota Yabuuchi (Chuo Univ.) - 21.07
5. Shotaro Aikyo (Waseda Univ.) - 21.23

Women's 3000 mSC - June 22
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:14.31
2. Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 10:24.87
3. Nanami Niwa (Chuo Univ.) - 10:25.70
4. Haruna Kaku (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 10:26.40
5. Emi Tsuji (Fukuoka Univ.) - 10:30.43

Men's 3000 mSC - June 22
1. Takumi Murashima (Juntendo Univ.) - 8:53.57
2. Shuya Tsuda (Tsukuba Univ.) - 8:53.96
3. Takuma Imai (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 8:56.46
4. Ting-Yin Chou (Taiwan/National Sports Univ.) - 8:58.29
5. Ryoya Nishikawa (Ryukoku Univ.) - 9:00.27

Men's 10000 m Walk - June 21
1. Kai Kobayashi (Waseda Univ.) - 40:31.36 - MR
2. Hotaka Ouchi (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 41:33.30
3. Nobuyuki Harada (Toyo Univ.) - 41:51.07
4. Yuki Ito (Hokusho Univ.) - 42:04.90
5. Masaki Yamamoto (Ryukoku Univ.) - 42:17.72

Women's Pole Vault - June 20
1. Kanae Tatsuta (Mukogawa Joshi Univ.) - 4.01 m - MR
2. Yuko Inomoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 3.80 m
3. Rina Mamiya (Chukyo Univ.) - 3.70 m
4. Remi Odajima (Seiwa Univ.) - 3.60 m
5. Rina Suzuki (Nittai Univ.) - 3.60 m

Women's Javelin Throw - June 20
1. Orina Ushiro (Kokushikan Univ.) - 55.89 m - MR
2. Yuka Sato (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 53.70 m
3. Hiroko Takigawa (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 53.68 m
4. Ai Yamauchi (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 52.76 m
5. Shiori Toma (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 50.84 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, June 20, 2014

Gold Coast Airport Marathon Announces Elite Fields - Adihana, Tum and Kamakya Vs. Fujiwara, Kawauchi and Kurosaki

by Brett Larner

For its first edition as an IAAF gold label race, the July 6 Gold Coast Airport Marathon has put together men's and women's elite fields worthy of the distinction, and especially in the men's race with the multiple story lines that make a good race worth watching.  Three 2:06 men, Gebretsadik Abraha Adihana (Ethiopia), Stephen Tum (Kenya) and course record holder Nicholas Manza Kamakya (Kenya) lead the way.  Facing them is defending champion and joint CR-holder Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).  In the race to ruin the day for Kawauchi are his arch-rival independent Arata Fujiwara (Mika House) and new training partner Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project), appearing with support from JRN.  Gunning for both Kawauchi and Fujiwara is the pride of the corporate leagues, Hirokatsu Kurosaki of two-time New Year Ekiden national corporate champion Team Konica Minolta.

What more could you want?  The 2:10:01 course record?  Done.  Rob de Castella's 2:09:18 Australian all-comers' record?  Hard to see it not going without bad conditions.  Jorg Peters' 2:09:14 record for the fastest marathon ever run in July?  Well, that's almost the same, but okay, we'll throw that in too.  It should be just about the greatest men's marathon Australia has seen, at least outside of the Sydney Olympics, and with worldwide live streaming everybody gets to join in the fun.

It's harder to see the 2:23:14 women's all-comers' record set by Naoko Takahashi at the 2000 Sydney Olympics falling, but with five women in the race with PB times better than Yukiko Akaba's 2:27:17 CR win last year a new course record should be on tap.  Mulu Seboka (Ethiopia) looks like the favorite with a 2:23:43 best just over a year ago in Daegu that puts her nearly two minutes up on Pamela Chepchumba (Kenya) and three up on the rest of the African competition.  Japanese hopes lie with three women, corporate leaguers Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) and Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura), and its #1 independent woman Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC), a 2:31:28 club runner also appearing with support from JRN.

Deserving special mention is veteran amateur Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec AC), 2:29:30 in her prime and now in her 40s but still smashing a 2:36:53 course record at last fall's Kobe Marathon to earn an invite to the Gold Coast.  Her daughter Nozomi Tanaka is a two-time winner of the 4 km Junior Dash and, having grown to the point of winning a stage at January's National Women's Ekiden, should be a favorite in whatever distance she runs.

Next week look for an interview on JRN with Fujiwara and Njui from their training base in Kenya as they talk about their preparations and goals. JRN will also be on-site at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon throughout race weekend to cover what looks to be one of the season's best races. 

2014 Gold Coast Airport Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Gold Coast, Australia, July 6, 2014

Gebretsadik Abraham Adihana (Ethiopia) - 2:06:23 (Amsterdam, 2012)
Nicholas Manza Kamakya (Kenya) - 2:06:34 (Amsterdam, 2011)
Stephen Tum (Kenya) - 2:06:35 (Marrakech, 2013)
Arata Fujiwara (Japan/Miki House) - 2:07:48 (Tokyo, 2012)
Stephen Kibiwot (Kenya) - 2:07:54 (Prague, 2009)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul, 2013)
Haile Haja Gemeda (Ethiopia) - 2:08:35 (Rome, 2013)
Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 2:09:07 (Tokyo, 2014)
Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 2:09:10 (Tokyo, 2011)
Ahmed Baday (Morocco) - 2:09:16 (Daegu, 2012)
Erick Mose (Kenya) - 2:09:44 (Los Angeles, 2013)
Lee Troop (Australia) - 2:09:49 (Biwako, 2003)
Chiharu Takada (Japan/Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:39 (Fukuoka, 2013)
Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 2:11:57 (Boston, 2014)
Hironori Arai (Japan/Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:12:27 (Biwako, 2011)
Wirimai Juwawo (Zimbabwe) - 2:12:28 (Danzhou, 2010)
Rowan Walker (Australia) - 2:18:01 (Melbourne, 2010)
Silah Kipkemboi Limo (Kenya) - debut - 1:01:26 (Singapore Half, 2013)
Hiroki Sugawa (Japan/DeNA RC) - debut - 1:03:43 (Nat'l Univ. Half, 2013)

Mulu Seboka (Ethiopia) - 2:23:43 (Daegu, 2013)
Pamela Chepchumba (Kenya) - 2:25:36 (Milan, 2007)
Yebrgual Melese (Ethiopia) - 2:26:14 (Paris, 2014)
Goitetom Tesema (Ethiopia) - 2:26:21 (Rome, 2011)
Emily Samoei (Kenya) - 2:26:52 (Barcelona, 2012)
Lamei Sun (China) - 2:27:55 (Beijing, 2012)
Asami Kato (Japan/Team Panasonic) - 2:29:08 (Nagoya Women's, 2014)
Chihiro Tanaka (Japan/Athlec AC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya Women's, 2002)
Zebenay Gebre Moges (Ethiopia) - 2:31:14 (San Antonio, 2009)
Rika Shintaku (Japan/Team Shimamura) - 2:31:15 (Tokyo, 2014)
Tsehay Desalegn (Ethiopia) - 2:31:25 (Prague, 2014)
Hiroko Yoshitomi (Japan/First Dream AC) - 2:31:28 (Tokyo, 2013)
Jane Fardell (Australia) - 2:37:35 (Paris, 2013)
Tarli Bird (Australia) - debut - 1:14:44 (half, 2013)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

16 Members of All-First Year Obirin University Team Ready to Shoot for Hakone Ekiden

translated and edited by Brett Larner
video by naoki620

A new wind is blowing on the road to Hakone as the newly-minted Obirin University ekiden team becomes fully operational this year.  In April last year Stephen Mayaka, 41, who wowed the nation at the Hakone Ekiden as a student at Yamanashi Gakuin University, became head coach at Obirin.  Devoting his first year to recruiting, this spring Mayaka welcomed sixteen athletes including Kenyan Lazarus Motanya Asimundi to the new program.  The fresh-faced team made up entirely of first-years is dead-set on making the main event at Hakone before they graduate four years from now.

The sound of feet striking Obirin's cherry tree-lined track in Sagamihara is the music of hope and anticipation.  The "single-batch" team of sixteen is finally underway on the road that Coach Mayaka has plotted out for them.  Without distance runners on the school's track team when he joined the program last season, Mayaka was forced to travel nationwide to recruit incoming first-years.  Staging a selection event in Kenya last summer, he chose 1500 m specialist Lazarus to bring back to Japan.  Running his first-ever 5000 m on a dirt track, the high-potential rookie clocked a respectably quick 14:41.  After being selected he trained in the same village together with 2014 Kanto Region 1500 m and 5000 m champion Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) until the day came for him to fly to Japan on Mar. 28.

"I want to become strong in Japan, and then some day to run in the Olympics," says Lazarus.  On April 12 he ran the 1500 m at the Nittai University Time Trials meet, getting off to a good start with a time of 3:50.68.  A month later he won the D.2 1500 m title at the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, running 3:49.84 in extremely windy conditions.  "He's tall and he has beautiful form," says Mayaka.  "Once we improve his stamina he'll be able to run in the 13:40s for 5000 m."

Apart from Lazarus, promising talent on the Obirin team includes Junpei Ishikawa, who ran the National High School Track and Field Championships 3000 m steeplechase while at Okazaki Josai High School, and Naoki Kodaka, a member of Kato Gakuen High School's National High School Ekiden Championships team representing Shizuoka prefecture.  Elected captain of the ekiden team, Ishikawa says, "We all came here because we wanted to make history.  We want to run Hakone within four years."

Joining Mayaka as assistant coach as of the start of the academic and fiscal year on April 1 was Kenichi Jiromaru, 29, a graduate of three-time National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University and a member of 2012 New Year Ekiden corporate national champion team Nissin Shokuhin.  The purchase of a seven-story building in Sagamihara means the team is also nicely set up for a dormitory.  The team will travel to Sugadaira, Nagano this summer for intensive training and plans to hold joint practice sessions with Mayaka's alma mater Yamanashi Gakuin University.

"To begin with we have to assess each individual's strengths and abilities, and over the summer we will gradually build them up and increase the distance.  A year or two later we will have a team than can be competitive to some degree," says coach Mayaka.  His carefully-built plan will help make steady progress toward the team's dream of making the ekiden world's biggest final within just four years.

Lazarus Motanya Asimundi - Born Feb. 2, 1996 in the Kisii region of western Kenya.  18 years old.  Focused on middle distance while at Boruma H.S., with a 1500 m PB of 3:47.  His inspiration is Beijing Olympics 1500 m gold medalist Asbel Kiprop (Kenya).  Hobbies include cycling.  179 cm, 60 kg.

Translator's note: Obirin's Lazarus Motanya Asimundi is scheduled to double in the 1500 m and 5000 m at this weekend's National University Individual Track and Field Championships.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Aiming for 2015 New Year Ekiden, Bel'x Supermarkets Adds Hakone Ekiden Stars to Its Team

translated and edited by Brett Larner

During a visit to Adachi Ward mayor Yayoi Kondo, senior managing director Yuki Suzuki and ekiden team head coach Makoto Suzuki of the Adachi-based Sun Bel'x corporation, operators of the Bel'x Supermarkets chain, announced the addition of exciting new athletes to the company's team in April.  Nine athletes accompanied them to the meeting, among them 2014 Hakone Ekiden stars Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ., 2nd Stage), Yuya Yamashita (Juntendo Univ., 5th Stage), Takahiro Kato (Asia Univ., 7th Stage), Junpei Miyazawa (Juntendo Univ., 7th Stage) and Shota Takatsudo (Jobu Univ., 7th Stage).  During the chat with the mayor Coach Suzuki introduced each of the promising new athletes while watching video of them on a DVD of this year's Hakone Ekiden and talked enthusiastically about the team's goal of a breakthrough at November's New Year Ekiden regional qualifier.

In just its second year, a total of eleven athletes joined the Bel'x team this season.  The new athletes were formally hired by Sun Bel'x on Mar. 27.  After going through its training program they were each assigned to Bel'x supermarkets, where for the immediate future they will work while doing ekiden training.  The team will have four morning practice sessions and two target workouts a week, making use of Adachi's Toneri Park and other area facilities.  After their target workouts they will refuel with athlete-specific meals prepared for them by Sun Bel'x, the company's commitment to its athletes extending even to supporting their nutritional needs.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kawauchi Caps Sixteen Weeks of Racing with All-Time Top Ten 2:47:27 Japanese 50 km National Record (updated)

by Brett Larner

Update: It appears that the IAAF's World Running website has lifted the content of this article and the linked Kawauchi Counter without permission or credit for their own piece on Kawauchi's unofficial NR published a day after this article.  I've contacted them asking for clarification of their authorship and sources.

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) capped sixteen straight weeks of racing with another shot at the longest distance in his repertoire. For the fourth-straight year Kawauchi returned to his late father’s home island of Okinoshima to pay his respects by running the Father’s Day Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon. Two years ago Kawauchi honored him by running 2:51:45, the fastest time ever by a Japanese man over a distance for which the Japanese Federation does not have an official national record. This year Kawauchi himself was honored by the residents of Okinoshima, who held a new children’s race the day before the ultra with the winner presented with the first edition of the Kawauchi Cup trophy.

Of his own race on a hot and hilly course that put him in the hospital 300 m from the finish three years ago Kawauchi spoke cautiously beforehand, saying that his goal was, “to finish feeling good,” and telling JRN, “Okinoshima is a little dangerous [to my upcoming race plans] so I’m going to take it conservatively.” All that seemed to go out the window once he started running. Despite the heat maximized by the 11:30 a.m. start time and the three 150 m - 200 m tall hills and with only his father’s memory for company, Kawauchi blazed a new 2:47:27 Japanese record, officially called so or not, four minutes better than the old record he set in 2012 and the seventh-fastest time ever run, one that positioned him as the sixth-fastest man ever over 50 km. “It was a tough race,” he said, “but I’m glad I made it to all-time #7.”

It’s worth noting that the linked list does not accept two fast times run by American Josh Cox and recognized by USATF, both marathons followed by running to a local track and doing some laps to make up the distance, as legit race performances and that including them would put Kawauchi’s mark at all-time #9. But Cox or no Cox, getting into the all-time top ten on a hard course without focusing or planning for a record shot has put up a new target for Kawauchi. “I’d like to run Lake Saroma [Japan’s premier ultra] and go for the 50 km world record,” he told JRN. Kawauchi already holds world records for the shortest time ever between sub-2:09 marathons, between sub-2:10 marathons, and for most sub-2:10 marathons in one year, but the chance to get a straight-up world record, to become the fastest person ever over one distance, has to be a powerful motivation for things to come.

But in the short term Kawauchi will take a weekend off racing for the first time since February before going to the other end of his spectrum for a 1500 m at the Saitama Track and Field Championships. A week later he returns to Australia’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon to try to become the sixth Japanese man to win a marathon outside Japan sub-2:10. Trying to stop him will be the fifth man to do it, 2010 Ottawa Marathon course record-setter Arata Fujiwara (Miki House).

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Japanese Medalists at Asian Junior Championships

2014 Asian Junior Athletics Championships
Japanese Medalists Summary
Taipei, Taiwan, June 12-15, 2014
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m - June 13
1. Hazuma Hattori (Japan) - 31:10.60
2. Sharwan Kharb (India) - 31:52.37
3. Yaser Salem Bagharab (Yemen) - 32:22.42
4. Tzu-Ming Wang (Taiwan) - 36:38.02
5. Han-Hsuan Li (Taiwan) - 38:40.29

Women's 5000 m - June 12
1. Maki Izumida (Japan) - 16:18.345
1. Daria Maslova (Kyrgyzstan) - 16:18.345
3. Ji Hyang Kim (North Korea) - 16:28.13
4. Sakiho Tsutsui (Japan) - 16:35.79
5. Sanjivini Jadhav (India) - 17:00.75

Men's 5000 m - June 15
1. Musaab Adam M Ali (Qatar) - 14:34.07
2. Makoto Mitsunobu (Japan) - 14:38.99
3. Sharwan Kharb (India) - 14:39.41
4. Khalil Naseri (Iran) - 14:58.88
5. Wei Zhang (China) - 15:29.28

Women's 3000 m - June 15
1. Daria Maslova (Kyrgyzstan) - 9:16.23
2. Hanami Sekine (Japan) - 9:17.55
3. Sanjivini Jadhav (India) - 9:35.02
4. Jin Hyang Pak (North Korea) - 9:35.04
5. Zhi-Ling Zheng (China) - 9:44.31

Women's 1500 m - June 13
1. Song Mi O (North Korea) - 4:28.38
2. Yuki Nakamura (Japan) - 4:28.75
3. Shuang-Shuang Xu (China) - 4:28.78
4. Kseniia Faiskanova (Kyrgyzstan) - 4:28.91
5. Pinki Kumari (India) - 4:37.53

Women's 800 m - June 14
1. Ryoko Hirano (Japan) - 2:06.75
2. Jessy Joseph (India) - 2:06.77
3. Archana Adhav (India) - 2:09.11
4. Kseniia Faiskanova (Kyrgyzstan) - 2:09.54
5. Yevgeniya Fandyushina (Kazakhstan) - 2:12.06

Men's 200 m +1.0 - June 15
1. Mohammedhossein Abareghi (Iran) - 20.69
2. Jing-Sheng Liang (China) - 20.96
3. Katsumi Hiyoshi (Japan) - 21.05
4. Rei Tokuyama (Japan) - 21.13
5. Chun-Han Yang (Taiwan) - 21.17

Men's 100 m + 0.3 - June 13
1. Takuya Kawakami (Japan) - 10.47
2. Himasha Eashan Waththakankanamge (Sri Lanka) - 10.49
3. Mohammedhossein Abareghi (Iran) - 10.50
4. Sepehr Asad (Iran) - 10.54
5. Masaharu Mori (Japan) - 10.60

Men's 4x100 m Relay - June 14
1. Japan - 39.49
2. Thailand - 39.74
3. Taiwan - 39.91
4. Sri Lanka - 40.37
5. Hong Kong - 40.69

Men's 3000 mSC - June 14
1. Musaab Adam M Ali (Qatar) - 9:02.80
2. Takumi Murashima (Japan) - 9:03.35
3. Khalil Naseri (Iran) - 9:03.54
4. Ting-Wei Zeng (Taiwan) - 9:21.39
5. Jalil Naseri (Iran) - 9:22.77

Women's 400 mH - June 15
1. Akiko Ito (Japan) - 58.80
2. Kawshayla Madushani Edirippulilage (Sri Lanka) - 62.31
3. Alvin Tehupeiory (Indonesia) - 62.39
4. Chia-Hsun Hsieh (Taiwan) - 62.50
5. Saidatul Izzati Suhaimi (Malaysia) - 63.46

Men's 400 mH - June 15
1. Chia-Hsuan Yu (Taiwan) - 50.49
2. Guo-Zhong Wang (China) - 50.61
3. Yusuke Sakanashi (Japan) - 50.76
4. Khalid Mohammed Al Shahrani (Qatar) - 51.59
5. Chih-Hao Lin (Taiwan) - 52.44

Men's 110 mH + 0.5 - June 14
1. Taio Kanai (Japan) - 13.33
2. Masahiro Kagimoto (Japan) - 13.51
3. Mohammed Amin Barzi Ghamsari (Iran) - 13.56
4. Shih-Wei Huang (Taiwan) - 13.59
5. Chih-Hao Lin (Taiwan) - 13.93

Women's 100 mH -0.2 - June 14
1. Mako Fukuba (Japan) - 13.98
2. Meghana Shetty (India) - 14.09
3. Min Jannah Wong (Singapore) - 14.14
4. Emilia Nova (Indonesia) - 14.27
5. Yu-Hsuan Chen (Taiwan) - 14.33

Men's 10000 m Walk - June 13
1. Fumitaka Oikawa (Japan) - 44:08.25
2. Po-Ying Lo (Taiwan) - 45:51.62
3. Wei-Lin Chang (Taiwan) - 46:14.69
4. Taiga Takizawa (Japan) - 47:50.30
5. Karan Rathi (India) - 49:30.54

Women's 10000 m Walk - June 12
1. Kaori Kawazoe (Japan) - 50:38.05
2. Diana Aidossova (Kazakhstan) - 51:39.77
3. Dana Aidossova (Kazakhstan) - 52:13.42
4. Heesu Kim (South Korea) - 52:54.54
5. Goh LIng Yin Elena (Malaysia) - 53:52.83

Men's Long Jump - June 13
1. Qing Lin (China) - 7.99 m (+0.6)
2. Ming-Tai Chan (Hong Kong) - 7.70 m (+0.3)
3. Shotaro Shiroyama (Japan) - 7.70 m (+0.7)
4. Daiki Oda (Japan) - 7.54 m (+0.6)
5. Yao-Qing Fang (China) - 7.47 m (+0.5)

Women's Pole Vault - June 14
1. Chao-Qun Li (China) - 4.05 m
2. Yang Yang (China) - 4.00 m
3. Megumi Mizushima (Japan) - 3.80 m
4. Yi-Ju Shen (Taiwan) - 3.70 m
5. Tsai-Ying Lin (Taiwan) - 3.70 m

Women's Javelin Throw - June 13
1. Shiori Toma (Japan) - 55.75 m
2. Qi-Yan Kang (China) - 51.97 m
3. Chu Chang (Taiwan) - 50.45 m
4. Geumhee Lee (South Korea) - 48.99 m
5. Yi-Hua Lee (Taiwan) - 46.98 m

Women's Discus Throw - June 15
1. Yu-Chen Xie (China) - 55.65 m
2. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (India) - 53.66 m
3. Natsumi Fujimori (Japan) - 46.16 m
4. Jo-Tzu Wang (Taiwan) - 43.85 m
5. Fatemeh Khayati (Iran) - 43.67 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Japanese Federation Announces 2014 Asian Games Team

by Brett Larner

On June 9 the Japanese Federation released the 54 athlete lineup for its national team at the Sept. 27 - Oct. 3 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.  Where in the past it has allowed top talent to blow the Asian Games off, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics hanging in the distance this time the Federation is taking a serious and long view, fielding an A-squad of national record holders, collegiate national record holders and junior national record holders in fifteen events, at least a half dozen more in the all-time Japanese top three in their events, and incorporating high-potential high school and university athletes with an eye toward their development pre-2020.

Major names on the men's list of 31 include teen sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), 2010 World Junior 200 m gold medalist Shota Iizuka (Mizuno), Berlin World Championships javelin bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), the Alberto Salazar-coached Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin), 2006 World Junior 20 km race walk bronze medalist Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu), at 2:08:09 2014's fastest Japanese marathoner Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) and, in his ninth of at least twelve marathons planned for his year, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).

The women's list of 23 features high school Olympian Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.), double 100 m and 200 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC), Moscow World Championships marathon 4th-placer Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) and idiosyncratic triathlon-training marathoner Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto).  For both men and women on the team, medalling at the Asian Games will represent a shortcut to making the 2015 World Championships team, extra incentive for them to bring their best to an overlooked international championship event.

2014 Asian Games - Japanese National Team
Incheon, South Korea, Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2014
click here for official team annoucement


Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zenrin) - 10.40 / 20.38
Shota Hara (Jobu Univ.) - 10.39 / 20.41
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 10.22 / 20.21
Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.16
Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) - 45.69
Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 10.01 / 20.41
Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) - 10.13 / 20.34
Kazuya Watanabe (Mizuno) - 45.71
Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 10.07 / 20.41

Men's Middle Distance
Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.) - 1:45.75 - NR

Men's Long Distance
Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 13:38.87 / 28:45.66
Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:20.80 / 27:38.31
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:13.60 / 27:38.25

Men's Hurdles
Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) - 48.41
Genta Masuno (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 13.58
Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:32.89

Men's Jumps
Takashi Eto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2.28 m (HJ)
Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) - 5.83 m (PV) - NR
Naoto Tobe (Chiba T&F Assoc.) - 2.31 m (HJ)
Ryoma Yamamoto (Juntendo Univ.) - 16.10 m (TJ)
Seito Yamamoto (Team Toyota) - 5.75 m (PV) - Univ. NR

Men's Throws
Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 85.48 (Javelin)
Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 85.96 m (Javelin)

Men's Decathlon
Akihiko Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8035
Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8308 - NR

Men's Marathon
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14
Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:08:09

Men's Walks
Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) - 1:18:17 - NR
Eiki Takahashi (Iwate Univ.) - 1:18:41 - Univ. NR
Takayuki Tanii (SDF Academy) - 1:20:39 / 3:43:56
Yuki Yamazaki (SDF Academy) - 1:20:38 / 3:40:12 - NR


Seika Aoyama (Matsue Shogyo H.S.) - 23.78 / 53.40
Asami Chiba (Team Toho Ginko) - 51.75 - NR
Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 11.43 - Jr. NR / 23.63
Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 11.68
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.21 - NR / 22.89 - NR
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 11.43 / 23.63
Nanako Matsumoto (Hamamatsu Municipal H.S.) - 53.67

Women's Long Distance
Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 15:49.19 / 31:45.29
Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:22.67
Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:23.80 / 31:53.69
Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:21.73

Women's Hurdles
Masumi Aoki (International Pacific Univ.) - 13.36
Ayako Kimura (Team Edion) - 13.03
Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 55.34 - NR
Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.) - 9:53.87 - Univ. NR
Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 9:49.85

Women's Jumps
Tomomi Abiko (Shiga Lake Masters) - 4.40 m (PV) - NR
Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Gakuen AC) - 1.92 m (HJ)

Women's Throws
Masumi Aya (Team Maruzen Kogyo) - 67.26 (HT)
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 62.83 - NR (Javelin)

Women's Marathon
Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) - 2:25:31
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2:23:34

Women's Walks
Rei Inoue (Team Tenmaya) - 1:31:48

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kyoto University Qualifies for National University Ekiden for First Time Since 1973

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the June 8 Kansai Region National University Men's Ekiden Championships Qualifier at Kyoto's Nishi Kyogo Sogo Sports Park Field, academic powerhouse Kyoto University finished 5th to qualify for the National Championship race for the first time since its fourth running in January, 1973 and only the second time in school history.  Ritsumeikan University won the regional qualifier for the Nov. 2 National Championships, to be run on a 106.8 km course between Atsuta Shrine in Aichi prefecture and Ise Shrine in Mie prefecture.

With a grab-bag team ranging from its star first-year recruit, 2013 World Youth Championships 10000 m racewalk gold medalist Toshikazu Yamanishi, to graduate student runners, the Kyoto team's efforts   just barely paid off.  Over four heats of 10000 m with two runners from each school per heat it came down to Kansai Regional Track and Field Championships 10000 m winner Kentaro Hirai, a junior, to seal Kyoto's 5th place finish and National Championships place when he won the final heat in 29:12.94, the fastest time in the meet.  Long distance chief Tao Komikado summed the day up when he said, "(Since we haven't made Nationals for decades) we came in here with no preconceptions and that's why we were able to rock. Now it's time to take it to the next level."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nakamura Sets Steeplechase Collegiate NR, Kiryu Takes First National Title - National Track and Field Championships Day Three Results

by Brett Larner
videos by aoshin0507

Following up on Koji Murofushi's epoch-marking 20th-straight men's hammer national title yesterday, Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) led a phalanx of other long-lasting champions in adding to their legacies on the final rainy day of competition at the 2014 Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Fukushima.

Kanemaru had a 10th-straight men's 400 m national title on the line, and with no genuine competition he cruised in for the win in 45.69, only the second Japanese track athlete in history to get the ten-peat.  Women's 400 mH national record holder Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) ran 56.39 for an eighth-straight national title, while 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) picked up the sixth national title of career in 11.69 (-0.3), a fifth-straight win and fourth-straight 100 m/200 m double title.  Following Fukushima and 10000 m champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) yesterday, men's 400 mH champion Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) won a fourth-straight title in 49.49.  While not quite on the same level, 41-year-old women's 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) added to her own legacy by finishing 7th, making for 20 straight years of finishing in the top eight.  What these streaks of domination say about the overall development of their disciplines is another issue, but the streaks added to the atmosphere of this year's National Championships.

Along with Hayakari's accomplishment, the women's steeple proved to be the race of the day.  Hayakari went out front from the gun but was soon reeled in by #1-ranked Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Misato Horie (Team Noritz).  Horie soon faded but was replaced by relative unknown Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.), with Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.), who set the collegiate national record of 9:58.98 two weeks ago at the Kanto Regionals meet, trying to make up the ground.  Sango pushed on at PB pace with Nakamura locked close behind her, but with 200 m to go when she made her move Nakamura could not respond.  Sango's winning time of 9:49.85 was the second-fastest in Japanese history behind Hayakari's 9:33.93 NR, while Nakamura came in at all-time #3 in 9:53.87, breaking Mori's two-week-old record.  Horie was just off her best in 3rd in 10:05.80, while Mori was caught at the line by another collegiate runner, Kanako Kitamoto (Meijo Univ.) and knocked down to 5th.

Like Nakamura providing some contrast to the dynasties, some new talent emerged in a few events to show that things are still moving forward.  In the men's 110 mH, Genta Masuno (Kokusai Budo Univ.) was just off the meet record as he ran a PB 13.58 (+0.4) for the win over last year's national champion Wataru Yazawa (Descente TC) who tied his own best of 13.59.  In the men's long jump, Kota Minemura PBd in 7.94 m (+0.6) to take his first national title, part of a strong Tsukuba University team that included Nakamura in the women's 3000 mSC and men's high jump champion Takashi Eto.  Nihon University was also strong, taking both the women's and men's 800 m thanks to Fumika Omori and men's national record holder Sho Kawamoto.  In the men's javelin, the ascendant Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) threw 81.97 m to take down the event's last two national champions Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Genki Dean (Mizuno), with independent Yuya Koriki (Tottori T&F Assoc.) also bettering the two past champs in 76.18.

The women's and men's 5000 m both played out similarly, the Japanese field mostly ignoring the Kenyan pacers and leaving it for a last kick to determine the winner.  In the women's race Kenyan pacers Rosemary Wanjiru (Team Starts) and Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) had a lead of around 40 m after just one lap, but while Wanjiru pushed on to a PB 15:19.00, Kimanzi faded and was nearly run down by 2013 Japanese national champion Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku), who took off from the pack with 500 m to go and scored a second-straight national title in 15:32.74, just 0.34 seconds behind Kimanzi.  Relative unknowns Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) and Chiaki Morikawa (Team Starts) took 2nd and 3rd, both just under 15:40.  10000 m winner Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) attempted to double but quickly lost touch with the leading Japanese runners, finishing well outside the top ten.

Better luck in the men's 5000 m for yesterday's 10000 m winner Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin).  The Japanese field initially tried to go with slow-starting Kenyan pacer James Mwangi (Team NTN), but once Mwangi got into gear the Japanese men let him go chase his 13:22.00 finishing time and focused on each other.  Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) initially did the work with Sato right behind in the position he likes best, tailed by Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa University) and Hiromitsu Kakuage (Team Konica Minolta).  Kikuchi and Sato were soon alone, but as they backed off and settled into a comfortable cruising pace 13:28 collegiate Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) and 2014 Kanto Region 10000 m champion Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) came up in a hurry.  It could have been a very entertaining race if the two university men had gone right by the two pros, but instead they tucked in, relying on the strength of their last kicks against proven kickers Kikuchi and Sato. Yagisawa abruptly stalled, and while Murayama stayed behind even as the pros slowed, up came the chase pack.  With one lap to go Murayama made his move, Sato predictably running right behind him.  300 m to go and Sato kicked by, but Murayama hung on until the home straight before Sato shook free to pick up his first 5000 m national title and first double in 13:40.99. Murayama was next in 13:43.16, Kikuchi just back in 13:44.43.

A sudden downpour spelled the end for hopes of fast times in the night's main event, the men's 100 m, where all-time Japanese #2 Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), 18, faced London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.), Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu), past national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas), 200 m national champion Shota Hara (Jobu Univ.) and more. Defending champion Yamagata was quick at the gun, but the same slow start that hampered Kiryu in the semi-final was a problem again and he spent the middle of the race catching up before inevitably pulling ahead to take his first national title in 10.22 (+0.6).  Yamagata was next in 10.27, with Yu Onabuta (Chuo Univ.) a surprise 3rd in 10.32.  Tsukahara was the first pro athlete, 5th in 10.35.  Kiryu's next target is the upcoming World Junior Championships where he hopes to win his first gold medal in international competition.

98th National Track and Field Championships
Day Three Results
Fukushima, 6/8/14
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m 
1. Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:19.00 - PB
2. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:32.40
3. Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:32.74
4. Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) - 15:39.63
5. Chiaki Morikawa (Team Starts) - 15:39.77
6. Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:40.35
7. Yuika Mori (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:40.37
8. Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:41.12
9. Yuka Miyazaki (Team Kyudenko) - 15:42.13
10. Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:43.43

Men's 5000 m 
1. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:22.00
2. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:40.99
3. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 13:43.16
4. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:44.43
5. Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 13:45.88
6. Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 13:46.28
7. Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:47.05
8. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 13:48.22
9. Muryo Takase (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:48.83
10. Kazuya Namera (Team Subaru) - 13:50.36

Women's 800 m 
1. Fumika Omori (Nihon Univ.) - 2:05.05
2. Manami Mashita (Cerespo) - 2:05.86
3. Yukina Tanimoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2:06.87

Men's 800 m 
1. Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.) - 1:48.42
2. Shoei Tanaka (Morioka City Hall) - 1:49.39
3. Shohei Oka (Wakayama T&F Assoc.) - 1:49.53

Men's 400 m 
1. Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.69
2. Kazuya Watanabe (Mizuno) - 46.30
3. Naoki Kobayashi (Tokai Univ.) - 46.38

Women's 100 m -0.3
1. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.69 
2. Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 11.72
3. Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 11.84

Men's 100 m +0.6
1. Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 10.22
2. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 10.27
3. Yu Onabuta (Chuo Univ.) - 10.32
4. Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 10.35
5. Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) - 10.35

Women's 3000 mSC 
1. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 9:49.85 - PB
2. Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.) - 9:53.87 - NURPB
3. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 10:05.80
4. Kanako Kitamoto (Meijo Univ.) - 10:12.40 - PB
5. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:12.53

Men's 400 mH 
1. Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) - 49.49
2. Akihiko Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 49.95
3. Yuta Konishi (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 49.97

Women's 400 mH 
1. Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 56.39
2. Manami Kira (Team Art Home) - 57.27
3. Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko) - 58.10

Men's 110 mH +0.4
1. Genta Masuno (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 13.58 - PB
2. Wataru Yazawa (Descente TC) - 13.59 - PB
3. Hideki Omuro (Tsukuba Univ.) - 13.73

Men's High Jump
1. Takashi Eto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2.23 m
2. Hiromi Takahari (Hitachi ICT) - 2.20 m
3. Naoto Tobe (Chiba T&F Assoc.) - 2.20 m

Men's Long Jump
1. Kota Minemura (Tsukuba Univ.) - 7.94 m (+0.6) - PB
2. Yohei Sugai (Mizuno) - 7.83 m (+0.4)
3. Tomoya Takamasa (Juntendo Univ.) - 7.73 m (+0.7)

Women's Hammer Throw 
1. Masumi Aya (Maruzen Kogyo) - 61.31 m
2. Hitomi Katsuyama (Tsukuba Univ.) - 59.56 m - PB
3. Suzuka Asada (Mukogawa Joshi Univ.) - 58.71 m - PB

Men's Shot Put 
1. Satoshi Hatase (Alsok) - 18.50 m
2. Sotaro Yamada (Nishinomiya T&F Assoc.) - 17.64 m
3. Ikuhiro Miyauchi (Nihon Univ.) - 17.63 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 81.97 m
2. Yuya Koriki (Tottori T&F Assoc.) - 76.18 m
3. Genki Dean (Mizuno) - 74.88 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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