Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Four-Channel Live Streaming of Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships

Hot on the heels of a strong team showing at last weekend's World Junior Championships, the 2014 Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships are being streamed live on four separate discipline-specific channels from July 30 to Aug. 3. Watch below. Click here for a complete event schedule.

Track



Jumps



Throws



Combined Events




Izumo Ekiden Announces Teams for 26th Running on Oct. 13

 http://www.izumo-ekiden.jp/entry/index.html

The first of the Big Three University Ekidens that make up the core of the year for Japanese collegiate distance men, the six-stage, 45.1 km Izumo Ekiden takes place Oct. 13.  On July 30 organizers released the full of 21 teams that will compete at this year's 26th running, led by defending champion and course record holder Komazawa University and 2014 Hakone Ekiden winner Toyo University.  The U.S, Ivy League Select Team will also return for its 17th Izumo appearance.

2014 Izumo Ekiden Field

Kanto Region
Komazawa University (22nd appearance)
Toyo University (15th appearance)
Nittai University (17th appearance)
Waseda University (22nd appearance)
Aoyama Gakuin University (5th appearance)
Meiji University (6th appearance)
Nihon University (21st appearance)
Teikyo University (6th appearance)
Takushoku University (3rd appearance)
Daito Bunka University (16th appearance)

Tokai Region
Chukyo University (9th appearance)

Kansai Region
Ritsumeikan University (13th appearance)
Kwansei Gakuin University (5th appearance)

Chugoku Region
Hiroshima Keizai University (13th appearance)

Kyushu Region
Daiichi Kogyo University (19th appearance)
Nippon Bunri University (9th appearance)

Regional Select Teams
Hokkaido Region University Select Team (26th appearance)
Tohoku Region University Select Team (26th appearance)
Hokushinetsu Region University Select Team (26th appearance)
Chugoku-Shikoku Region University Select Team (26th appearance)
Ivy League Select Team (17th appearance)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Elite Trail Runner Tsuyoshi Soma Disappears While Climbing The Matterhorn

http://fuji-trailhead.com/archives/1784

translated by Brett Larner

Fuji Trailhead representative Tsuyoshi Soma suffered an accident while climbing the Matterhorn on July 23.  He fell from a ridge, slid roughly 800 m, and was buried by an avalanche or new-fallen snow.  Although some of his equipment has been found, Soma has not yet been located.  The best search and rescue operations possible in the area are being conducted, but, according to local police, given the circumstances of the accident the chance of survival is very low.

Therefore, until Soma is found safely and returns home to Japan, all scheduled Fuji Trailhead events will be cancelled.  We will make every effort to contact all entrants but it may not be possible to reach every person in time.  We are very sorry if this proves to be the case.

Additionally, because we are in active communication with local police engaged in the search in Switzerland, it is difficult for us to respond to each and every inquiry we receive about this terrible news.  We are very sorry for any distress that our inability to answer such correspondence may cause.  We sincerely appreciate all of your notes and apologize for putting our own concerns first.  As soon as new information becomes available we will update our website.

--on behalf of the Fuji Trailhead staff

Hakone Ekiden Course Change Means the End for Current Course Records

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/07/29/kiji/K20140729008649490.html
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140728-OHT1T50194.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (KGRR) announced on July 28 that changes to the Hakone Ekiden's 23.4 km Fifth Stage and 20.8 km Sixth Stage mean that the existing records for those two stages along with the current Day One, Day Two and overall course records will be replaced at the 91st running of Japan's biggest sporting event on Jan. 2-3, 2015.  The entire course will also be remeasured, meaning additional changes to other stages are possible.

The uphill Fifth Stage was lengthened in 2006 at the 82nd running to become the longest of the race at 23.4 km with 864 m of climb.  Since then, every university that has won the Fifth Stage has also taken the Hakone Day One title, earning it the reputation of being the most dramatic and exciting part of the Hakone Ekiden.  From 2009 to 2012 Toyo University's "God of the Mountain" Ryuji Kashiwabara (now Team Fujitsu) won the Fifth Stage four straight years, breaking the stage record three times and earning national celebrity. 

On Feb. 6 the Kanrei Domon tunnel through which the Fifth and Sixth Stages pass was closed to traffic, meaning that the 91st Hakone Ekiden must use a newly-built bypass instead.  The change in distance from the traditional course is relatively minor, the bypass at 6.2 km on the Fifth Stage and 17.1 km on the Sixth Stage adding roughly 20 meters to each stage, but it means that Kashiwabara's 2012 record of 1:16:39, revered as a superhuman feat in Japanese athletics, will now be consigned to the history books.  The Sixth Stage's 58:11 record set by Komazawa University's Kenta Chiba (now Team Fujitsu) in 2011 will also share the same fate, along with Toyo's Day One and Day Two records and its epoch-making 10:51:36 record for the complete 217.9 km Hakone course.

The 170 m Kanrei Domon tunnel, a popular part of the Hakone broadcast, has aged in the more than 80 years since its construction in 1931.  Only 5.8 m wide, the tunnel was a source of congestion, leading to the construction of the 7.25 m-wide bypass to improve the flow of traffic and safety.  The nation's top university runners will now travel via the bypass on their way to the Day One finish line at Lake Ashi and the handoff to the Seventh Stage in Odawara.

Because a pedestrian path through Kanrei Domon remains, the KGRR looked at the possibility of having runners follow the traditional course while TV broadcast trucks and other race vehicles took the bypass.  However, a KGRR spokesperson explained, "It's just a university event so there is no need to go that far, and vehicles and athletes separating and then rejoining each other on the roads would also create additional danger.  We shelved the proposal that running through Kanrei Domon was a must and went with the course change."

Opinions on the decision are divided.  With the 20 m addition to the course expected to create a difference of only 3~4 seconds many universities' head coaches called for the old records to remain as the official records, but in the end the principles of "precision in time and distance" inherent to track and field won out.  Toshiyuki Sakai (38), head coach of Toyo University which will lose its Fifth Stage, Day One, Day Two and overall course records, commented, "The complete out-and-back course is 217.9 km, so if the course changes due to road construction it's inevitable that the records are going to be erased.  However, our drive to break our 2012 overall course record and Kashiwabara's Fifth Stage record still remains and will not disappear along with them." 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Aiming for Top 10 at World Championships, Matsumoto Wins Second-Straight Fuji Mountain Race Title

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/07/26/kiji/K20140726008632750.html

translated by Brett Larner

3980 people ran the July 25 Fuji Mountain Race's 67th edition in its Fifth Stage and Summit divisions. The men's Summit division winner was defending champion Dai Matsumoto (30, Salomon), who took his second-straight title in 2:47:45. Ruth Charlotte Croft (25, New Zealand) won the women's Summit division in 3:11:44.  Sho Matsumoto (28, Nikkei Business) was the men's Fifth Stage winner, with Yumiko Oishi (43) joining him on the podium in the women's race.

In his sixth time running the Fuji Mountain Race Dai Matsumoto was delighted to keep his place on top.  "People were gunning for me this year," he said of the pressure that pushed him to beat his own winning time from last year of 2:49:40.  A native of Gunma prefecture, his experience with mountain running dates back to his time at Maebashi H.S. and Gunma University where he competed in the event at the National Sports Festival.  He currently trains at Mt. Asama and competes as a professional mountain runner in "sky running" races.  His next major goal, he said with a smile, is, "to finish in the top ten at the sky race world championships two years from now."

The New Zealand-born Croft beat the runner-up in the women's Summit division by a commanding margin of more than 17 minutes.  "I wasn't very satisfied with last year's result [9th in 3:52:05]," she said of her motivation to give Mt. Fuji another go.  Based in Nepal for her training, Croft came back to the Fuji Mountain Race after running the Everest Ultra Marathon, where she finished 2nd in the foreign athlete division.  Her strategy of picking up the pace after reaching the Fifth Stage paid off well as she ran away from her competitors to snag the win.  "I'm really happy that I ran better than last year," she said with satisfaction.

Kawauchi Wins Fourth-Straight Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/07/28/kiji/K20140728008642240.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

For the fourth-straight year, 2014 Asian Games men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) won the Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km road race Sunday in Kushiro, Hokkaido, beating the next athlete by over four minutes in 1:33:49.  Having struggled in the heat in the past. Kawauchi was pleased with race day temperatures under 20 degrees.  "I love it when it's cool," he said.  "It's hard to run 30 km and focus on quality or quantity back home in Saitama when it's 37 degrees there."  He also spoke against corporate teams' overseas high altitude training camps, saying, "I want to show that you can be successful in the marathon using a training regimen of short domestic training camps and racing here and abroad as an invited athlete."

World Junior Championships Day Six - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

The men's 4x400 m relay team added one more to what looks like Japan's most successful medal haul on the final day of the 2014 World Junior Championships.  With the U.S.A. inevitably ahead for the win in 3:03.31, the Japanese team featuring 400 m silver medalist Nobuya Kato ran an Asian junior record 3:04.11 to again beat Jamaica for silver.

Japanese athletes made the top ten in three other events as the Championships wrapped up.  In the men's triple jump Ryoma Yamamoto cleared 15.89 m for 7th and Yugo Takahashi 15.76 m for 9th.  In the men's javelin throw Shu Mori's 69.73 m was good for 8th, Takuto Kominami joining him with a throw of 67.07 m.  In the men's 3000 mSC Kazuya Shiojiri ran a large PB of 8:45.66 for 9th after finishing only 10th in his qualifying heat.

At the Championships' end, the Japanese medal tally was:
  • Daisuke Matsunaga: gold, men's 10000 m race walk
  • Nobuya Kato: silver, men's 400 m
  • silver, men's 4x400 m
  • silver, men's 4x100 m
  • Yoshihide Kiryu: bronze, men's 100 m
  • Shotaro Shiroyama: bronze, men's long jump

Shiroyama's medal was the most unexpected, but despite a relatively weak showing by the women's contingent altogether it was an excellent team showing made even more so by 4th-place finishes just outside the medals by Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu in the women's 3000 m, Yuike Koike in the men's 200 m and Yugo Yamashita in the men's 10000 m race walk, by multiple events seeing more than one Japanese athlete make the final, and by confident running in the men's 10000 m and women's 5000 m.  Tokyo 2020 is still a long way away, but for the members of this year's team the 2014 World Junior Championships results were a big dose of encouragement, giving them the hope that when the biggest stage there is comes to their home soil at their peak, they too have a chance of being among the best.

IAAF World Junior Championships Day Six
Eugene, U.S.A., 7/27/14
click here for complete results

Men's 4x400 m Relay Final
1. U.S.A. - 3:03.31
2. Japan - 3:04.11 - AJR
3. Jamaica - 3:04.47
4. Great Britain - 3:06.42
5. Australia - 3:06.80
6. Bahamas - 3:08.08
DQ - Botswana
DQ - South Africa

Men's 3000 mSC Final
1. Barnabas Kipyego (Kenya) - 8:25.57
2. Titus Kipruto Kibiego (Kenya) - 8:26.15
3. Evans Rutto Chematot (Bahrain) - 8:32.61
4. Soufiane Elbakkali (Morocco) - 8:34.98
5. Hailemariyam Amare (Ethiopia) - 8:42.00
-----
9. Kazuya Shiojiri (Japan) - 8:45.66

Men's Triple Jump Final
1. Lazaro Martinez (Cuba) - 17.13 m +0.7 - MR
2. Max Hess (Germany) - 16.55 m +1.4
3. Mateus de Sa (Brazil) - 16.47 m +1.5 - NJR
4. Andy Diaz (Cuba) - 16.43 m +2.1
5. Levon Aghasyan (Armenia) - 16.28 m +2.4
-----
7. Ryoma Yamamoto (Japan) - 15.89 m +0.9
9. Yugo Takahashi (Japan) - 15.76 m +0.3

Men's Javelin Throw Final
1. Gatis Cakss (Latvia) - 74.04 m
2. Matija Muhar (Slovenia) - 72.97 m
3. Andrian Mardare (Moldova) - 72.81 m
4. Jonas Bonewit (Germany) - 71.62 m
5. Shakeil Waithe (Trinidad and Tobago) - 70.78 m
-----
8. Shu Mori (Japan) - 69.73 m
10. Takuto Kominami (Japan) - 67.07 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

World Junior Championships Day Five - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Men's 100 m bronze medalist Yoshihide Kiryu and teammate Takuya Kawakami joined 200 m 4th and 6th-placers Yuki Koike and Masaharu Mori to outrun Jamaica for silver in the men's 4x100 m relay final at the World Junior Championships.  With the U.S.A. taking first in 38.70, Japan's 39.02 was just enough to beat Jamaica, which took bronze in 39.12.  Japan also beat Jamaica in the men's 4x400 m relay, where 400 m silver medalist Nobuya Kato and finalist Kaisei Yui powered the team to win Heat 2 in 3:05.40, Jamaica next in 3:06.25 and Bahamas picking up the final qualifying spot in a junior national record 3:07.03.  The women's 4x100 m team lacked the same punch, 6th among six finishing teams in the final in 45.40.

IAAF World Junior Championships Day Five
Eugene, U.S.A., 7/26/14
click here for complete results

Men's 4x400 m Relay Heat 2
1. Japan - 3:05.40 - Q
2. Jamaica - 3:06.25 - Q
3. Bahamas - 3:07.03 - NJR - q
4. Germany - 3:10.75
5. Canada - 3:11.93
DQ - Puerto Rico

Men's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. U.S.A. - 38.70
2. Japan - 39.02
3. Jamaica - 39.12
4. China - 39.51 - NJR
5. Nigeria - 39.66
6. Trinidad and Tobago - 39.92
7. Australia - 40.09
DNF - Thailand

Women's 4x100 m Final
1. U.S.A. - 43.46
2. Jamaica - 43.97
3. Germany - 44.65
4. Trinidad and Tobago - 44.75
5. Switzerland - 45.02
6. Japan - 45.40
DQ - Bahamas
DNF - Brazil

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved