Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekend Preview

by Brett Larner

It's a big weekend of racing across Japan.  The 70th Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon leads the way with a shot at the Japanese men's national record as Konica Minolta teammates Masato Kikuchi, Keita Shitara and Tsuyoshi Ugachi, all 1:00:32 to 1:01:12 for the half marathon, line up with support from past winner Collis Birmingham (Australia), Goitom Kifle (Eritrea), track star Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) in his serious half marathon debut, and more.  2014 Asian Games marathon gold medalist Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) leads a women's field that includes 2015's top Japanese woman Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya), last year's winner Eloise Wellings (Australia), Canadian record hopeful Natasha Wodak and many more.

Likewise celebrating an anniversary year is the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in its 65th running.  Not counting in the qualifying for the Rio Olympic team the home field is weaker than usual, Kenichi Shiraishi (Team Asahi Kasei) topping the list at 2:10:36 in Beppu two years ago.  Ahead of Shiraishi are three solid sub-2:10 internationals, Evans Ruto (Kenya), Hailu Shume (Ethiopia) and Anthony Maritim (Kenya).  One potentially interesting name in is marathon debut is Hiroto Kanamori (Takushoku Univ.), one of the stars of the ultracompetitive First Stage at January's Hakone Ekiden.  With a 2:31:28 best amateur Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) leads the women's race fresh off three marathon wins in the last three months.

Yokohama's Kanagawa Half Marathon also goes down Sunday, as always featuring a field packed with Hakone runners.  Two-time Hakone champion Aoyama Gakuin University has two of its best, 2015 National University Half Marathon Tadashi Isshiki and 2016 Hakone Ekiden Eighth Stage winner Yuta Shimoda, on its entry list.  Both Isshiki and Shimoda are set to make their marathon debuts at the end of the month at the Tokyo Marathon, Shimoda at the age of 19.  Other university runners will line up further north at the Moriya Half Marathon.  Northwest of Tokyo, Yuki Kawauchi will run his second ekiden of 2016, representing the Saitama Prefectural Government at the home ground Saitama Ekiden.

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Japanese State Media: Research Shows Japanese Athletes Don't Dope Because They Have Samurai Spirit

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20160204/k10010397731000.html

translated by Brett Larner

Coincidentally timed nearly simultaneously with reports of Chinese state media confirming the existence of a 1995 letter claiming state-sponsored doping, on Feb. 4 Japanese public broadcaster NHK, headed by the controversial Katsuto Momii, aired a news report on "Why Japanese athletes don't dope."  A segment of the video is included in the source article linked above.

In the first-ever survey of Japanese medalists regarding doping, research found that many of them cited the spirit of bushido, the samurai way, as the reason Japanese athletes do not dope.  Among unending doping problems in the rest of the world including the scandal in Russian athletics, Japan has never produced a single athlete who has tested positive at the Olympics.  Against this backdrop, a Waseda University graduate school research group led by Mikio Hibino and Prof. Yoshiyuki Mano interviewed six male and six female Japanese medalists from the last three Olympic Games up to the London Olympics.

The research indicated that on the question of their "reasons for not doping," many of the medalists said that their parents and coaches had taught them, "Do not cheat," and "Giving everything you have is more important than winning or losing."  Additionally, many answered that "something similar to bushido underlies [their] beliefs," showing that the Japanese spirit of fair play stemming from bushido is a major factor.

The research group commented, "It is a deeply interesting result to find that the ancient spirit of bushido is still alive.  In the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Games, we believe this basic research will be crucial to awareness of the importance of spreading anti-doping education around the world."  The results of the research are expected to be published next month in the academic journal "Sports Industry Studies."

Sairi Maeda Scratches From Final Rio Olympics Selection Race With Injury

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20160204-00000096-mai-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

A member of last summer's Beijing World Championships women's marathon team, Sairi Maeda (24, Team Daihatsu) has withdrawn from the Mar. 13 Nagoya Women's Marathon Rio de Janeiro Olympic team selection race, with a leg injury.  With Nagoya serving as the final selection race for the women's marathon team her withdrawal means that Maeda will miss the Rio Olympics.

After setting the national university record of 2:26:46 in her 2014 debut at the Osaka International Women's Marathon Maeda ran 2:22:48 in Nagoya last year, at the time making her the all-time 8th-fastest Japanese woman.  Heading to Beijing as the star of the Japanese team she finished only 13th, missing a chance to score a place in Rio by finishing in the top 8.  Following Beijing Maeda planned to run Osaka in January but was forced to change plans after an injury.  Nagoya became her target, but according to a team spokesperson Maeda was unable to do sufficient serious training due to the lingering effects of her injury.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

'Tokyo 2020 Olympics Minister at Centre of Cash-for-Support Allegations'

http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1033994/tokyo-2020-olympics-minister-at-centre-of-cash-for-support-allegations

National Corporate Half Marathon and 10 km Championships Entry Lists

by Brett Larner

The National Corporate Half Marathon Championships are Japan's premier half, producing more quality times over its 43-year history than any other half marathon worldwide.  This year's 44th running on Feb. 14 counts as the final men's and women's selection race for the 2016 World Half Marathon Championships team and has fields as good as ever lined up.  The men's field includes last year's course record-breaking top two Charles Ndirangu (Team JFE Steel) and Macharia Ndirangu (Team Aichi Seiko), 2014 3rd-placer Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu), 2013 runner-up Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) and 2012 winner Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), along with Rio Olympics marathon team contender Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) and fellow 2:08 marathoners Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN).

The women's field is split between the half marathon and 10 km distances again this year, making for two smaller but equally competitive races.  Kenyan Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) leads the way in the half with a best of 1:09:36.  Last year's runner-up Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) returns with a place in Rio assured, accompanied by 3rd-placer and junior national record holder Reia Iwade (Team Noritz), 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), last year's 10000 m national champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) and more.  The 10 km is led by 2013 winner Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Denso), both with sub-32 bests on the track.  Former Ritsumeikan University captain Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) is also entered in what will be a return from a long time off for injury if she starts.

44th National Corporate Half Marathon and 10 km Championships
Entry List Highlights
Yamaguchi, 2/14/16
click here for complete entry lists
times listed are 2013-2015 half marathon best times except where noted

Men’s Half Marathon
Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/JFE Steel) – 1:00:18 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) – 1:00:30 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Sota Hoshi (Fujitsu) – 1:01:18 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2014)
Johana Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) – 1:01:28 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2013)
Yuji Osuda (Mazda) – 1:01:40 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) – 1:01:56 (Copenhagen World Half 2014)
Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) – 1:02:03 (Ageo City Half 2014)
Yoshihiro Nishizawa (Komori Corp.) – 1:02:03 (Nat’l Univ. Half 2014)
Minato Oishi (Toyota) – 1:02:06 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2013)
Joseph Gitau (Kenya/JFE Steel) – 1:02:07 (Sendai Int’l Half 2013)
Edward Waweru (Kenya/NTN) – 1:02:08 (Gifu Seiryu Half 2014)
Masamichi Yasuda (Aichi Seiko) – 1:02:10 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2014)
Chihiro Miyawaki (Toyota) – 1:02:18 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Kazuki Onishi (Kanebo) – 1:02:21 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2013)
Keita Baba (Honda) – 1:02:23 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Hiroshi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) – 1:02:25 (Nat’l Univ. Half 2015)
Shuji Matsuo (Chudenko) – 1:02:25 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Kenta Kitazawa (Yachiyo Kogyo) – 1:02:32 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Shun Inoura (Yachiyo Kogyo) – 1:02:32 (Ageo City Half 2014)
Ezekiel Chebotibin (Kenya/Toho Refining) – 1:02:34 (Sendai Int’l Half 2015)
Keigo Yano (Nissin Shokuhin) – 1:02:38 (Ageo City Half 2013)
Masaru Aoki (Kanebo) – 1:02:45 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Shota Kai (Yachiyo Kogyo) – 1:02:46 (Marugame Int’l Half 2015)
Yuki Matsumura (Honda) – 1:02:46 (Nat’l Univ. Half 2014)
Yoshihiro Yamamoto (NTN) – 1:02:47 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Kenta Iinuma (SGH Group) – 1:02:47 (Marugame Int’l Half 2013)
Ryotaro Otani (Toyota Boshoku) – 1:02:48 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Ryuji Okada (Otsuka Seiyaku) – 1:02:48 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Takahiro Yagihara (Yachiyo Kogyo) – 1:02:49 (Nat’l Univ. Half 2014)
Toshikatsu Ebina (Komori Corp.) – 1:02:49 (Nat’l Univ. Half 2013)
Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) – 1:02:50 (Marugame Int’l Half 2014)
Nobuyuki Matsumoto (Aisan Kogyo) – 1:02:52 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Ryu Takaku (Yakult) – 1:02:53 (Kumanichi Road Race 2014)
Keisuke Sago (Yasukawa Denki) – 1:02:54 (Ageo City Half 2013)
Tatsumi Abe (Komori Corp.) – 1:02:55 (Marugame Int’l Half 2014)
Yuto Aiba (Chuo Hatsujo) – 1:02:56 (Ageo City Half 2013)
Takuma Sano (Mazda) – 1:02:58 (Ageo City Half 2013)
Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) – 2:08:35 (Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon 2013)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) – 2:08:50 (Hofu Yomiuri Marathon 2014)
Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) – 2:08:56 (Fukuoka Int’l Marathon 2015)
Joseph Kamathi (Kenya/Toyota) – 27:38.18 (Yamaguchi 10000 m 2014)
Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) – 28:06.10 (Hachioji 10000 m 2015)

Women’s Half Marathon
Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Univ. Ent.) – 1:09:36 (Sanyo Ladies’ Half 2013)
Reia Iwade (Noritz) – 1:09:45 (Sanyo Ladies’ Half 2013)
Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku) – 1:09:57 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Rina Yamazaki (Panasonic) – 1:10:45 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2014)
Kumi Ogura (Toenec) – 1:10:51 (Marugame Int’l Half 2013)
Yoko Shibui (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) – 1:11:00 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Miho Ihara (Sekisui Kagaku) – 1:11:02 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2014)
Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu) – 1:11:11 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Kaho Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) – 1:11:12 (Marugame Int’l Half 2015)
Yukari Abe (Shimamaura) – 1:11:18 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2014)
Yui Okada (Otsuka Seiyaku) – 1:11:27 (Sendai Int’l Half 2014)
Yurie Doi (Starts) – 1:11:28 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Ai Inoue (Noritz) – 1:11:53 (Matsue Ladies’ Half 2015)
Asami Furuse (Kyocera) – 1:12:01 (Sanyo Ladies’ Half 2014)
Chiharu Suzuki (Hitachi) – 1:12:27 (Matsue Ladies’ Half 2015)
Erika Ikeda (Higo Ginko) – 1:12:38 (Sanyo Ladies’ Half 2015)
Mizuki Tanimoto (Tenmaya) – 1:12:39 (Nat’l Corp. Half 2015)
Hitomi Suzuki (Panasonic) – 1:12:46 (Matsue Ladies’ Half 2014)
Hinako Kashio (Miyazaki Ginko) – 1:12:49 (Sanyo Ladies’ Half 2015)
Naoka Akutsu (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) – 1:12:52 (Porto Half 2015)
Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) – 1:12:54 (Usti nad Labem Half 2015)
Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) – 31:53.69 (Kobe 10000 m 2014)
Yuka Miyazaki (Kyudenko) – 32:07.43 (Fukagawa 10000 m 2015)

Women’s 10 km
Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) – 31:44.86 (Abashiri 10000 m 2015)
Yuki Mitsunobu (Denso) – 31:56.92 (Abashiri 10000 m 2015)
Risa Yokoe (Toyota Jidoshokki) – 32:13.30 (Nittai Univ. 10000 m 2015)
Asahi Takeuchi (Uniqlo) – 32:26.32 (Abashiri 10000 m 2014)
Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) – 32:30 (Nat’l Corp. 10 km 2015)
Kazue Kojima (Toyota Jidoshokki) – 32:34.45 (Tokushima 10000 m 2011)
Kanayo Miyata (Yutaka Giken) – 32:42.43 (Abashiri 10000 m 2015)
Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) – 32:45 (Nat’l Corp. 10 km 2014)
Yui Fukuda (Toyota Jidoshokki) – 15:37.83 (Abashiri 5000 m 2015)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Nakamoto and Crew Aiming for Rio Olympics at Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

http://news.goo.ne.jp/article/mainichi_region/region/mainichi_region-20160201ddlk40050396000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

Appearing at an event in Kurosaki as part of a campaign to revitalize the area through better health, London Olympics men's marathon 6th-placer Kentaro Nakamoto and other members of the local Yasukawa Denki corporate team spoke on the theme of "From Kurosaki to the World."  "My goal is to make the Rio Olympics," Nakamoto said with determination.

The event took place in the Yasukawa Denki Headquarters Auditorium.  Appearing alongside Nakamoto were 2015 Sydney Marathon winner Hisanori Kitajima and 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon 5th-placer Bunta Kuroki, a graduate of Tsutsui Elementary School.  The trio spoke about the appeal of the marathon, their training, and their future goals.

All three plan to run March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, which will serve as the final Olympic selection race.  Nakamoto commented, "The three of us are working hard together to achieve our goal of making the Olympics."  Kuroki told the crowd, "The local support here gives us strength.  We want to make Kurosaki the source of a new wave of excitement in Japanese athletics."  Kitajima said, "I hope to follow the two of them to the Olympics."

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

JRN to Co-Host Nippon TV Tokyo Marathon International Broadcast

JRN editor Brett Larner will be co-hosting Nippon TV's live international broadcast of the 2016 Tokyo Marathon Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's marathon team and Paralympic Games wheelchair marathon team selection race alongside popular Nippon TV announcer Ralph Suzuki.  The Tokyo Marathon broadcast will begin at 9:00 a.m. Japan time on Sunday, February 28.  More details forthcoming.  Click here for men's and women's marathon elite field entry lists.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

With No Word on Olympic Status, Fukushi Looking at Running Final Selection Race in Nagoya

A post-race tweet by Fukushi's agent Brendan Reilly.

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1599606.html

translated by Brett Larner

Despite having won Sunday's Osaka International Women's Marathon in all-time Japanese #7 2:22:17 to seemingly mark herself a lock for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team, Kayoko Fukushi (33, Team Wacoal) revealed on Feb. 1 that she is considering running the final selection race at the Mar. 13 Nagoya Women's Marathon as well.

Despite having cleared the JAAF's sub-2:22:30 Olympic standard with a win, depending on what other athletes do in Nagoya there is a slight chance Fukushi could be cut out of contention, and with the additional problem of a lack of clarity in the JAAF's Olympic selection criteria Fukushi may make the unprecedented move of running a second selection race.

A day after she shouted, "I gots Rio in my pocket y'all!" from the victory podium in Osaka, her possible change of plans came to light.  Fukushi's coach at the Wacoal team, Tadayuki Nagayama, 55, told reporters, "The JAAF hasn't said a single word to us to indicate, 'You're in.'  We thought she had earned her place on the team, so if she hasn't yet then we have to enter her in Nagoya despite the risks."