Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fujiwara and Okada Win Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner

His career marked by more ups and downs than virtually any other elite marathoner, London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) pulled yet another surprise comeback out of nowhere to win the hot and humid Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo on Sunday.  One of only five Japanese men to ever win a marathon outside Japan under 2:10, after a mid-race surge Fujiwara's strategy evoked his course record-setting 2010 Ottawa Marathon win, waiting until the final km before going for a long surge over a group of five including his training partner and 2010 Hokkaido winner Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project), 2015 Nagano Marathon runner-up Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) and others.  Fujiwara crossed the finish line to claim his second career marathon victory in 2:16:49, one of the slower winning times in recent Hokkaido history but a full 11 seconds over Njui in the final kilometer.

Njui held off Tanigawa, who previously felt the sting of Fujiwara's finishing speed at the 2013 Great North Run half marathon in the U.K., by 3 seconds, 2:17:00 to 2:17:03 with 4th-palcer Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) just behind in 2:17:04.  Maybe the only negative from Fujiwara's perspective: earlier the same morning his indie rival Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won Australia's Perth City to Surf Marathon in a slightly faster time of 2:16:23.  With a successful marathon behind him Fujiwara now turns his focus to the corporate federation's ~$1 million bonus for a new Japanese national record.

The women's race was clearer-cut, with Yui Okada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), a training partner of Mai Ito who simultaneously took 7th in the Beijing World Championships women's marathon, easily winning her debut in 2:32:10.  Having made a return to marathoning at March's Seoul International Marathon following her two-year suspension for a positive EPO test at the 2012 Honolulu Marathon, 2006 Hokkaido winner Kaori Yoshida (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) was just over a minute behind in 2:33:14, showing few signs of aging at just 21 seconds off her 2006 winning time.  Corporate leaguer Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) was a close 3rd behind Yoshida in 2:33:20.

Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/30/15 
click here for complete results

Men
1. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 2:16:49
2. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 2:17:00
3. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta) - 2:17:03
4. Hideaki Tamura (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:17:04
5. Yuji Iwata (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 2:17:29
6. Akinori Iida (Honda) - 2:18:22
7. Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business Service) - 2:18:22
8. Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) - 2:18:56
9. Yuya Ito (Toyota) - 2:18:58
10. Akiyuki Iwanaga (Kyudenko) - 2:19:12
11. Teppei Suegami (YKK) - 2:19:25
12. Kenta Chiba (Fujitsu) - 2:19:33
13. Yu Chiba (Honda) - 2:20:48
-----
DNF - Ryosuke Fukuyama (Honda)

Women
1. Yui Okada (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:32:10
2. Kaori Yoshida (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 2:33:14
3. Yuko Mizuguchi (Denso) - 2:33:20
4. Asami Furuse (Kyocera) - 2:34:12
5. Aki Odagiri (Tenmaya) - 2:35:01
6. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:35:23
7. Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:36:35
8. Yukiko Okuno (Shiseido) - 2:36:46
9. Kana Orino (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:38:02
10. Maya Nishio (Hokuren) - 2:39:05

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Beijing World Championships Women's Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

In a sight already familiar from the women's 5000 m heats and 10000 m final, the Japanese women ran up front together through most of the Beijing World Championships women's marathon, the slow early pace and low-hanging fruit of the JAAF's promise of a place on the Rio Olympic team to the first of them to make the top 8 combining to ensure they stayed near the front until things really got moving.  Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was the first Japanese woman to go to the lead, joined in short order by domestic favorite Sairi Maeda (Team Daihatsu) and the controversial Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya).  Apart from periodic surges at water stations by Mare Dibaba and other members of the Ethiopian team the Japanese trio led until well into the second half tailed all the while by rival Hye-Song Kim (North Korea).

Shigetomo, again followed by Kim, made the first real effort to get the pace moving faster after halfway, killing off the European members of the lead pack and sending Ito and Maeda to the back row.  Ito slipped a few meters behind and appeared to be in trouble, but on the uphill of an overpass it was Maeda who first really lost touch with the leaders.  A surge from 2014 Asian Games champion and 2015 Nagoya Women's Marathon winner Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) dropped all the non-African-born contenders, leaving six up front with Ito leading a chase group of five.

Up front it came down a sprint finish with Dibaba taking gold in 2:27:35 a stride ahead of Helah Kiprop (Kenya), Kirwa consigned to bronze in 2:27:39.  Further back, Ito pulled away from Kim and the others in pursuit of Tirfi Tsegaye (Ethiopia), a straggler from the lead group, but could not close the gap.  7th in 2:29:48, she nevertheless cleared the JAAF's requirements and scored herself a place on the Rio Olympic team, along with men's 50 km racewalk bronze medalist Takayuki Tanii one of only two Japanese athletes to do it in Beijing.  Maeda overtook Shigetomo late in the race, 13th in 2:31:46 with Shigetomo 14th in 2:32:37.

The sight of the entire Japanese women's team frontrunning made for good TV for the home crowd and played to memories of the golden years, but ultimately the results were only passable.  In some events, say the men's 200 m or women's 5000 m, a top 8 finish by a Japanese athlete would be meaningful, but in the women's marathon where Japanese athletes have made the top 8 at every World Championships except 1983, 1987 and 1995, it was a virtual handout.  With the remaining two places on the Rio team to be settled between three domestic selection races the assigning of one place now leaves plenty of room for the same kind of chicanery that saw Shigetomo named to the Beijing team over Yokohama selection race winner Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei).  The wisdom of this process and whether Japanese women will prove relevant in Rio either way remain to be seen a year from now.

15th IAAF World Championships Women's Marathon
Beijing, China, 8/30/15
click here for complete results

1. Mare Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 2:27:35
2. Helah Kiprop (Kenya) - 2:27:36
3. Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 2:27:39
4. Jemima Sumgong (Kenya) - 2:27:42
5. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:28:18
6. Tigist Tufa (Ethiopia) - 2:29:12
7. Mai Ito (Japan) - 2:29:48
8. Tirfi Tsegaye (Ethiopia) - 2:30:54
9. Hye-Song Kim (North Korea) - 2:30:59
10. Serena Burla (U.S.A.) - 2:31:06
-----
13. Sairi Maeda (Japan) - 2:31:46
14. Risa Shigetomo (Japan) - 2:32:37

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, August 29, 2015

'Japanese Government Confirm New Tokyo Olympic Stadium Plans - With January 2020 as Target Completion Date'

http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1029669/japanese-government-confirm-new-tokyo-stadium-plans-with-january-2020-target-completion-date

Beijing World Championships Day Eight - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/29/15
click here for complete results

Men's 50 km Race Walk
1. Matej Toth (Slovakia) - 3:40:32
2. Jared Tallent (Australia) - 3:42.17
3. Takayuki Tanii (Japan) - 3:42:55
-----
4. Hirooki Arai (Japan) - 3:43:44
34. Yuki Yamazaki (Japan) - 4:03:54

Masters Women 400 m
1. Sarah Louise Read Cayton (Great Britain) - 1:00.05
2. Virginia Corinne Mitchell (Great Britain) - 1:00.81
3. Elizabeth Gail Wilson (New Zealand) - 1:02.54
-----
7. Yukiko Usui (Japan) - 1:05.34

Men's 4x100 m Relay Heat 1
1. U.S.A. - 37.91 - Q
2. Great Britain - 38.20 - Q
3. Germany - 38.57 - Q
4. Japan - 38.60

Women's 4x400 m Relay Heat 2
1. U.S.A. - 3:23.05 - Q
2. Great Britain - 3:23.90 - Q
3. France - 3:24.86 - Q
-----
7. Japan - 3:28.91 - NR

Men's 4x400 m Relay Heat 1
1. Great Britain - 2:59.05 - Q
2. Belgium - 2:59.28 - Q
3. France - 2:59.42 - Q
-----
7. Japan - 3:02.97

Men's Decathlon
1. Ashton Eaton (U.S.A.) - 9045 - WR
2. Damian Warner (Canada) - 8695 - NR
3. Rico Freimuth (Germany) - 8561 - PB
-----
16. Akihiko Nakamura (Japan) - 7745
20. Keisuke Ushiro (Japan) - 7532

Friday, August 28, 2015

Beijing World Championships Day Seven - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/28/15
click here for complete results

Women's 20 km Race Walk
1. Hong Liu (China) - 1:27:45
2. Xiuzhi Lu (China) - 1:27:45
3. Lyudmyla Olyanovska (Ukraine) - 1:28:13
4. Ana Cabecinha (Portugal) - 1:29:29
5. Antonella Palmisano (Italy) - 1:29:34
-----
25. Kumiko Okada (Japan) - 1:34:56

Men's High Jump Qualification Group A
1. Derek Drouin (Canada) - 2.31 m - Q
2. Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) - 2.31 m - Q
3. Brandon Starc (Australia) - 2.13 m - PB - Q
-----
15. Naoto Tobe (Japan) - 2.26 m
16. Takashi Eto (Japan) - 2.22 m

Men's High Jump Qualification Group B
1. Guowei Zhang (China) - 2.31 m - Q
2. Bohdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) - 2.31 m - Q
3. Dimitrios Chondrokoukis (Cyprus) - 2.31 m - Q
-----
16. Yuji Hiramatsu (Japan) - 2.17 m

Women's Javelin Throw Qualification Group A
1. Britney Borman (U.S.A.) - 64.22 m - Q
2. Christina Obergfull (Germany) - 64.10 m - Q
3. Sunette Vilioen (South Africa) - 63.93 m - Q
-----
9. Yuki Ebihara (Japan) - 60.30 m - Q

Men's Decathlon - Day One Point Total
1. Ashton Eaton (U.S.A.) - 4703
2. Damian Warner (Canada) - 4530
3. Rico Freimuth (Germany) - 44:06
----
22. Akihiko Nakamura (Japan) - 4030
26. Keisuke Ushiro (Japan) - 3766

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sani Brown's Semifinal Pulls in 25.5% Viewership Ratings, Highest So Far at Beijing World Championships

http://news.biglobe.ne.jp/entertainment/0827/mnn_150827_4806869453.html
http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2015/08/26/220/
http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2015/08/24/379/

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At 9:39 p.m. on Aug. 26 during the TBS network's exclusive live broadcast of the Beijing World Championships, the men's 200 m Semifinal 2 featuring Japan's 16-year-old Abdul Hakim Sani Brown recorded an instantaneous viewership rating of 25.5%, the highest so far during these World Championships.  The high ratings continued during Semifinal 3, Japan's Kei Takase and Kenji Fujimitsu pulling in ratings of 24.5% at 9:47 p.m.  For comparison, Sani Brown's opening heat on Aug. 25 where he placed 2nd generated 23.1% viewership ratings, with world record holder Usain Bolt's 200 m heat attracting only 19.9% ratings.  Bolt's 100 m title defense over rival Justin Gatlin on Aug. 23 scored 24.2% viewership ratings.

Average ratings for the men's 200 m semifinals program window on Aug. 26 from 9:10 p.m. to 10:34 p.m. were 18.5%.  During the preceding 7:00 p.m. - 9:09 p.m. program window which included Japan's Ryohei Arai in the men's javelin final and Chisato Fukushima in the women's 200 m heats average viewership ratings were 13.7%, indicating the high level of attention the Beijing World Championships are receiving.  Ratings were determined by Video Research Inc.

Beijing World Championships Day Six - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/27/15
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 15:20.82 - Q
2. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 15:20.94 - Q
3. Mimi Belete (Bahrain) - 15:20.94 - Q
4. Irene Chepet Cheptai (Kenya) - 15:21.03 - Q
5. Susan Kuijken (Netherlands) - 15:25.67 - Q
6. Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 15:33.84 - q
7. Stephanie Twell (Great Britain) - 15:34.72 - q
8. Nicole Tully (U.S.A.) - 15:41.03 - q

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) - 15:09.40 - Q
2. Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) - 15:14.57 - Q
3. Viola Jelegat Kibiwot (Kenya) - 15:15.27 - Q
4. Janet Kisa (Kenya) - 15:26.49 - Q
5. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 15:26.67 - Q
6. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan) - 15:28.18 - q
7. Jennifer Wenth (Austria) - 15:43.57 - q
-----
11. Azusa Sumi (Japan) - 16:13.65

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Beijing World Championships Day Five - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/26/15
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Semifinal 2 -0.2 m/s
1. Justin Gatlin (U.S.A.) - 19.87 - Q
2. Alonso Edward (Panama) - 20.02 - Q
3. Femi Ogunode (Qatar) - 20.05 - NR - q
-----
5. Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Japan) - 20.47

Men's 200 m Semifinal 3 +0.8 m/s
1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) - 19.95 - Q
2. Anaso Jobodwana (South Africa) - 20.01 - Q
3. Ramil Guliyev (Turkey) - 20.10 - q
-----
7. Kenji Fujimitsu (Japan) - 20.34
8. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.64

Women's 200 m Heat 5 +0.1 m/s
1. Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica) - 22.79 - Q
2. Semoy Hackett (Trinidad and Tobago) - 22.89 - Q
3. Margaret Adeoye (Great Britain) - 23.10 - Q
-----
5. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 23.30

Men's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Hagos Gebrhiwet (Ethiopia) - 13:45.00 - Q
2. Ben True (U.S.A.) - 13:45.09 - Q
3. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi (Kenya) - 13:45.28 - Q
4. Tom Farrell (Great Britain) - 13:45.29 - Q
5. Imane Merga (Ethiopia) - 13:45.41 - Q
-----
7. Suguru Osako (Japan) - 13:45.82

Men's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Yomif Kejelcha (Ethiopia) - 13:19.38 - Q
2. Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 13:19.44 - Q
3. Mohammed Ahmed (Canada) - 13:19.58 - Q
4. Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku (Kenya) - 13:19.58 - Q
5. Albert Kibichii Rop (Bahrain) - 13:19.61 - Q
-----
17. Kota Murayama (Japan) - 14:07.11

Men's Javelin Throw Final
1. Julius Yego (Kenya) - 92.72 m
2. Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed (Egypt) - 88.99 m
3. Tero Pitkamaki (Finland) - 87.64 m
-----
9. Ryohei Arai (Japan) - 83.07 m