Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2012

Legendary Team S&B to Disband (updated)

                                   Seko with the announcement. Click photo to enlarge.

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2012/09/01/kiji/K20120901004017610.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120831-1009359.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120831-1009418.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120831-1009427.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120831-1009421.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120831-1009429.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120831-1009436.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
S&B greats group photo (c) 2012 Tim Chamberlain, all rights reserved

S&B Foods announced Aug. 31 that its men's running team, long the home of Japan's best distance runners, will be disbanded at the end of the fiscal year next March.  He himself the team's greatest success at the marathon, S&B …

Nakamoto Meets With Lieutenant Governor and Mayor to Discuss Olympic Marathon 6th-Place Finish

http://mainichi.jp/area/yamaguchi/news/20120829ddlk35050403000c.html
http://www.tvq.co.jp/news/news.php?did=8331

translated and edited by Brett Larner

London Olympics men's marathoner and Shimonoseki native Kentaro Nakamoto (29, Team Yasukawa Denki), met with Yamaguchi prefecture lieutenant governor Minoru Okada Aug. 28 at the Yamaguchi Prefectural Government headquarters to discuss his 6th-place finish at the Olympics.  Lieutenant Governor Okada complimented Nakamoto, telling him, "Your run was a great source of pride for all citizens of Yamaguchi.  We were all tremendously impressed and inspired by the way you came up late in the race."  In honor of Nakamoto's performance the lieutenant governor presented him with a selection of locally-produced agricultural and marine food and other items produced by companies within the prefecture.

Lieutenant Governor Okada also asked Nakamoto, "What do you think about while you are running?"  Nakamoto replied, "When…

Hakone Ekiden Champs Toyo University Win 2012 Hood to Coast Relay

by Brett Larner

Making their U.S. debut at the invitation of team sponsor Nike, 2012 Hakone Ekiden course record setters Toyo University won the U.S.' premier road relay, Oregon's Hood to Coast Relay, on Aug. 24-25.  Running a team of mostly first and second-year students, Toyo had little trouble dispatching 2011 Hood to Coast winner Knoxville Track Club and 2011 runner-up Bowerman AC, covering the roughy 320 km, 36 stage course in 17:14:37 to Bowerman AC's 17:56:00.  Defending champ Knoxville TC was 3rd in 18:14:17.

2012 Hood to Coast Relay
320 km, 36 stages
Oregon, 8/24-25/12
click here for complete results

1. Toyo University - 17:14:37
2. Bowerman AC - 17:56:00
3. Knoxville Track Club - 18:14:17
4. Icebreaker Lund - 18:35:45
5. Univ. of Portland Alumni - 19:18:40
6. Google1 - 19:24:08
7. GE Meatballs - 19:27:14
8. Tarahumara - 19:41:42
9. Black Flag - 19:47:07
10. Willamette Dental - 19:47:25

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kawauchi, Yoshizumi Win Hokkaido Marathon, Tanaka Wins City to Surf

by Brett Larner

In his fifth marathon to date this year, 2011 World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) added the second marathon win to his resume as he took the Aug. 26 Hokkaido Marathon in 2:18:38. Osaka-based amateur Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) came from behind to win the women's race in 2:39:06.

Long one of Japan's peak elite summer races, this year saw Hokkaido all but eliminate its elite field this year, and as a result 2:08:37 man Kawauchi's win was never in serious doubt.  After a five-man lead pack went through halfway in 1:08:18, Kawauchi powered away to open a one-minute lead over his nearest competition. Although Kawauchi faded to a 1:10:20 second half in the rising temperatures, his competition faded more dramatically. Kawauchi's final margin of victory was more than three minutes over runner-up Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), who clocked 2:21:49.

In the women's race Yoshizumi started far behind sub-2:30 favori…

Toyo University Arrives in Yamakoshi for Summer Training

http://www.niigata-nippo.co.jp/news/sports/39194.html

translated by Brett Larner

Course record-setting winners of the 2012 Hakone Ekiden this past January, the Toyo University ekiden team arrived in Yamakoshi, Niigata on Aug. 23 for intensive summer training. Looking to defend their Hakone title, ten members of the team led by assistant captain and Hakone Sixth Stage winner Takanori Ichikawa (21) will kick off their season on the tough, hilly mountain roads around Yamakoshi.

This year marks Toyo's fifth time doing summer training in Yamakoshi.  The team will be knocking out its training for five days through the 27th. Arriving midday on the 23rd, the athletes were very soon out the door and running on a 9 km course. Cheers of encouragement from local residents helped the team on as they gritted their way up a steep uphill.

A Group Overflowing With Individuality

The Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden is the largest event in the Japanese sports world, a two day Kanto-region university men's road relay with a TV audience in the tens of millions.  In a typical year nineteen university teams of ten men each run Hakone, along with a twentieth team, the Kanto Region University Select Team, made up of individual runners from schools without teams strong enough to make the Hakone cut.  

The Kanto Region University Athletics Association recently announced its decision to do away with the Select Team following the 2014 Hakone Ekiden.  In response, a famously individualistic Japanese runner, the most famous runner to have gone from the Select Team to the world level, started a blog to protest the decision, posting the following earlier this week.  The athlete has chosen not to directly put his name forward, but his identity should be immediately obvious to even casual JRN readers.  As a hint, the URL linked below includes the Japanese word for select team, senba…

Arata Fujiwara - His Olympic Marathon Defeat in His Own Words

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZZO45177410Q2A820C1000000/

translated by Brett Larner - published by Nikkei 8/22/12

follow Fujiwara on Twitter

For men's marathoner Arata Fujiwara (Miki House), the London Olympics ended with a 45th-place finish in 2:19:11, 11 minutes and 10 seconds slower that winner Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda).  Defeated by the sudden dissolution of his speed after 30 km, how does Fujiwara now analyze his performance?

Beginning July 5, I trained for a month at 1700 m elevation in St. Moritz (Switzerland) before travelling to London on Aug. 4.  There was no need for any more hard workouts, so all I had to do was just wait for the big race on the 12th without worrying about it.  I think now that I should have been more careful about the process of coming down from altitude and re-acclimatizing to sea level.

If you train at altitude one product is that your cardiovascular system and whatnot get stronger. When you come down to sea level it feels great to run even if you…

'Kato Becomes First Japanese to Win Half Marathon'

http://www.newsandsentinelhalfmarathon.com/page/content.detail/id/505260/Kato-becomes-first-Japanese-runner-to-win-half-marathon.html?nav=5014

JRN arranged for Kato & Matsumi's participation in this race.

Parkersburg News & Sentinel Half Marathon
Parkersburg, West Virginia, 8/18/12
click here for complete results

Women
1. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:12:58
2. Malika Mejdoub (Morocco) - 1:13:15
3. Yesimebet Tades Bifa (Ethiopia) - 1:13:27
4. Hellen Jemutai (Kenya) - 1:13:46
5. Hirut Dangul (Ethiopia) - 1:14:44
-----
8. Sakiko Matsumi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:17:03

Men
1. Julius Kogo (Kenya) - 1:03:36
2. Alene Reta (Ethiopia) - 1:04:25
3. Nicholas Kurgat (Kenya) - 1:06:00
4. Dereji Woldegiyorgis (Ethiopia) - 1:06:37
5. Josh Ordway (U.S.A.) - 1:08:06

Okamoto Wins Hiroshima XC Meet

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201208190051.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

click here for complete results

Don't give in to the heat!  On Aug. 18 at Dogoyama Cross Country Park in Shobara, Hiroshima, 2382 runners from the five prefectures of the Chugoku region and as far away as Kanto took part in the 13th Hiroshima Cross Country Meet, competing in 36 different age and gender divisions over five hilly courses from 1 to 8 km in length at 700 m elevation.  At the start of the first race at 11:15 the temperature was 32 degrees.  Cheers of "Keep going!" and "Just a little further!" from the sidelines urged on the sweat-soaked athletes as they covered the course.  With the intense heat slowing them down, most could only shrug in resignation as they checked their watches after crossing the finish line.

The invited athlete field included athletes from the Chugoku Denryoku and Edion corporate teams.  With experience on the Japanese national team at the Wo…

Olympic Marathoner Nakamoto Returns Home to Kita-Kyushu

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20120815/ath12081517340001-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

London Olympics men's marathon 6th-place finisher Kentaro Nakamoto (29, Team Yasukawa Denki) returned home at Kita-Kyushu Airport on Aug. 15, greeted with bouquets of flowers and blessings from the assembled crowd.  All he could say in return was a shy, "Thank you."  Sporting a suit, Nakamoto was first greeted in the arrival hall by former Yasukawa Denki runner Keitaro Murase, 38, who pumped his hand in a hearty handshake and said, "Congratulations!" as applause rang out all around them.

Straining to hold back his emotions, Nakamoto told the crowd, "I ran to the absolute best of my ability.  I'm not satisfied with the result, but I can come back now and say to you from the heart that I gave it my best."  In training for London Nakamoto has barely seen his son Riku, who was born less than two months ago, and, he said, "My family was biggest motivatio…

Tokyo Gets 2020 Olympic Bid Rolling On Yamanote Line

Boarding the Yamanote Line, the major commuter train line circling central Tokyo, just hours after the London Olympics closing ceremonies, we found the entire train decorated with Asics PR advertising Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics featuring Asics-sponsored athletes.

The outside of the Yamanote Line. The rear door of each car also featured a picture of sprinter Chisato Fukushima in full stride.

Inside the train, with a track running down the center aisle.

The text at the bottom says, "Because it is hazardous, please do not run inside the train."

Marathoners Kentaro Nakamoto, Arata Fujiwara and Risa Shigetomo.

One of the many athlete features inside the train, this one spotlighting Fujiwara.

photos (c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

London Olympics Athletics Day Ten - Men's Marathon

by Brett Larner

2012 Tokyo Marathon 3rd-placer Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) staged a surprise upset in the London Olympics men's marathon, dropping two-time world champion Abel Kirui (Kenya) and 2011 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) with 5 km to go to give Uganda its first-ever marathon gold and prevent a Kenyan repeat of the late great Samuel Wanjiru's victory in Beijing four years ago.  Despite the unexpected loss, Kirui and Kipsang became the first-ever Kenyan runners without Japanese coaching to win Olympic marathon medals.

Japanese favorite Arata Fujiwara ran tough in the first two-thirds of the race, teaming up with 2012 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon runner-up Henryk Szost (Poland) to reel in stragglers from the lead pack, but making contact with the chase pack he settled into a slower than hoped for pace that allowed his former Takushoku University roommate Kentaro Nakamoto to catch up.  Where Fujiwara locked on to the rhythm of the pack, Nakamoto p…

It Is Time

The promise of gold awaits the first to find it. He runs.

Olympic Marathoner Nakamoto: "I've Built My Legs to Last"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2012/08/12/kiji/K20120812003885730.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 10th-place finisher Kentaro Nakamoto (29, Team Yasukawa Denki) has done all of his training for the London Olympics domestically, with simple confidence saying, "I've built my legs to last."  His concerns about the London weather are the opposite of most of his competition's: "I'm not very good in cold weather, so I hope it gets hot."

On June 27 Nakamoto celebrated the birth of his son Riku.  His closing words were for his wife Reiko and Riku, who are cheering him on from back home in Japan: "I can't wait to see them after getting the result I want in the race.  I'm shooting for top eight."

Yamamoto Ready to Tackle 100-Corner Marathon Course With Irregular Pacing

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2012/08/12/kiji/K20120812003885720.html

translated by Brett Larner

To prepare himself to tackle the 100+ corner London Olympic marathon course, Ryo Yamamoto (28, Team Sagawa Express) has avoided steady-pace training and instead focused on running in a shifting-pace style, matching his rhythm to the demands of the terrain.  A three-loop route through the heart of the city, the Olympic marathon course is said to have 100 corners.  "In Sugadaira I did a lot of cross-country training, and in both my speedwork and my long runs I focused on changing the pace," he said, showing confidence in the outcome of his training since June, which included periodic visits to view the course.

Yamamoto's monthly mileage has been around 1200 km, the same as before this year's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon where he earned his place at the Olympics.  "It won't be easy, but I'm aiming for the top eight," he said.  "Whenever I have th…

London Olympics Athletics Day Nine - Japanese Results

London, England, 8/11/12
click here for complete results

Men's 50 km Race Walk
1. Sergey Kirdyapkin (Russia) - 3:35:59 - OR
2. Jared Tallent (Australia) - 3:36:53 - PB
3. Tianfeng Si (China) - 3:37:16 - PB
4. Robert Heffernan (Ireland) - 3:37:54 - NR
5. Igor Erokhin (Russia) - 3:37:54 - PB
-----
10. Koichiro Morioka (Japan) - 3:43:14 - PB
DQ - Yuki Yamazaki (Japan)
DQ - Takayuki Tanii (Japan)

Women's 20 km Race Walk
1. Elena Lashmanova (Russia) - 1:25:02 - WR
2. Olga Kaniskina (Russia) - 1:25:09
3. Shenjie Qieyang (China) - 1:25:16 - AR
4. Hong Liu (China) - 1:26:00
5. Anisya Kirdyapkina (Russia) - 1:26:26
-----
11. Masumi Fuchise (Japan) - 1:28:41
18. Mayumi Kawasaki (Japan) - 1:30:20
37. Kumi Otoshi (Japan) - 1:33:50

Men's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Jamaica - 36.84 - WR
2. U.S.A. - 37.04 - NR
3. Trinidad & Tobago - 38.12
4. France - 38.16
5. Japan (Yamagata/Eriguchi/Takahira/Iizuka) - 38.35
6. Netherlands - 38.39
7. Australia - 38.43
DQ - Canada

Men's Javelin Throw Final

London Olympics Athletics Day Eight - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

The Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team came through with a solid 38.07, just 0.04 off the national record, to finish 2nd in their heat and make the London Olympics final thanks in no small part to another big anchor run from 2010 World Jr. Championships 200 m gold medalist Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.).

100 m national champion Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) led off with a superb opening leg to put Japan up front with the heat-winning U.S.A. team.  Despite characteristically smooth exchanges and good runs from past national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas) and Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu), the only returning member of Japan's bronze medal-winning Beijing Olympics team, Japan slipped back over the next two legs before Iizuka took over.  Showing a flash of the brilliance of his collegiate national record anchor run at the 2010 Kanto Region University T&F Championships, Iizuka blew by all but the U.S. to put Japan into 2nd, just off the Beijing team's 3…

London Olympics Athletics Day Seven - Japanese Results

London, England, 8/9/12
click here for complete results

Men's Decathlon Final Standings
1. Ashton Eaton (U.S.A.) - 8869
2. Trey Hardee (U.S.A.) - 8671
3. Leonel Suarez (Cuba) - 8523
-----
20. Keisuke Ushiro (Japan) - 7842

Men's 4x400 m Relay Heat Two
1. Bahamas - 2:58.87 - Q
2. U.S.A. - 2:58.87 - Q
3. Russia - 3:02.01 - Q
-----
6. Japan (Takase/Kanemaru/Azuma/Nakano) - 3:03.86

Women's 4x100 m Relay Heat One
1. U.S.A. - 41.64 - Q
2. Trinidad & Tobago - 42.31 - Q
3. Netherlands - 42.45 - Q
-----
8. Japan (Doi/Ichikawa/Fukushima/Sano) - 44.25

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

London Olympics Athletics Day Six - Japanese Results

London, England, 8/8/12
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat One
1. Hayle Ibrahimov (Azerbaijan) - 13:25.23 - Q
2. Isiah Kiplangat Koech (Kenya) - 13:25.64 - Q
3. Mohamed Farah (U.K.) - 13:26.00 - Q
4. Lopez Lomong (U.S.A.) - 13:26.16 - Q
5. Hagos Gebrehiwet (Ethiopia) - 13:26.16 - Q
6. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi (Kenya) - 13:27.06
7. Arne Gabius (Germany) - 13:28.01
8. Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 13:28.71
9. Moukheld Al-Outaibi (Saudi Arabia) - 13:31.47
10. Bilisuma Shugi (Bahrain) - 13:31.84
-----
12. Yuki Sato (Japan) - 13:38.22

Men's 200 m Semi-Final One
1. Yohan Blake (Jamaica) - 20.01 - Q
2. Wallace Spearmon (U.S.A.) - 20.02 - Q
3. Christophe Lemaitre (France) - 20.03 - q
-----
8. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.70

Men's 200 m Semi-Final Three
1. Churandy Martina (Netherlands) - 20.17 - Q
2. Warren Weir (Jamaica) - 20.28 - Q
3. Christian Malcom (U.K.) - 20.51
-----
6. Shinji Takahira (Japan) - 20.77

Men's Javelin Throw Qualification Round Group A
1. Andreas Thorkildsen (No…

London Olympics Athletics Day Five - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

As in the 10000 m, Japanese women did the lion's share of the work in ensuring fast times in both heats of the women's 5000 m.  Ranked well outside the top five of her heat, 5000 m national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) needed a fast race to have a chance at making the final.  She took Heat One out at a solid 3:01 and led the next three km at a steady 3:03/km, but despite going under 3 minutes for the final km she was outkicked over the final lap by the pursuing pack, falling to 8th in a season-best 15:09.31 behind winner Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) who led three under 15 minutes in 14:58.48.

It looked as though Fukushi might have a shot at making the final on time after 5000 m national champion Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) took Heat Two out slightly slower, but despite winner Gelete Burka (Ethiopia) running only 15:01.44 a denser pack meant Fukushi was shut out.  Niiya almost tied Fukushi on time, improving from #10 to #7 on the all-time Japanes…

The Failure of Japanese Women's Marathoning - Lazy, Self-Indulgent Training

http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/sports/28609/

translated by Brett Larner

The views expressed in this editorial are those of the original author.

In a rainy Olympic women's marathon, the top Japanese finisher was Ryoko Kizaki (27, Team Daihatsu), 16th in 2:27:16 as the Japanese women missed out on the medals and even the top ten for the second Olympiad in a row.  Yoshimi Ozaki (31, Team Daiichi Seimei) was 19th in 2:27:43, while Risa Shigetomo (24, Team Tenmaya) ran 2:40:06 for a lowly 79th place.  By comparison, Tiki Gelana (24, Ethiopia) set a new Olympic record as she won in 2:23:07.  The Japanese women were totally defeated and could not even improve on top Beijing Olympics Japanese finisher* Yurika Nakamura's 13th place.  What has happened to Japan?

"It's not so much that the international level has gotten more competitive, it's more that Japan has stopped going anywhere," says double Olympic marathon medalist and TV commentator Yuko Arimori (45).  She feels …

Kiumbani, Shitara Break Stage Records at 65th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden

by Brett Larner

A select team of corporate runners from the East Japan region outran strong corporate teams Honda and Fujitsu along with 2012 Hakone Ekiden winners Toyo University to take the overall win at the 65th running of the Towada Hachimantai Ekiden, Aug. 7 in Kazuno, Akita.

Toyo sophomore Masaya Taguchi took down all comers on the First Stage, opening a gap of 15 seconds over the 13.6 km leg.  His teammate Keita Shitara broke the course record on the Second Stage, covering 12.4 km in 37:04, but from behind him the East Japan team's Johnson Kiumbani, regularly with Team Konica Minolta, blazed a 36:17 record to put East Japan ahead by 22 seconds.  From there the team never looked back as they widened their lead to a final winning margin of 2:07 by the end of the 73.8 km race, clocking 3:43:10.

Toyo fell to 7th on the Third Stage after a poor run from Hiroaki Koike and remained around the same position the rest of the race, overtaken by five corporate teams but holding off co…

London Olymics Athletics Day Four - Japanese Results

London, England, 8/6/12
click here for complete results

Women's 400 mH Semi-Final Three
1. Muizat Ajoke Odumosu (Nigeria) - 54.40 - Q, NR
2. Georganne Moline (U.S.A.) - 54.74 - Q
3. Denisa Rosolova (Czech Republic) - 54.87 - q
-----
8. Satomi Kubokura (Japan) - 56.25

Men's 800 m Heat Five
1. Hamada Mohamed (Egypt) - 1:48.05 - Q
2. Sajad Moradi (Iran) - 1:48.23 - Q
3. Kevin Lopez (Spain) - 1:48.27 - Q
4. Masato Yokota (Japan) - 1:48.48

Women's 200 m Heat Three
1. Carmelita Jeter (U.S.A.) - 22.65 - Q
2. Abiodun Oyepitan (U.K.) - 22.92 - Q
3. Sherone Simpson (Jamaica) - 22.97 - Q
-----
7. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 24.14

Women's 100 mH Heat One
1. Alina Talay (Belarus) - 12.71 - Q, PB
2. Jessica Zelinka (Canada) - 12.75 - Q
3. Tiffany Porter (U.K.) - 12.79 - Q
-----
7. Ayako Kimura (Japan) - 13.75

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Japanese Olympic Team Profiles - Men's Marathon

by Brett Larner

Japanese men haven't won an Olympic marathon medal since 1992 when Koichi Morishita took silver in Barcelona.  The landscape has changed dramatically since Beijing, and no doubt few outside Japan consider any of this year's strong team to be in contention to end the twenty-year drought.  In Japan, it's another story.

2010's top Japanese man, ex-corporate league independent Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) returned from 15 months of setbacks to run 2:07:48 for 2nd at this year's Tokyo Marathon, in the process becoming the all-time 7-th best Japanese man over the marathon distance.  Since then he has replaced civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) as the focus of Japanese marathon hopes.  Most consider him one of the country's best chances for an Olympic medal, and the best among the three men and three women in the event the Japanese love the most.

In 2010 after leaving the corporate league to go independent Fujiwara approached JRN about …

London Olympics Women's Marathon and Athletics Day Three Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

photos by Horst Milde


Japan's results in the London Olympics women's marathon gave a fair account of the state of the sport in the country, an improvement over Beijing with all three women finishing and two under 2:28 versus one finisher in 2:30:19 four years ago, but where Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) was 13th in Beijing the highest finisher this time, autumn 2011 Yokohama International Women's Marathon winner Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu), was only 16th.  Despite a fall at a drink station just past halfway, former Team Denso runner Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) won gold to continue the legacy of Japan-trained African Olympic marathon medalists, outkicking 2011 Daegu World Championships silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo and Russia's Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova, a top-five finisher at both the 2011 and 2012 Tokyo Marathons.

2012 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) was among the early pacesetters, running in the front line …

London Olympics Athletics Day Two - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

The big race of the second day of Olympic track and field competition was of course the historic men's 10000 m, which saw training partners Mo Farah (U.K.) and Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) go 1-2 to give the U.K. its first-ever Olympic 10000 m gold and the U.S. its first men's 10000 m medal since the Tokyo Olympics.  Ethiopia's Tariku Bekele claimed bronze over his brother Kenenisa Bekele, with Saitama-based Bitan Karoki, a graduate of Hiroshima's Sera H.S. who now runs for Team S&B, taking 5th to land as the top Kenyan after losing out to the superior closing speed of the top four.  Two-time Japanese 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), the only Japanese man in the race, ran up to expectations, sitting mid-pack through the slow early stages before falling away once the true action began and crossing the finish line in 28:44.06 for 22nd place.

100 m national champion Takayuki Kishimoto (Keio Univ.) had better luck, bringing the Japanes…

London Olympics Athletics Day One - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Niiya, Yoshikawa and Fukushi set the tone of the women's 10000 m.

Photo courtesy Martin Lever, www.one-man-running-club.com







The highlights of the first day of track and field competition at the London Olympics on the Japanese team came courtesy of two of the best people returning from the Daegu World Championships team. In the women's 10000 m, Japanese runners Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) and Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) would have none of the slow pace the rest of the field set, breaking away as a trio to lead a 3:06 opening km, joined by Ireland's Fionnuala Britton.  Niiya, the 5000 m national champion and the greatest credit to the Japanese track contingent in Daegu, took over the lead from Fukushi after 1000 m and, showing no signs of it being only her second track 10000 m, held position until nearly 5000 m even after the Kenyan and Ethiopian contingents took the Japanese challenge seriously and moved to stay in touc…

Japanese Olympic Team Profiles - Sprints, Hurdles and Walks

by Brett Larner

Japan's best chances for athletics medals in London may come in the men's 400 m hurdles and 50 km race walk.  Hosei University's Takayuki Kishimoto dropped a major PB of 48.41 to win June's National Championships/Olympic Trials and find himself ranked 5th in the world and 4th in the Olympic field.  With little championship experience to his name it will be tough for him to stand up to the pressure of his Olympic debut, but still on an upward roll he could edge his way in for some hardware.

50 km race walk national record holder Yuki Yamazaki (SDF Academy) comes into the Olympics ranked 5th in the field by season best despite being well off his best.  With at least nine men holding faster PB marks it won't be easy for him to break into the medals, but a solid performance could earn him the bronze.

On the subject of bronze, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay comes to London as the defending bronze medal squad.  Only one member of the Beijing lineup,…