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Matsuzaki and Ichiyama Clear London Standards - Payton Jordan and Golden Games in Nobeoka Results

by Brett Larner

Stanford University’s Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational has long been a mainstay for Japanese distance runners, the site of 10000 m national record runs by both Yoko Shibui and Toshinari Takaoka. But with the steady rise of the Golden Games in Nobeoka meet in Japan’s version of Eugene, Oregon, more and more have been passing Stanford by to run on home ground.

With the two meets happening almost simultaneously this year only one Japanese man, Minato Oishi (Team Toyota) made the trip over to the States. With a 27:48.56 best from last November Oishi was only 25th of 27 finishers in 29:17.60. Most of the other main contenders for the London World Championships team in the 10000 m ran in Nobeoka, where Rio Olympics silver medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) paced a field including proven sub-28 men Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Yuta Shitara (Team Honda), Ken Yokote (Team Fujitsu), Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei), Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), Keita Shitara (Saitama T&F Assoc.), Shuho Dairokuno (Team Asahi Kasei) and more in the hunt for the 27:45.00 London standard.

Despite perfect splits in the first few km things began to come apart after 3000 m, Tanui slipping off the target 66-second laps and then surging to make it up. Only Yoroizaka, Sato and Yuta Shitara could stay on the roller coaster, all three alternating in taking charge of getting back in contact with Tanui. In the end Yoroizaka was the last man standing, short of the London standard but taking the top spot in 27:57.63 to become the first Japanese man under 28 this year.

Other top men lined up in the 5000 m hoping for the 13:22.00 London standard in that distance. The only Japanese man under 13:30 so far this year, Hiroki Matsueda (Team Fujitsu) opted for the C-heat to run against over 30 Japan-based Africans including the likes of Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and William Malel (Team Honda). Staying with the leaders through the first half of a race in which every km got faster, Matsueda lost touch over the second half to take 10th in only 13:32.62. Macharia Ndirangu (Team Aichi Seiko) won in 13:19.42, kicking past longtime leader Wesley Ledama (Team Subaru) with 200 m to go. Ledama and 3rd-placer Evans Keitany (Team Toyota Boshoku) both also cleared the London standard.

While they were also split between the two meets, in contrast to the men more top-level Japanese women opted for Stanford over Nobeoka. Four women, Japan’s three Rio 10000 m Olympians Yuka Takashima (Team Shiseido), Ayuko Suzuki (Team Japan Post), Hanami Sekine (Team Japan Post) and newcomer Mao Ichiyama (Team Wacoal) cleared the 32:15.00 London standard, all but Sekine breaking 32 minutes. Takashima took the top spot among them at 5th overall, breaking into the all-time Japanese top 25 with a 31:33.33 PB. Defending national champion Suzuki returned from a long injury with a quality 31:41.74 for 8th, with Ichiyama PBing in 31:49.01 for 10th. Sekine looked off her best form but still succeeded in getting under the standard in 32:10.22.

In the 5000 m, Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) ran a strong 15:19.91 for 2nd overall, becoming the third Japanese woman to clear the 15:22.00 London standard. Having just missed the standard with a 15:23.48 PB at last month’s Mt. SAC Relays, Yui Fukuda (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) opted to try for it again in Nobeoka. Unable to stay with the fast pace of lead African trio Shuru Bulo (Team Toto), Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) and Pauline Kamulu (Team Route Inn Hotels), Fukuda instead ran in a second trio with teammate Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) and Mariam Waithera (Team Kyudenko) right on qualifying pace. It looked doable, but as the later laps ticked by the pace fell off just enough to put the standard out of reach, Fukuda ending up 5th in 15:26.62. Up front, Ethiopian Bulo won an intense sprint finish to win in 15:12.36.

With the addition of Ichiyama and Matsuzaki to the standings Japan now has three women with the London 5000 m standard and sixteen with the 10000 m standard, promising full teams in both. By contrast, no Japanese men have hit the 13:22.00 London 5000 m standard, a time only nine Japanese men have cleared in history. Only one man, national record holder Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), holds a time under the standard in the 10000 m, and with Murayama out of commission most of this season with injury including a DNS in Nobeoka this weekend, at this point the specter is rising of seeing no Japanese men on the track in London at anything longer than the sprints.

Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational
Stanford University, U.S.A., 5/5/17
click here for complete results

Men’s 10000 m
1. Patrick Tiernan (Australia) - 27:29.81
2. Mo Ahmed (Canada) - 27:30.00
3. Shadrack Kipchirchir (U.S.A.) - 27:32.18
4. Hassan Mead (U.S.A.) - 27:34.38
5. Abbabiya Simbassa (U.S.A.) - 27:45.78
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25. Minato Oishi (Toyota) - 29:17.60

Women’s 10000 m
1. Meraf Bahta (Sweden) - 31:13.06
2. Amy Cragg (U.S.A.) - 31:17.20
3. Goytom Gebreslase (Ethiopia) - 31:25.61
4. Emily Sisson (U.S.A.) - 31:32.53
5. Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) – 31:33.33 – PB
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8. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) – 31:41.74
10. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) – 31:49.01 – PB
13. Hanami Sekine (Japan Post) – 32:10.22
26. Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 32:56.38

Women’s 5000 m Section 1
1. Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) - 15:13.15
2. Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) – 15:19.91
3. Lauren Paquette (U.S.A.) - 15:20.48
4. Andrea Seccafien (Canada) - 15:21.64
5. Eilish McColgan (U.K.) - 15:22.12
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11. Yukari Abe (Shimamura) - 15:27.62
12. Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) - 15:27.97
16. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 15:44.78


Golden Games in Nobeoka
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 5/6/17
click here for complete results

Men’s 10000 m
1. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) – 27:57.63
2. Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) – 28:09.01
3. Yuta Shitara (Honda) – 28:13.42
4. Ken Yokote (Fujitsu) – 28:13.85
5. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) – 28:15.97
6. Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) – 28:16.87
7. Mitsunori Asaoka (Hitachi Butsuryu) – 29:00.91
8. Keita Shitara (Saitama T&F Assoc.) – 29:09.49
9. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) – 29:17.10
10. Yuma Hattori (Toyota) – 29:27.18

Men’s 5000 m Heat C
1. Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) – 13:19.42
2. Wesley Ledama (Subaru) – 13:19.96
3. Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) – 13:21.72
4. Teresa Nyakora (Mazda) – 13:22.65
5. Leonard Barsoton (Nissin Shokuhin) – 13:23.94
6. Alfred Ngeno (Nissin Shokuhin) – 13:28.00
7. Kassa Mekashaw (Yachiyo Kogyo) – 13:28.56
8. John Maina (Fujitsu) – 13:28.78
9. Bernard Kimani (Yakult) – 13:31.90
10. Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) – 13:32.62

Women’s 5000 m Heat A
1. Shuru Bulo (Toto) – 15:12.36
2. Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) – 15:13.81
3. Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) – 15:14.89
4. Ann Karindi (Toyota Jidoshokki) – 15:24.81
5. Yui Fukuda (Toyota Jidoshokki) – 15:26.62
6. Mariam Waithera (Kyudenko) – 15:30.28
7. Ai Inoue (Noritz) – 15:50.59
8. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) – 15:51.75
9. Riho Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) – 15:52.20
10. Miku Moribayashi (Isahaya H.S.) – 15:55.06

© 2017 Brett Larner
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