Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tokyo Olympics Logo Designer Sano Denies Plagiarism

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20150805-00000072-nksports-spo

translated by Brett Larner

Amid controversy surrounding the "strong similarity" of the official 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games logos to the logo of Belgium's Theatre de Liege, art director Kenjiro Sano, 43, the person responsible for the Tokyo design, held a press conference August 5th in Tokyo.  Sano strongly denied the theater's claims of plagiarism, calling them "totally groundless" and saying that his design was "something made starting from zero."  Sano said that he "had never seen" the theater's logo, adding, "As an art director I have never ripped anything off," and "This is the culmination of my career.  As something truly original, I wanted to share it with the rest of the world."

Sano was on a business trip to New York through August 4, learning of the current problems while on the trip.  "It was a shock," he said.  "It has been very hard to deal with before today."  He stressed that "the design concept [of the theater's logo] is completely different."  The theater's logo incorporates the letter L from Liege and the letter T from Theatre, while Sano's design is based a square divided into nine parts featuring elements like the letter T and a red circle, a composition he emphasized was his own.  "The background itself is completely different," he said.

Apart from the theater's logo, the similarity of Sano's design to that of a Spanish agency's logo used when soliciting for donations for the Great East Japan Earthquake, particularly in the use of the colors gold, black and red, has also been raised, but, said Sano, "That's ridiculous.  Those are the most Japanese of colors."

The Theatre de Liege side has indicated that it is considering legal action and has already send a letter to the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee.  The organizing committe has said that the theater's logo is not trademarked and that as such it sees no problem with continuing to use Sano's current logo.

Tokyo Olympic Stadium Plans to Abandon Movable Electric Seating and Permanent Sub-Track

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20150801/oly15080100090001-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

After withdrawing plans for the 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games main stadium in Shinjuku, Tokyo due to criticism of the plans' massive costs, the government has revealed that it is eliminating one of the plan's key features, movable electric seating, from consideration for inclusion in revised plans.  Involved sources cited a reduction in construction costs as the reason.  The retractable roof covering the field will likewise be eliminated.

It was also announced that a permanent sub-track, used for track and field athletes to prepare and warm up for their events, would also not be included, making it clear that the conventional alternative of a temporary sub-track would be the firm policy for whatever future plan is selected for the stadium.  It is thus evident that the function of the New National Stadium under forthcoming plans will be greatly reduced from previous expectations.

Movable seating is useful in soccer and other sports, allowing spectators to sit closer to the field for a more enjoyable experience.  After the announcement that existing plans for the stadium would be scrapped, Japan Football Association president Kuniya Daini had contacted Japan Olympic Committee director Toshiaki Endo to request that movable seating be included in future plans.

With a sub-track a necessity for staging national and international-level track and field competitions the JAAF had likewise insisted on the inclusion of a permanent sub-track, but that direction was abandoned due to the difficulty of securing sufficient land in the area and other factors.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Japan Announces Full Team for Beijing World Championships

by Brett Larner

On Aug. 4 the JAAF released the full Japanese team for the 2015 Beijing World Championships later this month.  Men's 20 km racewalk world record holder Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) leads the team along with national record holders Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC, women's 100 m and 200 m), Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ., women's 100 m Jr. NR), Asami Chiba (Toho Ginko, women's 400 m), Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project, men's 5000 m), Yuki Yamazaki (SDF Academy, men's 50 km racewalk), Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC, women's javelin throw) and Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC, men's decathlon) plus 2015 World Youth Games record-setting double 100 m and 200 m gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.).  Full team roster:

Sprints and Relays
Men's 100 m, 200 m and 4x100 m Relay
Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) - 10.09 -0.1 m/s / 20.14 +1.0 m/s
Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zenrin) - 20.13 +0.6 m/s
Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.) - 20.34 -0.4 m/s
Kotaro Taniguchi (Chuo Univ.) - 20.45 +0.6 m/s
Takuya Nagata (Hosei Univ.) - 10.19 +0.4 m/s / 20.63 +0.8 m/s
Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 10.23 +1.3 m/s / 20.64

Women's 100 m and 200 m
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.21 +1.7 m/s - NR / 22.89 -0.2 m/s - NR

Men's 400 m
Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.16

Women's 4x100 m
Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 11.43 +1.8 m/s - Jr. NR
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 11.43 +2.0 m/s
Yuki Miyazawa (Toyama Univ.) - 11.67 +0.0 m/s
Iyoba Edoba (Tokyo H.S.) -11.72 -1.2 m/s

Men's 4x400 m
Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 45.52
Kentaro Sato (Josai Univ.) - 45.58
Naoki Kobayashi (Tokai Univ.) - 45.79
Tomoya Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 46.07

Women's 4x400 m
Asami Chiba (Toho Ginko) - 51.75 - NR
Seika Aoyama (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 53.05
Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 53.05
Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - 53.50
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 54.14

Long Distance
Men's 5000 m
Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) - 13:08.40 - NR
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) - 13:12.63
Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 13:19.62

Women's 5000 m
Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post Group) - 15:14.96
Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:16.82
Azusa Sumi (Universal Entertainment) - 15:17.62

Men's 10000 m
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) - 27:38.99
Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 27:39.95
Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 27:42.71

Women's 10000 m
Yuka Takashima (Denso) - 31:37.32
Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 31:48.31
Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 31:53.69

Hurdles
Men's 400 mH
Takayuki Kishimoto (Fujitsu) - 48.41
Yuta Konishi (Sumitomo Denko) - 49.41
Yuki Matsushita (Mizuno) - 49.57

Road
Men's Marathon
Kazuhiro Maeda (Kyudenko) - 2:08:00
Masakazu Fujiwara (Honda) - 2:08:12

Women's Marathon
Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu) - 2:22:48
Risa Shigetomo (Tenmaya) - 2:23:23
Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:24:42

Men's 20 km Racewalk
Yusuke Suzuki (Fujitsu) - 1:16:36 - WR
Eiki Takahashi (Fujitsu) - 1:18:03
Isamu Fujisawa (Alsok) - 1:19:08

Women's 20 km Racewalk
Kumiko Okada (Bic Camera) - 1:29:46

Men's 50 km Racewalk
Yuki Yamazaki (SDF Academy) - 3:40:12 - NR
Takayuki Tanii (SDF Academy) - 3:40:19
Hirooki Arai (SDF Academy) - 3:40:34

Jumps
Men's High Jump
Naoto Tobe (Tsukuba Twin Peaks) - 2.31 m
Takashi Eto (AGF) - 2.28 m
Yuji Hiramatsu (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2.28 m

Men's Pole Vault
Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) - 5.75 m
Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) - 5.70 m

Men's Long Jump
Yohei Sugai (Mizuno) - 8.18 m +1.3 m/s

Throws
Men's Javelin Throw
Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 86.83 m

Women's Javelin Throw
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 63.80 m - NR

Combined Events
Men's Decathlon
Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8308 - NR
Akihiko Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8035

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Gotemba SDF Base Wins Mt. Fuji Ekiden Offroad Downhill Spectacular

http://mtfuji.keizai.biz/headline/327/

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photos by @Dogsorcaravan

Hitting both the foothills and summit of Mt. Fuji, the 40th running of the Mt. Fuji Ekiden took place Aug. 1 in Gotemba, Shizuoka with the local Gotemba Self-Defense Force Base team winning the overall title.

127 six-member teams including 30 SDF teams took part in this year's 40th anniversary edition.  The 11-stage, 47.93 km course began at JR Gotemba Station, climbing 3258 meters to the peak of Mt. Fuji before descending to finish at the Gotemba Municipal Track and Field Grounds.  The Gotemba SDF Base team covered the distance in 3:47:57, while four teams failed to finish.

Motonori Yamazaki of the Gotemba Municipal Culture and Sports Division commented, "Beginning this year the race's start point has changed from the Track and Field Grounds to the station, so times cannot be compared to past years.  Runners weren't able to see Mt. Fuji from the start point, but the weather was good.  In the morning you could see Mt. Fuji all the way from the summit to the base.  We'll be putting this race on again next year so I hope that many teams will again take part." Next year's edition will take place the first Sunday in August.

JADA Indicates It Cannot Rush to Judgment on Allegations of Doping in Athletics

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=201508/2015080300858&g=spo

translated by Brett Larner

With regard to foreign media's allegations of suspicion of doping among a large umber of Olympics and World Championships track and field medalists, on Aug. 3 Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) executive director Shin Asakawa commented, "I do not know specifically what abnormal values (that would suggest doping) there may be.  The risk is that by looking at them too hastily things may be judged to be violations just because they are unusual," recognizing that there should be no rush to judgment without understanding of the detailed data.

British and German media reported that in the Olympic Games and World Championships from 2001 to 2012, the winners of 146 medals in endurance events had values that indicated a suspicion of doping, with test results indicating that 5% of Japanese athletes also returned abnormal values.  "We do not know what the reaction of the body may be without looking at the long-term.  Some people have innate endurance ability," Asakawa said, arguing that in some cases it is not possible to determine that something is a violation on the basis of a single test.

JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata commented, "We do not know whether what the media is reporting is the truth and must gather more information.  Japan conducts its drug testing strictly.  I believe in our athletes and have absolutely no worries at all."

Monday, August 3, 2015

'Being a Good Friend: Practices of Borrowing and Lending Money'

http://global-sport.eu/practices-of-borrowing-and-lending-money

An essential read on a previously little-discussed aspect of the financial life of Kenyan athletes in Japan by Michael Peters, part of his upcoming PhD thesis on the Kenyan experience in Japan from the student through the pro level.


photo (c) 2014 Ekiden News, all rights reserved

2:07:39 Marathoner Masato Imai Out of Beijing World Championships With Meningitis

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20150803/ath15080315270001-n1.html
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLSSXK10346_T00C15A8000000/

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Aug. 3 the JAAF announced that Beijing World Championships men's marathoner Masato Imai (31, Team Toyota Kyushu) has withdrawn from the Beijing team due to meningitis.  According to his corporate management, Imai began to complain of a fever and headaches while training in Hokkaido and was diagnosed with meningitis.  He was hospitalized on July 30 and is expected to remain in the hospital for treatment for roughly two weeks.

In a statement released through the JAAF Imai said, "For myself, I am devastated after all my training for the World Championships has gone perfectly with the single goal of finally being competitive on the world level.  But this doesn't mean that the road to the top is closed now.  I want to get better as soon as I can and make a fresh start toward my next marathon with a refreshed and reinspired mind and body."

Imai's coach, 1992 Barcelona Olympics silver medalist Koichi Morishita, 47, commented, "Imai has overcome many setbacks up to now and always come out stronger.  I fully believe that he will also overcome this one and return even stronger."

Imai finished 2nd at this February's Tokyo Marathon in 2:07:39, making him the sixth-fastest Japanese marathoner ever.  With no alternate named for the men's marathon team at the Beijing World Championships only two Japanese men, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko, 2:08:00) and Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda, 2:08:12) will now run the marathon on August 22nd.

JRN wishes Imai, who we interviewed in 2011 about his former training partner Samuel Wanjiru, a quick recovery.  His withdrawal has strong implications for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team.  The JAAF has established that it will give one of the three places on the Rio team to the top-placing Japanese marathoner inside the top 8 in Beijing, a bafflingly low bar considering that Japanese men have made the top 8 at the World Championships every time since 1999, when they placed 3rd, 6th and 7th, and Japanese women every time since 1991 except for 1995, when the top Japanese woman finished 9th.  

As the top man on this year's Japanese team in Beijing Imai was generally considered a lock for a spot on the Rio team, with the remaining two spots to be decided between the top Japanese men at this year's Fukuoka and next's year's Tokyo and Lake Biwa selection races.  It's possible that the other two members of the Beijing team, Maeda and Fujiwara, could still make the top 8, taking an Olympic spot they would otherwise have difficulty securing.  However, it is now more likely that the Rio team will be decided between the three domestic selection races, hopefully reducing room for the kind of under-the-table decision making that went into the selection for the Beijing team and in particular the women's marathon team.

13 New Records and Other Highlights From the 2015 National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620

detailed day-by-day National High School Championships coverage:
Day OneDay Two Day Three Day Four Day Five

Despite sometimes extreme conditions with temperatures in the mid-30s throughout the five days of the 2015 Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships at Wakayama's Kimiidera Field performances were at a high level in most events, with thirteen new records set including two junior national records and two high school national records.



By far the star of the show was Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.), who showed outstanding range in everything from 100 m to 800 m.  Including heats and semifinals she ran a total of fourteen races in five different events in five days, sometimes with less than an hour between them, but still produced a 57.06 400 mH junior national record and high school national record, #4 among juniors in the world this year, a 53.30 National High School Championships record in the 400 m, a spectacular anchor leg to win the 4x400 m, and a 2:07.20 PB for 2nd in what may have been the best girls' race of the meet, an 800 m duel against 1500 m champion Chika Mukai (Shigakukan H.S.).  It's no surprise that Keiai took the overall girls' champion title on the strength of Ishizuka's wins, or that she earned a place on the Japanese women's 4x400 m team for the Beijing World Championships later this month.

Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.)

Less noticeably, Shinichi Yukinaga (Seiko Gakuen H.S.) also turned in multiple records in the throws, opening with an 18.21 m boys' shot put junior national record and high school national record and following up with a 55.59 m National High School Championships meet record.

Shinichi Yukinaga (Seiko Gakuen H.S.)

Five other athletes set new National High School Championships records in just about everything except for sprints and long distance, indicating general improvement in many of Japan's traditionally weaker events.

13.85 +1.4 m/s - Nao Kanai (Kawasaki Tachibana H.S.) - Boys' 110 m Hurdles National High School Championships meet record

50.27 - Kazunari Takada (Hosei Prep Daini H.S.) - Boys' 400 m Hurdles National High School Championships meet record

15.80 m -0.2 m/s - Chihiro Nozaki (Rakunan H.S.) - Boys' Triple Jump National High School Championships meet record

49.15 - Nanaka Kori (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) - Girls' Discus Throw National High School Championships meet record

6002 - Hayao Tagami (Rakunan H.S.) - Boys' Octathlon National High School Championships meet record




Of JRN's picks for the top five competitions of this year's Championships, three came in middle distances where despite no new records up there were great races and depth that again suggested that things are moving in the right direction among the people who may make up a good part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team.  Defending 100 m champion Kenta Oshima's win over World Youth Olympics double gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown was the boys' highlight of the meet.

Boys' 100 m Final: Kenta Oshima (Tokyo H.S.) 10.29 -0.8 m/s PB to win over Abdul Hakin Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.), 10.30

Girls' 800 m Final: Chika Mukai (Shigakukan H.S.) - 2:06.29 PB to win over Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.), 2:07.20 PB

Girls' 1500 m Final: Chika Mukai (Shigakukan H.S.) - 4:16.76 PB to win, leading 9 girls under 4:25

Boys' 1500 m Final: Kazuyoshi Tamogami (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 3:48.48 to win, leading 9 boys under 3:50

Boys' Javelin Throw Final: Gen Naganuma (Takada H.S.) - 66.75 m to win, top 3 all within 29 cm

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved