Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Aoyama Gakuin's Isshiki Ready for Tokyo Marathon Debut After Top-Class Double

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20160208-OHT1T50020.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Two-time Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University's star third-year Tadashi Isshiki, last year's National University Half Marathon champion and World University Games half marathon silver medalist, won Sunday's Kanagawa Half Marathon in 1:03:03, just two seconds short of his own course record.  In training to make his marathon debut at age 21 at the February 28 Tokyo Marathon in a shot at the Rio Olympic team, Isshiki ran a full marathon time trial just four days before his Kanagawa win, making his time truly top-class for a university athlete.  Aoyama Gakuin head coach Susumu Hara, 48, was full of optimism post-race, saying, "Rio has come into sight."

The first thing Isshiki said after his solid win was, "That was a nice jog out there today."  On Wednesday, Feb. 3 in Futtsu, Chiba he ran a 42.195 km marathon time trial in 2:31:02.  With a 1:02:09 half marathon best at age 20 his potential in the marathon remains unknown.  His target in Tokyo is the 2:08:12 university national record held by Masakazu Fujiwara (then Chuo Univ., now Team Honda).  "I feel like I can do it, and I feel like I can't," he laughed.  If he succeeds in breaking the 13-year-old record there's not much doubt he'll factor into selection for the Olympic team.  "I've got nothing to lose, so I'm going to run big time," he said.  If he follows through then in three weeks' time Isshiki will stand as a new star of Japanese marathoning.

Along with Isshiki, fourth years Toshinori Watanabe and Ryo Hashimoto, third-year Yasunari Ikeda and second-year Yuta Shimoda will also debut at the Tokyo Marathon.  In Kanagawa Hashimoto was 2nd, Shimoda 4th and Watanabe 5th.  Setting a new of PB 1:03:33, Hashimoto said, "That felt easier than I expected."  The kings of Hakone look set to make their presences felt in Tokyo too.

Saitama Sakae H.S. Takes Both Saitama Ekiden Titles

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/local/saitama/news/20160208-OYTNT50000.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

105 teams competed in four different divisions at the 83rd Saitama Ekiden on Feb. 7.  Saitama Sakae H.S., the overall winner at last weekend's Okumusashi Ekiden, ran the six-stage, 42.195 km men's course in 2:10:14, faster than any of the corporate or university teams in the race, to seal a fourth-straight high school division win.  Following up its Hakone Ekiden debut last month, Tokyo International University was close behind in 2:10:20 to win the general division, with the Saitama T&F Assoc. team winning the local team division.  The Saitama Sakae H.S. girls ran 1:12:59 for the five-stage, 20.5 km women's race to win for the third year in a row.

The Saitama Sakae boys' opening runner Takahisa Mitsui and third runner Ryoji Tatezawa both scored overall stage wins, Tatezawa outran marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) by 31 seconds over 12.1 km.  Three of the four other Saitama Sakae boys also ran the fastest high school times on their stages.  On the track in Kumagaya Sports Park Stadium, Saitama Sakae anchor Hidekazu Tsujikata ran down Tokyo Kokusai's Tatsuki Ishii to steal the win.  Post-race Saitama Sakae head coach Yoichi Kamiyama commented, "I figured that the race would be against the universities that had run the Hakone Ekiden, but I knew that if we could show up and be competitive then we'd have the chance to win."

Monday, February 8, 2016

After Debut Marathon Win in Beppu-Oita Abera Gets Instant Contract Extension: "I Love Japan!"

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1601917.html

translated by Brett Larner

Smiling after winning his marathon debut, 21-year-old Ethiopian Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) told reporters, "I love Japan!  Thanks to this I can stay here a bit longer."  Running in a lead pack of Kenyans, Ethiopians and other invited international athletes, Abera threw in a surge at 35 km that put him out front alone.  While frontrunning he blew kisses at the TV cameras and talked to them in Japanese.  "I was saying thank you to my coach and teammates," he said, a sign of how much he likes the Kitakyushu-based Kurosaki Harima ekiden team.

Abera came to Japan four years ago to join Kurosaki Harima where he was expected to serve as the ekiden team's ringer, but in the New Year Ekiden and other important races he didn't produce the hoped-for results.  His contract was not renewed, meaning he was scheduled to return to his home in Ethiopia at the end of the fiscal year in March.  But winning his marathon debut brought a quick change in his fortune in the form of a one-year contract extension from Kurosaki Harima.  "I'm really happy to be able to keep running on the team," Abera said.  "I'm overjoyed to be able to stay where I love here in Japan."  He vowed to run his best for the team in the year to come.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Abera and Yoshitomi Take 65th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Wins, Akutsu Gets Ehime Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

Shut out of inclusion in the selection races for the Rio Olympics men's team the 65th running of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon was largely a developmental race, the small international field and large field of second-tier and debuting Japanese men setting out in hopes of sub-2:10 times.  #1 seed Evans Ruto (Kenya), the only athlete in the field to have broken 2:09, was an early casualty, dropping out just past 15 km as the pace accelerated from high 2:09 to low 2:08 territory.  Over a dozen were still in touch at halfway in 1:04:22, including #2 and #3-ranked Shume Hailu (Ethiopia) and Anthony Maritim (Kenya), Japanese men Naohiro Yamada (YKK), Kenichi Shiraishi (Asahi Kasei) and Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku), 22-year-old Myeung Jun Son (South Korea) and debuting Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima), Yuki Munakata (Kanebo) and Keisuke Kusaka (Hitachi Butsuryu).

Past the halfway point Kiflom Sium (Eritrea) was the next main casualty, and just after 25 km a surge on a corner from remaining pacer Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Sunbelx) dropped everyone but Haile, Maritim and Abera.  Yamada was quick to catch up, Son leading Munakata and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) back into contact a kilometer or two later.  When Mogusu stepped off at 30 km the lead group was on 2:08:53 pace, with Maritim, Abera and Shume side-by-side, Yamada a few strides back and Son slipping away.

The Japan-based Abera, making his marathon debut at age 21 after setting the course record at last year's Oita City Half Marathon, pushed the pace to crack first Shume and then Maritim.  By 35 km he was free and clear in the lead, smiling, blowing kisses and talking to the camera, waving and giving peace signs.  That lasted all of about 3 km before the marathon caught up with him.  Still on sub-2:09 pace at 40 km, his stride shortened dramatically and he began to look back with gritted teeth.  Luckily for him Maritim and Shume were nowhere to be seen, and Abera held on for the win in 2:09:27.  Maritim was next, almost two minutes back in 2:11:17, with Shume rounding out the top 3 in 2:11:41.

More dramatic action was happening further back.  Yamada, looking strong at 30 km, slowed almost to a jog after 32 km and was overtaken by both Munakata and Son.  At 38 km Son dropped Munakata to move into 4th, but with 1.5 km he was caught by former Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage runner Kazuya Ishida (Nishitetsu), off the lead pace early but closing hard to advance through the field and take a surprise 4th in 2:12:25 as the top Japanese man.  In just his third marathon Son was 5th in a PB 2:12:34, the best Korean men's time since 2012.

In the women's race Japan's #1-ranked amateur Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) scored her fourth-straight marathon win in the last three months, outrunning Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Hisayo Matsumoto (unattached) for the win in 2:45:07.  Yoshitomi's season goal is a sub-2:30 PB at the Tokyo Marathon later this month where she is again the #1-ranked Japanese woman.

Beppu-Oita did count in qualification for the Rio Paralympics team visually impaired division.  Masahiro Okamura (Runweb) secured himself a place with a 2:27:24 win at age 45.  Misato Michishita (JBMA), already on the Rio team, set out in search of a world record but fell off pace late in the race, winning 3:03:42.

A much faster time than Yoshitomi's came at the 54th Ehime Marathon, where 21-year-old Yuka Akutsu (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) ran 2:35:31 to take over a minute and a half of the course record.  Defending men's winner Sohei Wada (Tokushima T&F Assoc.) made it two in a row, bettering last year's winning time by 42 seconds in 2:21:00.

65th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
Oita, 2/17/6
click here for complete results

Men
1. Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 2:09:27 - debut
2. Anthony Maritim (Kenya) - 2:11:17
3. Hailu Shume (Ethiopia) - 2:11:41
4. Kazuya Ishida (Nishitetsu) - 2:12:25
5. Myeong Jun Son (South Korea) - 2:12:34 - PB
6. Kenichi Shiraishi (Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:07
7. Ihor Olefirenko (Ukraine) - 2:13:33
8. Yuki Munakata (Kanebo) - 2:13:53 - debut
9. Keisuke Kusaka (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:14:11 - debut
10. Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:14:15 - PB
-----
DNF - Evans Ruto (Kenya)
DNF - Kiflom Sium (Eritrea)

Women
1. Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) - 2:45:07
2. Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) - 2:48:27
3. Hisayo Matsumoto (unattached) - 2:48:51

Visually Impaired - Men
1. Masahiro Okamura (Runweb) - 2:27:24
2. Shinya Wada (JBMA) - 2:33:46
3. Yutaka Kumagai (AC Kita) - 2:34:06

Visually Impaired - Women
1. Misato Michishita (JBMA) - 3:03:42
2. Hiroko Kondo (JBMA) - 3:18:05
3. Yumiko Fujii (Biwako Timers) - 3:24:06

54th Ehime Marathon
Matsuyama, Ehime, 2/7/16
complete results coming shortly

Men
1. Shohei Wada (Tokushima T&F Assoc.) - 2:21:00

Women
1. Yuka Akutsu (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:35:31 - CR

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kifle and Kirwa Win Marugame Half, Isshiki Takes Kanagawa Half in Tokyo Marathon Tuneup

by Brett Larner

Great conditions meant fast times across the board including three national records at the first major Japanese half marathon of the season, the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon.

A large pack including internationals Goitom Kifle (Eritrea), Fabiano Sulle (Tanzania) and Japan-based 18-year-old Dominic Nyairo (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), Hakone Ekiden stars Keisuke Nakatani and Naoki Kudo (both Komazawa Univ.), corporate runners Keijiro Mogi and Shuho Dairokuno (both Asahi Kasei) and Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) went out slightly slower than expected, hitting 5 km in 14:27 on track to just crack 1:01.  20-year-old Kudo, a second-year at Komazawa, pushed the next 5 km faster, on 1:00:50 pace at 10 km in 28:50.  Mogi, also just 20 after going straight into the corporate leagues post-high school, took over after 10 km and dropped the fastest 5 km yet, shaking down the leaders to just himself, Kifle, Nyairo and Sulle as he took them through 15 km in 43:05.  1:00:36 pace, the 1:00:25 Japanese national record just before him.

Sulle was the first to crack, but while Kifle and Nyairo dueled and Mogi fought to hang on the pace slowed slightly and the national record was out of range.  In the last battle Kifle got away from the less-experienced Nyairo, winning in a PB 1:00:49.  Nyairo, still a first-year at Yamanashi Gakuin, was 1 second back in 1:00:50, a superb debut that puts him to the front of the line on the Hakone circuit.  Mogi hung on for 3rd in 1:00:54, placing all-time #6 among Japanese men and all-time #3 for 20-year-old Japanese men.  Mogi's time was also a PB by 2 1/2 minutes and scored him a place on Japanese team for next month's World Half Marathon Championships.

Nakatani and Kudo worked together to catch the fading Sulle but came up just short, all three recording PBs as Sulle took 4th in 1:01:19, Nakatani 5th in 1:01:21, a PB by more than 3 1/2 minutes, and Kudo 6th in 1:01:25.  Both Nakatani and Kudo also joined Mogi in the all-time Japanese top 25, Nakatani tying Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage star Daiichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) for fastest-ever Japanese 21-year old at 1:01:21 and Kudo coming in behind Mogi for #4 among 20-year-olds.  Along with Nyairo, Nakatani and Kudo, a total of 14 university runners broke 1:03:00 including non-Hakone runner Masatoshi Teranishi (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.), 21st in 1:02:38.

Further back, Japan-based Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (NTN) took well over a minute off his own Mongolian NR as he ran 1:02:10 for 13th.  Bat-Ochir also bettered the PB of his friend and rival Yuki Kawauchi by 8 seconds.  2015 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was 31st in 1:02:53, with London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House), tuning up for his shot at the Rio team at the Tokyo Marathon, clocking his best half marathon since his 4th-place finish at the 2013 Great North Run in 1:02:57 for 36th.

The women's race was a blowout by 2014 Asian Games marathon gold medalist Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain), who took almost 30 seconds off her own Bahrain national record to win in 1:08:06.  The race for 2nd was closer as Diane Nukuri (Burundi) and last year's winner Eloise Wellings (Australia) finished just 6 seconds apart after running the entire race together, Nukuri getting 2nd in 1:09:23 with Wellings recording a new PB in 1:09:29.  Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was the top Japanese woman at 4th in 1:10:10, outrunning the fastest female Japanese half marathoner of 2015, Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya), by over 30 seconds.  Further back came another national record, Chien-Ho Hsieh taking over a minute off the two-week old Taiwanese national record as she finished 21st in 1:15:13. Previous record holder Shu-Ping Fu was also well under her old record, running 1:15:41 for 27th.

Further north in Yokohama, Hakone winner Aoyama Gakuin University put on a show at the Kanagawa Half Marathon as it swept the top five spots in the men's race.  AGU's 2015 National University Half Marathon champion and course record holder Tadashi Isshiki and star second-year Yuta Shimoda, led the way, but in the second half while Shimoda held back with his other teammates Isshiki shot ahead to take the win by 30 seconds, just missing his own CR in 1:03:03.  AGU's Ryo Hashimoto and Taisei Hashizume were next across the line in 1:03:33 and 1:03:36, Shimoda just back in 1:03:41 and Toshinori Watanabe completing the sweep in 1:03:47.  Isshiki, Hashimoto, Shimoda and Watanabe all used Kanagawa as a tuneup for the Tokyo Marathon will they will make their formal marathon debuts.  Nanami Okubo (Shoin Univ.) easily took the win in the women's race in 1:19:30.

Even further north in Moriya, Ibaraki, Nittai University runners went 1-2 in the men's race at the 32nd Moriya Half Marathon.  Second-year Yusei Shirokoshi got the win over third-year teammate Shun Onoki 1:04:33 to 1:04:46, with Yu Mizuno (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) another two seconds back in 1:04:48 for 3rd.  Kazusa Yoshinari (Kokushikan Univ.) won the women's race by more than six minutes in 1:18:02.

70th Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon
Marugame, Kagawa, 2/7/16
click here for complete results and splits

Men
1. Goitom Kifle (Eritrea) - 1:00:49 - PB
2. Dominic Nyairo (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:50 - debut
3. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) - 1:00:54 - PB
4. Fabiano Sulle (Tanzania) - 1:01:19 - PB
5. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:21 - PB
6. Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:25 - PB
7. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 1:01:32 - PB
8. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) - 1:01:51
9. Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) - 1:01:54
10. Kaoru Hirosue (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:01:58  - PB
11. Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 1:02:00
12. Kento Otsu (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:09 - PB
13. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 1:02:10 - NR
14. Keita Shioya (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:11 - PB
15. Takuya Suzuki (Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:15 - PB
16. Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) - 1:02:18
17. Masaya Taguchi (Honda) - 1:02:19 - PB
18. Soma Ishikawa (Nihon Univ.) - 1:02:20 - PB
19. Yuhi Akiyama (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:29 - PB
20. Yuki Nakamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:35 - PB
21. Masatoshi Teranishi (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.)- 1:02:38 - PB
22. Toshiki Sadakata (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 1:02:40 - PB
23. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 1:02:41
24. Yuji Serunarudo (Soka Univ.) - 1:02:48 - PB
25. Suehiro Ishikawa (Honda) - 1:02:49
-----
31. Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 1:02:53
36. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:02:57

Women
1. Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 1:08:06 - NR
2. Diane Nukuri (Burundi) - 1:09:23
3. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 1:09:29 - PB
4. Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:10
5. Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 1:10:42
6. Kotomi Takayama (Sysmex) - 1:11:14
7. Akane Sekino (Imabari Shipbuilding) - 1:11:17 - PB
8. Moeno Nakamura (Univ. Ent.) - 1:11:33 - PB
9. Yomogi Akasaka (Meijo Univ.) - 1:11:41 - debut
10. Mami Onuki (Sysymex) - 1:12:03
-----
21. Chien-Ho Hsieh (Taiwan) - 1:15:13 - NR
-----
DNF - Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.)

38th Kanagawa Half Marathon
Yokohama, Kanagawa, 2/7/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:03
2. Ryo Hashimoto (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:33
3. Taisei Hashizume (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:36
4. Yuta Shimoda (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:41
5. Toshinori Watanabe (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:47
6. Shun Yuzawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:04:04
7. Takumi Mochizaki (Kokushikan Univ.) - 1:04:05
8. Kenta Sogabe (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:08
9. Yasuyuki Ishida (Waseda Univ.) - 1:04:13
10. Shota Kirihara (Tokai Univ.) - 1:04:15

Women
1. Nanami Okubo (Shoin Univ.) - 1:19:30
2. Misato Kubokura (Tokai Univ.) - 1:20:20
3. Sayaka Nagai (Shoin Univ.) - 1:20:25

Men's 10 km
1. Koki Ishii (Soka Univ.) - 31:16
2. Eiichi Ichiki (Soka Univ.) - 31:17
3. Ryusuke Go (Soka Univ.) - 31:24

Women's 10 km
1. Naruha Sato (Eda H.S.) - 34:07
2. Kaede Kubota (Eda H.S.) - 34:43
3. Shino Wakizaka (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) - 34:46

32nd Moriya Half Marathon
Moriya, Ibaraki, 2/7/2016
click here for complete results

Men
1. Yusei Shirokoshi (Nittai Univ.) - 1:04:33
2. Shun Onoki (Nittai Univ.) - 1:04:46
3. Yu Mizuno (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:48

Women
1. Kazusa Yoshinari (Kokushikan Univ.) - 1:18:02

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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.