Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kawauchi Wins Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km

translated by Brett Larner

Kawauchi after winning in Kushiro. Click photo to enlarge.

At the 39th Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Road Race on July 31 in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Daegu World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.), won in a course record 1:33:55.  Kawauchi ran the race as a tuneup for next month's World Championships marathon.

Translator's note:  At last week's Shibetsu Half Marathon Kawauchi averaged 3:09/km.  In Kushiro he averaged 3:08/km for 30 km, suggesting he is on track for a recovery in time for Daegu from the heat stroke that hit him late in June's Okinoshima 50 km.

Takabayashi 1500 m PB in Belgium

2011 Flanders Cup Gentse Feesten Meeting
Gent, Belgium, 7/30/11
Men's 5000 m
1. Brian Olinger (U.S.A.) - 13:32.74
2. Arne Gabius (Germany) - 13:35.90
3. Philipp Bandi (Switzerland) - 13:36.89
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:38.92
5. Stephen Furst (U.S.A.) - 13:40.75
6. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:41.56
7. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 13:45.97
8. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:46.30
9. Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:59.14
10. Mohamed Mohamed Ali (Netherlands) - 14:04.44

Women's 3000 m SC
1. Korene Hinds (Jamaica) - 9:38.07
2. Stephanie Garcia (U.S.A.) - 9:41.12
3. Lindsay Allen (U.S.A.) - 9:47.03
7. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:57.51

Men's 1500 m Heat 1
1. Andrew Bumbalough (U.S.A.) - 3:40.35
2. Ciaran O'Lionaird (Ireland) - 3:41.34
3. Brandon Bethke (U.S.A.) - 3:41.60
10. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 3:44.16

Men's 1500 m Heat 2
1. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 3:43.72 - PB
2. Raul Botezan (Romania) - 3:44.24
3. Malcom Hicks (New Zealand) - 3:45.67
4. Tatsuro Okazaki (Japan) - 3:45.85

2011 Aviva UK Trials
Birmingham, U.K., 7/30/11
Women's 10000 m
1. Worknesh Kidane (Ethiopia) - 31:08.92
2. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 33:46.12
3. Sonia Samuels (U.K.) - 33:50.72
4. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 35:27.79
DNF - Kim Smith (New Zealand)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yoroizaka 27:44.30 Japanese Student 10000 m Record at Aviva UK Trials

by Brett Larner

One of three Japanese athletes to run in the men's open 10000 m at the July 29 Aviva UK Trials meet in Birmingham, Meiji University senior Tetsuya Yoroizaka delivered the biggest run of his life with a 50-second PB to finish 2nd overall in 27:44.30.  Yoroizaka just cleared the London Olympics A-standard of 27:45.00 and beat the previous Japanese citizen collegiate record of 27:45.59 held by Kensuke Takezawa (Waseda Univ.) although he fell short of the 27:27.64 collegiate record held by Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu.  Yoroizaka's outstanding performance also puts him at all-time #10 on the Japanese 10000 m list and makes him the fourth Japanese university man to run 28:03 or better so far this season.

Sub-28 corporate men Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) and Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) also ran in the UK Trials.  Fukatsu, who will be teammates at Asahi Kasei with Yoroizaka following Yoroizaka's graduation next spring, was 5th in 28:36.73, while Kihara was a disappointing 14th in 29:33.47.

2011 Aviva U.K. Trials
Birmingham, U.K., 7/29/11
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 27:38.12
2. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 27:44.30 - PB
3. Daniele Mucci (Italy) - 27:44.50 - PB
4. Sean Connolly (Ireland) - 28:36.17 - PB
5. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:36.73
6. James Walsh (U.K.) - 28:37.30 - PB
7. Clinton Perrett (Australia) - 29:01.86 - PB
8. Anthony Ford (U.K.) - 29:10.41
9. Luke Cragg (U.K.) - 29:20.63
10. Kojo Kyereme (U.K.) - 29:29.55 - PB
14. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 29:33.47

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sendai to Go Ahead With Planned Expansion of Sendai International Half Marathon

translated by Brett Larner

At a press conference in Sendai on July 26, organizers of the 22nd Sendai International Half Marathon announced that they will go ahead with plans to expand the event from 1000 elite and semi-elite runners to a mass-participation race with a field limit of 10000 at next year's race, scheduled for May 13.  According to city officials, Sendai will become the largest half marathon in Japan, with a new course that takes in the best of Sendai's downtown area.

The new event will combine the elite Sendai International Half Marathon with the amateur-level Sendai City Marathon held in the fall and will include the full range of participants from those trying for a spot on the Japanese national team for the World Half Marathon Championships to recreational runners trying to break 2 hours 30 minutes.  The new race will also include a wheelchair race along with 2 km and 5 km events.  Applications open on October 3, with a lottery planned should the number of applications exceed the maximum field size.

The 21st edition of the Sendai International Half Marathon was scheduled for May this year but was cancelled after March's major earthquake and tsunami hit the Sendai area.  Sendai mayor Emiko Okuyama commented, "I hope this event will help contribute a new sense of the attraction of the rebuilding, re-emerging Sendai."

Joensuu Games Results

2011 Joensuu Games
Loppukilpailu, Finland, 7/27/11
click here for complete results
Men's 5000 m
1. Lewis Korir (KEN) - 13:33.64
2. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:38.39
3. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 13:53.50
4. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 13:56.03
5. Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:14.30

Women's 1500 m
1. Zoe Buckman (Australia) - 4:06.06
2. Erin Donohue (U.S.A.) - 4:07.04
3. Natalia Koreyvo (Finland) - 4:08.31
4. Karin Storbacka (Finland) - 4:13.66
5. Ayako Jinnouchi (Japan) - 4:14.70
6. Ruriko Kubo (Japan) - 4:15.88
10. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 4:18.97

Monday, July 25, 2011

World Championships Marathoners Kawauchi and Ito 4th and 7th at Shibetsu Half Marathon

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Shibetsu Half Marathon took place July 24 in Shibetsu, Hokkaido.  With starting temperatures of 25 degrees and dry, sunny conditions Norihiro Nomiya (Team Toyota) won the men's race in 1:05:09 and Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) the women's race in 1:13:06.  Daegu World Championships marathon team members Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) and Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) also ran as part of their tune-up for the World Championships, Kawauchi placing 4th in the men's race in 1:06:24 and Ito 7th in the women's race in 1:16:15.

The women's race included the last three champions.  Winner Miyauchi broke away from all competition to score the victory, with 2008 winner Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) 3rd just a week after taking gold at the Asian Marathon Championships in Thailand.  2009 winner Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera), the winner's identical twin, was 4th, while defending champion and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) was only 10th in 1:17:19, her slowest-ever half marathon mark.

In her final preparation race for her first World Championships, Ito placed 7th, running in sight of the leaders in the first half of the race before slipping away.  "It was hot," she said afterward with an upset expression, "and I couldn't move as smoothly as I expected."

In the men's race Nomiya ran as part of a lead pack of four before breaking away at 18 km for the win.  Kawauchi finished kicking at top speed and looked content with his performance afterwards as he sipped water on a chair in the medical tent.  Last month Kawauchi had a disastrous run at the Okinoshima 50 km ultramarathon, collapsing with heat stroke.  In his next race, this month's Sapporo International Half Marathon, he finished only 63rd.  Evaluating his race in Shibetsu which he had described as a "practice run for Daegu," Kawauchi said, "I didn't feel much lingering effect at all.  I think that was pretty good.  I'd give it about 80 out of 100."

Kawauchi had other issues beforehand.  With a large number of runners heading to Shibetsu for the race, all hotels in the area were fully booked and Kawauchi had to stay an hour away by train in Asahikawa.  Kawauchi planned to take the train in make the 9:30 start, but the train was late.  "I was pretty stressed," he said.  He finally took a taxi to Shibetsu, a trip that cost him around 10,000 yen (~$125 USD).  Kawauchi pays all his costs himself so the unexpected expense stung a bit, but looking at his result he laughed, "I guess that was worth 10,000 yen."

In the 10 km, marathoner Ryoko Kisaki (Team Daihatsu) won the women's race for the second straight year, while triathlete Ryosuke Yamamoto won the men's race over Yusei Nakao, who recently quit Team Toyota Boshoku to go independent.

2011 Shibetsu Half Marathon
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 7/24/11
1. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:06
2. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:13:22
3. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:13:27
4. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:48
5. Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - 1:14:45
6. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 1:15:59
7. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:16:15
8. Asami Furuse (Team Kyocera) - 1:16:21
9. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 1:16:50
10. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 1:17:19

1. Norihiro Nomiya (Team Toyota) - 1:05:09
2. Johnson Kiumbani (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 1:05:29
3. Taichi Takase (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:05:39
4. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:06:24
5. Saeki Makino (Kawaguchi T&F Assoc.) - 1:07:04
6. Kazuya Miyamoto (Team YKK) - 1:07:39
7. Teppei Suegami (Team YKK) - 1:07:46
8. Norimasa Nishina (Team Fujitsu) - 1:07:50
9. Ryo Taniguchi (Team YKK) - 1:08:02
10. Koki Inada (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:08:15

Women's 10 km
1. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 34:13
2. Ayumi Sakaida - 34:18
3. Seika Nishikawa (Team Sysmex) - 34:20
4. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 34:21
5. Misato Tanaka - 34:24

Men's 10 km
1. Ryosuke Yamamoto - 31:40
2. Yusei Nakao - 31:41

Japanese Overseas Results

2011 Savo Games
Lapinlahti, Finland, 7/24/11
click here for complete results

Men's 3000 m
1. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 7:55.98
2. Craig Miller (U.S.A.) - 7:56.72
3. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 7:58.04
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 7:58.95
5. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 7:59.23
10. Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 8:05.79

Women's 3000 m
1. Erin Donohue (U.S.A.) - 8:55.07
2. Viktoriia Pohoryselska (Ukraine) - 9:19.13
3. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:22.48
4. Janica Makela (Finland) - 9:35.37
5. Elina Lindgren (Finland) - 9:37.38

BMC Nike Grand Prix
Trafford, U.K., 7/23/11
Men's 3000 m A-Heat
1. James Wilkinson (U.K.) - 7:56.84
2. Sean Connolly (Ireland) - 7:57.21
3. Jonathan Taylor (U.K.) - 7:58.83
4. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 7:58.90
5. Luke Gunn (U.K.) - 8:00:19
9. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 8:07.34
16. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 8:19.24

Race Results Weekly reports that women's 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) won the West End 3 km road race at altitude in Boulder, CO in 9:59 on July 21.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Osako Takes Isesaki 3000 m

by Brett Larner

Members of Japan's top two university teams, 2011 Hakone Ekiden winner Waseda University and 2009-2010 winner Toyo University, held a midsummer face-off July 23 in Isesaki Gunma at the Trial in Isesaki meet hosted by locally-based Jobu University.  With early pacing provided by Jobu graduate Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B), Waseda second-year Suguru Osako, the Asian junior area record holder in the half marathon, won the men's 3000 m A-heat with a gap of nearly six seconds over Toyo's Takanori Ichikawa and Hiroyuki Uno, running 8:05.70.  2009 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) was off his game as he finished only 7th in 8:18.29.

For Osako the meet was a tuneup for next month's World University Games in Shenzhen, China.  Although he set the Asian junior record at the half marathon last fall as a first-year, Osako has since backed off the distance and focused on the track.  At the World University Games he is likely to double in the 5000 m and 10000 m but will not run the half marathon.

Trial in Isesaki
Isesaki Civic Track and Field Grounds
Isesaki, Gunma, 7/23/11
Men's 3000 m Heat 8
1. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 8:05.70
2. Takanori Ichikawa (Toyo Univ.) - 8:11.41
3. Hiroyuki Uno (Toyo Univ.) - 8:11.53
4. Fuminori Shikata (Waseda Univ.) - 8:13.09
5. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 8:14.65
6. Toshiki Sadakata (Toyo Univ.) - 8:16.86
7. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 8:18.29
8. Shun Sato (Jobu Univ.) - 8:24.28
9. Takaaki Tanaka (Toyo Univ.) - 8:25.90
10. Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.) - 8:26.61

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 22, 2011

Miyahara Takes Five Minutes Off Own Course Record at Fuji Mountain Race

by Brett Larner

With a near-miss from typhoon #6, one of Japan's most difficult and popular midsummer races, the 64th Fuji Mountain Race, took place as scheduled July 22.  Toru Miyahara, who set the course record of 2:32:40 in the 21 km, 3000 m climb Summit Division five years ago, returned to take five minutes off his mark as he ran 2:27:41 for a new course record and his third win at the event's longest distance.  Runner-up Satoshi Kato, the winner of last year's 15 km, 1460 climb Fifth Stage Division making his debut at the full distance, was fast enough to have won most years but was nearly fourteen minutes behind Miyahara, finishing in 2:41:11.  Last year's women's Fifth Stage Division winner Mina Ogawa also made a successful transition to the long race as she won in 3:10:45, a winning time only four women have bettered in the 27 years that the Fuji Mountain Race has had a women's division.  Kei Kikushima and Mitsuko Hirose won the men's and women's races in the Fifth Stage Division, running 1:22:00 and 1:40:58 respectively.

2011 Fuji Mountain Race Top Results
Mt. Fuji, 7/22/11
click here for complete top ten results

Summit Division Men
1. Toru Miyahara - 2:27:41 - CR
2. Satoshi Kato - 2:41:11
3. Yoshihito Kondo - 2:48:26

Summit Division Women
1. Mina Ogawa - 3:10:45
2. Naomi Ochiai - 3:23:26
3. Chinatsu Yoshida - 3:27:11

Fifth Stage Division Men
1. Kei Kikushima - 1:22:00
2. Hiroaki Iwanaga - 1:23:05
3. Shunsuke Okunomiya - 1:26:07

Fifth Stage Division Women
1. Mitsuko Hirose - 1:40:58
2. Satoko Moriguchi - 1:47:48
3. Yumiko Ishitsuka - 1:50:20

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 18, 2011

Higuchi Wins Asian Marathon Championships

2011 Asian Marathon Championships
held at Pattaya International Marathon, Thailand, 7/17/11
Lawrence Kiptoo Saina (Kenya) - 2:21:06
1. Mohamed Abdou Bakheet (Qatar) - 2:23:07
2. Teruto Ozaki (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:23:09
Peter Keter (Kenya) - 2:23:34
Joseph Mwangi (Kenya) - 2:24:52
3. Kenji Takeuchi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:25:33

Elizabeth Chemweno (Kenya) - 2:24:09
1. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 2:44:10
2. Jiang Xiaoli (China) - 2:52:24
3. Pham Thi Binh (Vietnam) - 2:53:09
4. Natthaya Thanaronnawat (Thailand) - 2:53:35
5. Fan Sui Ping (Hong Kong) - 3:02:57

Weekend Track Roundup

by Brett Larner

It was a relatively quiet long weekend across Japan, with a smattering of prefectural track championships across the country in the hot sun ahead of an approaching typhoon.  At the Kyoto Prefecture Championships, Bukkyo University-related runners cleaned up, taking the top five spots in the women's 5000 m led by recent graduate Kasumi Nishihara's meet record 15:39.28.  An impressive mark considering that it was run in temperatures in the mid-30's with high humidity.    Fresh from being named to the Japanese 10000 m squad for next month's World Championships, Bukkyo's top current runner Hikari Yoshimoto won the women's 3000 m in 9:14.75, her first win after a few relatively flat months.

Bukkyo's major rival Ritsumeikan University mostly gave the Kyoto meet a miss, opting instead for the West Japan University Championships in Gifu.  There team leader Risa Takenaka also set a meet record in the 5000 m, running 15:59.07 in even hotter, wetter conditions than Nishihara had in Kyoto.

The most major domestic action actually took place overseas at the Kenyan Championships, where a raft of the best Japan-based Kenyans lined up in the 10000 m to shoot for one of the two guaranteed places on Kenya's World Championships team.  After an evenly-paced first 6000 in 16:36 on track for 27:40 at altitude, 20-year-old Bitan Karoki (Team S&B) used the same strategy he employed to win Stanford University's Cardinal Invitational 10000 m earlier this season, abruptly blasting away from the field as he ran the next 2000 m at 26:30 pace.  Karoki opened a lead of nearly 100 m over the world-class field and seemed to have the race sewn up, but with just a few hundred meters to go he suddenly began to look shaky before collapsing to the track, a victim perhaps of the effects of altitude.  Peter Kirui just outkicked Wilson Kiprop for the win in 27:32.1, both men earning assured World Championships.  2007 bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was 3rd in 27:38.6 for a provisional placing on the team, just clipping Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai.  2011 World Cross Country Championships silver medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), the second-fastest Kenyan so far this season, was 5th a short way back in 27:44.

2011 Kyoto Prefecture T&F Championships
July 15-17, Kyoto
Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:39.28 - MR
2. Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.)  15:55.26
3. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:58.20
4. Shiho Takechi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:03.04
5. Mai Ishibashi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:04.45
6. Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sango Univ.) - 16:11.99
7. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 16:17.55
8. Aya Goto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:19.15

Women's 3000 m Heat 3
1. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 9:14.75
2. Mai Hirota (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:18.20
3. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:19.67
4. Ayano Ikegami (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:21.62
5. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 9:25.55
6. Mai Ishibashi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 9:27.65
7. Shiho Takechi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 9:30.57

2011 West Japan University T&F Championships
July 15-17, Gifu
Women's 5000 m
1. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:59.07 - MR
2. Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 16:22.61
3. Michi Numata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:27.88

Kenyan National Championships
July 15-17, Nairobi
Men's 10000 m
1. Peter Kirui (Administration Police) - 27:32.1
2. Wilson Kiprop - 27:32.9
3. Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 27:38.6
4. Geoffrey Mutai (Police) - 27:38.9
5. Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) - 27:44
DNF - Bitan Karoki (Team S&B)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 16, 2011

World Championships Marathoner Yoshinori Oda Gets Send-Off Party From Alma Mater Kanto Gakuin University

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here for photos of the KGU party

On July 15 marathoner Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) attended an official send-off party held by his alma mater, Kanto Gakuin University.  Oda attended the ekiden powerhouse Omuta High School before running at Kanto Kaguin University and going on to the Toyota corporate team after his graduation.  Although busy with his World Championships preparations, through the considerate cooperation of the Toyota company Oda was able to attend the party in his honor.

Kanto Gakuin University President Ono, Dean of Student Life Oyama and other members of the school administration made up most of those in attendance at the party, giving Oda their wholehearted support.  As an academically-oriented school Kanto Gakuin is far-removed from the Hakone Ekiden powerhouses, but inspired by Oda's success the administration has pledged to strengthen the school's track program.

Oda spoke about his resolve to run strongly in his World Championships marathon debut and gave a message of encouragement to current Kanto Gakuin student athletes.  He graciously extended his encouragement to all those connected with his life as an athlete before receiving group cheers from the Kanto Gakuin men's track and field team and the women's cheerleader dance squad.

The party concluded with a speech from Kanto Gakuin head coach Moriyuki Tanaka, who spoke warmly about his memories of Oda and other graduated athletes as well as of the team's planned move toward becoming competitive at the Hakone Ekiden.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

World Championships 10000 m Runner Kayo Sugihara Visits Her Old High School in Izumo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Named to the Japanese national team for next month's World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, Korea, 10000 m runner Kayo Sugihara (28, Team Denso) visited her former high school, Izumo Shogyo H.S. in Izumo, Shimane, on Aug. 13.  Sugihara won the 10000 m at June's National Track and Field Championships.  In 2007 she ran the 5000 m at the Osaka World Championships, meaning Daegu will be her second appearance at Worlds.  "I want to run an active race and break my best time," she told the assembled crowd with resolve.

Sugihara spoke in the high school's auditorium in front of a crowd of 200 including 158 seniors, 9 members of the school's track and field team, Izumo Shogyo graduates and assorted visitors.  Her former coach Koji Yamane talked about Sugihara's high school-era running, saying, "At first she got injured a lot and had constant problems with anemia, but although she could never really fully train she still laid the groundwork for getting where she is now."  Watching a video of the race that sealed her place on the Daegu team, the crowd all broke into applause when Sugihara broke away from her rivals with a strong kick over the last 200 m.

After receiving a bouquet of flowers form track and field team captain Miki Osaka Sugihara again addressed the crowd, saying, "It has been ten years since I graduated, but this opportunity came to me because of the three years I spent here.  In my race at the World Championships I want to show you all how much I've grown."

The women's 10000 m takes place on the Aug. 27, the first day of competition.  If Sugihara wins a medal she will secure a place on the London Olympic team.  "The Olympics are my ultimate goal," she said, her eyes sparkling.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"If You Keep Fighting You'll Definitely Make it Back" - Kinukawa On Her Way to Worlds

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The #1-ranked Japanese woman in distance running, 21-year-old Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) is in the best shape of her life.  Known as the "Magic Girl" during her days competing at Sendai Ikuei High School Kinukawa received more than her share of attention, but after coming down with a serious, long-lasting illness of unknown origin a few months before graduating in 2008 she fell from grace and all but disappeared.  Fast-forward to June 12 this year, when she came from seemingly nowhere to win the 2011 National Track & Field Championships women's 5000 m in a World Championships A-standard time of 15:09.96, picking up a place on the Japanese national team for Worlds next month in Daegu, Korea.  She followed up with an even bigger run in her next race, running 31:10.02 for 10000 m and opening up the possibility of a World Championships double.

On July 6 Kinukawa visited Sendai, Miyagi together with her coach since high school, Takao Watanabe, to run as a special guest at Shichigo J.H.S.' sports festival, running 3000 m together with 70 eighth graders.  In high school Kinukawa trained in nearby Arahama, and meeting young tsunami survivors from the area had a deep impact on her.  Addressing the 500 students at the school, Kinukawa told them, "Seeing all of your shining, hopeful young faces has helped me feel lighter.  I know that you have all been through a lot of hardship, and I want to stand there together with you facing the future with optimism."

Following the event Kinukawa met with Sendai mayor Emiko Okuyama at Sendai City Hall to receive the mayor's support in her preparations for the World Championships.  We talked to Kinukawa on July 8 about her condition and about her thoughts leading up to her first time back at the World Championships since her senior year of high school in 2007.

You've obviously really been feeling great this month.
The last two or three years there were times when I couldn't even walk and times when I didn't think I'd be able to even think about coming back to competitive running.  Maybe at Nationals I was able to put those broken pieces back together.  I think that my life truly changed that day.

What happened?
I think the disasters in March were my biggest motivation.  When I first saw videos of the damage to the forest around Arahama in Sendai where I trained for four years in high school and of the city all darkened my own problems seemed pretty trivial.  All I can do is run, so for the sake of everyone who had supported me when I was at my best before I wanted to come back and give it my best again.  There was one other thing, too.  Before me, Coach Watanabe brought up Sam [Wanjiru, the Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist]  at Sendai Ikuei, and I have never seen Coach Watanabe as devastated and grief-stricken as he was after Sam died in May.  I wanted to do something to help make Coach happy again.

What sustained you when you were at your worst?
Coach never ran out of patience with useless little me.  He always believed that someday I was going to run again and helped show me the way back.  That was the #1 most important thing.  All the love and support I had from my friends and family and the physical trainer and doctor I've had since high school was a really big part of it too.  For myself, I also thought that if you took running away from Megumi Kinukawa there'd be nothing left.

When you ran the World Championships as a high school senior you were 14th in the 10000 m.  This time it looks like you are going to double in the 5000 m and 10000 m.
Last time I was just running for the experience of being there.  This time I'm bringing my best and gunning for the best in the world so that I can send the people in Miyagi and everywhere in Japan something to be proud of.  Through my running I want to show the people who need it the most that if you keep fighting and never give up you'll definitely make it back.

Have you thought yet about your plans for taking on the marathon?
If I think about running twice as far as the half [which I ran for the first time on July 3] I have to wonder if I could withdstand it.  I'd probably say no thanks since I get bored easily.  If Coach tricks me into running or uses some kind of magic spell then maybe I'll run one.  Personally I don't think it's time yet.

Megumi Kinukawa
Born Aug. 7, 1989 in Takasaki, Gunma.  153 cm, 38 kg.  10000 m national junior record holder and this year's 5000 m national champion.  Ran the 10000 m at the 2007 World Championships as a high school senior.  In the last month she has run the all-time Japanese women's 4th-best for 10000 m (31:10.02), 6th-best for 5000 m (15:09.96), and the best-ever placing by a debuting Japanese woman at the Sendai International Half Marathon where she was 3rd.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Japan Announces Team of 50 for Daegu World Championships

by Brett Larner

The Japanese federation Rikuren announced the complete lineup of its team for next month's World Championships in Daegu, Korea, adding to the previously-announced marathon and race walk rosters to make a complete team of fifty.  The Japanese team includes Olympic medalists Koji Murofushi (Mizuno, HT) and Shinji Takahira (Fujitsu, 200 m), World Championships medalists Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu, JT) and Yoshimi Ozaki (Daiichi Seimei, marathon), national record holders Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu, JT), Masumi Fuchise (Otsuka Seiyaku, 20 km RW), Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec, 100 m, 200 m), Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC, 3000 mSC), Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex, 400 mH), Daichi Sawano (Chiba Pref., PV), Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu, decathlon) and Masato Yokota (Fujitsu, 800 m) and an extensive list of national champions.  A complete listing of the team is given below.

One notable absence is year-leading 10000 m woman Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), who skipped Nationals and last weekend's Asian Athletics Championships despite being the only Japanese woman to break 31 minutes so far this year, passing up her chance of running at Worlds.  Fukushi is listed on the lineup for the federation's road trip to run the 10000 m at the Aviva U.K. Trials later this month in London, a trip designed to give Olympic hopefuls a taste of racing with that time difference in the British summer before next year's Olympic main event.  Taken all together this suggests that for Fukushi this may be a case of all roads leading to London.

2011 Daegu World Championships - Japanese National Team Roster

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 2:08:37
Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 2:09:03
Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:25
Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:09:31
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51

Long Distance
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:23.57 (5000 m); 27:38.25 (10000 m)
Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 13:23.15 (5000 m); 27:47.79 (10000 m)

Middle Distance
Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - 1:46.16 - NR

Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas) - 10.07 (100 m)
Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) - 10.20 (100 m); 20.22 (200 m)
Hitoshi Saito (Sanmesse AC) - 10.35 (100 m); 20.42 (200 m)
Yuichi Kobayashi (Hosei Univ.) - 10.48 (100 m); 20.59 (200 m)
Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.16 (400 m)
Sota Kawatsura (Chuo Univ.) - 10.30 (100 m); 20.56 (200 m)
Hideyuki Hirose (Keio Univ.) - 45.84 (400 m)
Yusuke Ishitsuka (Team Mizuno) - 46.02 (m)
Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) - 20.53 (200 m); 46.46 (400 m)

Takayuki Kishmoto (Hosei Univ.) - 49.27 (400 mH)
Takatoshi Abe (Chukyo Univ.) - 13.80 (110 mH); 49.46 (400 mH)
Yuta Imazeki (Team Aima) - 49.54 (400 mH)

Race Walks
Koichiro Morioka (Team Fujitsu) - 3:44:45 (50 km); 1:20:43 (20 km)
Takayuki Tanii (Team Sagawa Express) - 3:47:23 (50 km); 1:20:39 (20 km)
Hirooki Arai (Hokuriku Kamenoi Hotel AC) - 3:48:46 (50 km); 1:23:16 (20 km)
Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) - 1:20:06 (20 km)

Daichi Sawano (Chiba Pref.) - 5.83 m (PV) - NR

Koji Murofushi (Team Mizuno) - 84.86 (HT) - NR
Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 83.27 m (JT)

Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8073 - NR

Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2:23:30
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:24:09
Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:24:29
Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2:25:29
Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:26:55

Long Distance
Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) - 15:09.96 (5000 m); 31:10.02 (10000 m)
Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:13.12 (5000 m)
Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 15:15.34 (5000 m); 31:34.25 (10000 m)
Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:26.72 (5000 m); 31:30.92 (10000 m)
Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:33.93 (3000 mSC) - NR

Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.21 (100 m) - NR; 22.89 (200 m) - NR
Momoko Takahashi (Team Fujitsu) - 11.32 (100 m); 23.15 (200 m)
Kana Ichikawa (Chukyo Univ.) - 11.43 (100 m); 23.63 (200 m)
Nao Okabe (Team Mizuno) - 11.75 (100 m)
Saori Imai (Shigakukan Univ.)

Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex AC) - 55.34 (400 mH) - NR

Race Walks
Masumi Fuchise (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:28:03 (20 km) - NR
Mayumi Kawasaki (Team Fujitsu) - 1:28:49 (20 km)
Kumi Otoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 1:29:11 (20 km)

Masumi Aya (Team Maruzen Kogyo) - 67.26 m (HT)
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 61.56 m (JT) - NR
Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 55.66 m (JT)

World Youth Championships - Japanese Results Day Five

2011 World Youth Games - Day Five Japanese Results
Lille, France, 7/10/11
click here for complete results

Boys' 3000 m Final
1. William Malel Sitonik (Kenya) - 7:40.10 - MR
2. Patrick Mutunga Mwikya (Kenya) - 7:40.47 - PB
3. Abrar Osman Adem (Eritrea) - 7:40.89 - PB
9. Yuki Hirota (Japan) - 8:13.65 - PB
10. Yusuke Uchikoshi (Japan) - 8:14.91 - PB

Boys' 200 m Final
1. Stephen Newbold (Bahamas) - 20.89 - PB
2. O'Dail Todd (Jamaica) - 21.00 - PB
3. Ronald Darby (U.S.A.) - 21.08
4. Akiyuki Hashimoto (Japan) - 21.21

Boys' Sprint Medley Relay Final
1. U.S.A. - 1.49.47
2. Japan - 1:50.69 - PB
3. France - 1:51.81 - PB

Boys' Pole Vault Final
1. Robert Renner (Slovenia) - 5.25 m - PB
2. Melker Svard Jacobsson (Sweden) - 5.15 m
3. Jacob Blankenship (U.S.A.) - 5.05 m
9. Ryohei Noda (Japan) - 4.80 m

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Asian Athletics Championships - Days Three and Four Results

2011 Asian Athletics Championships - Day Three and Four Results
Kobe, Hyogo, July 9-10, 2011
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m
1. T.D. Chalchissa (Ethiopia/Bahrain) - 15:22.48 - PB, MR
2. Hitomi Niiya (Japan) - 15:34.19
3. Yuriko Kobayashi (Japan) - 15:42.59
4. Alia Mohammed Saeed (U.A.E.) - 15:52.07
5. B.D. Blayneh (Ethiopia/U.A.E.) - 16:04.98
6. T. Triyaningsih (Indonesia) - 16:04.18
7. Rei Ohara (Japan) - 16:21.23
8. Kavita Raut (India) - 16:23.06
9. Suriya Loganathan (India) - 17:19.44
10. L. Ebrahimymojavery (Iran) - 17:40.01 - NR

Men's 5000 m
1. D.R. Mootumaa (Ethiopia/Bahrain) - 13:39.71 - MR
2. Yuki Sato (Japan) - 13:40.78 - MR
3. Alemu Bekele Gebre (Ethiopia/Bahrain) - 13:41.93
4. Kazuya Watanabe (Japan) - 13:48.81
5. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Japan) - 13:54.35
6. Suresh Kumar (India) - 14:05.64
7. Mohammed Khazaei (Iran) - 14:08.81
8. Agus Prayogo (Indonesia) - 14:10.85
9. Serod Batochir (Mongolia) - 14:18.53
10. Qais Al Mahruqi (Oman) - 14:24.13

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Minori Hayakari (Japan) - 9:52.42 - MR
2. Sudha Singh (India) - 10:08.52
3. Thi Phuong Nguyen (Vietnam) - 10:14.94

Women's 800 m
1. Tranh Hang Troung (Vietnam) - 2:01.41
2. Margarita Matsko (Kazakhstan) - 2:02.46
3. Tintu Luka (India) - 2:02.55

Men's 800 m
1. Mohammed Alazemi (Kuwait) - 1:46.14
2. Sajad Moradi (Iran) - 1:46.35
3. Ghamnda Ram (India) - 1:46.46

Women's 400 mH
1. Satomi Kubokura (Japan) - 56.52
2. Qi Yang (China) - 56.69
3. C.S. Merril (Sri Lanka) - 57.30

Men's 400 mH
1. Takatoshi Abe (Japan) - 49.64
2. Yuta Imazeki (Japan) - 50.22
3. Chieh Chen (Taiwan) - 50.39

Women's 200 m
1. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 23.49
2. Gretta Taslakian (Lebanon) - 24.01
3. Saori Imai (Japan) - 24.06

Men's 200 m
1. Femi Seun Ogunode (Qatar) - 20.41 - MR
2. Hitoshi Saito (Japan) - 20.75
3. O.J.B. Alsalfa (U.A.E.) - 20.97

Men's 110 mH
1. Xiang Liu (China) - 13.22 - MR
2. Dongpeng Shi (China) - 13.56
3. Taekyong Park (Korea) - 13.66

Women's 100 mH
1. Yawei Sun (China) - 13.04
2. Hyelim Jung (China) - 13.11
3. Natalya Ivoninskaya (Kazakhstan) - 13.15

Men's 4x400 m Relay
1. Japan - 3:04.72
2. Saudi Arabia - 3:08.03
3. Iran - 3:08.58

Women's 4x400 m Relay
1. Japan - 3:35.00
2. Kazakhstan - 3:36.61
3. Iraq - 3:41.91

Women's 4x100 m Relay
1. Japan - 44.05
2. China - 44.23
3. Thailand - 44.62

Men's 4x100 m Relay
1. Japan - 39.18
2. Hong Kong - 39.26
3. Taiwan - 39.30

Women's Pole Vault
1. Sha Wu (China) - 4.35 m
2. Ling Li (China) - 4.30 m
3. Yunhee Choi (Korea) - 4.00 m

Women's High Jump
1. Xinjuan Zheng (China) - 1.92 m
2. Svetlana Radzivil (Uzbekistan) - 1.92 m
3. Marina Aitova (Kazakhstan) - 1.89 m

Men's High Jump
1. Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) - 2.35 m - MR, NR
2. Majd Eddin Ghazal (Syria) - 2.28 m - NR
3. Chen Wang (China) - 2.26 m

Women's Triple Jump
1. Limei Xie (China) - 14.54 m
2. Valeriya Kanatova (Uzbekistan) - 14.14 m
3. Mayookha Johny (India) - 14.11 m - NR

Men's Long Jump
1. Xiongfeng Su (China) - 8.19 m
2. S. Sukhasvasti Na Ayu (Thailan) - 8.05 m - PB
3. Rikiya Saruyama (Japan) - 8.05 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Yukifumi Murakami (Japan) - 83.27 m - MR, PB
2. Jaemyoung Park (Korea) - 80.19 m
3. Ivan Zaitcev (Uzbekistan) - 79.22 m

Women's Shot Put
1. Qianqian Meng (China) - 18.31 m - PB
2. Xiangrong Liu (China) - 18.30 m
3. Leyla Rajabi (Iran) - 16.60 m

Men's Shot Put
1. Ming-Huang Chang (Taiwan) - 20.14 m - MR
2. Jun Zhang (China) - 19.77 m
3. O.S. Karhana (India) - 19.47 m

Men's Hammer Throw
1. Ali Zenkawi (Kuwait) - 73.73 m
2. Hiroshi Noguchi (Japan) - 70.89 m
3. Hiroaki Doi (Japan) - 70.69 m

Women's Heptathlon
1. Wassana Winatho (Thailand) - 5710
2. Fumie Takehara (Japan) - 5491 - PB
3. Chie Kiriyama (Japan)- 5442

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

World Youth Championships - Japanese Results Day Four

by Brett Larner

Japan picked up its second medal of the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships July 9 in Lille France, when hurdler Takahiro Matsumoto ran a PB of 51.26 to win bronze in the boys' 400 mH.  Teammate Aya Takizawa came close to equalling Matsumoto in the girls' 400 mH, where she ran a PB of 58.80 to finish 4th.

In the sprints, Akiyuki Hashimoto advanced to the boys' 200 m final with a 21.20 for 2nd in his semi, while the Japanese boys' sprint medley team won their heat easily to advance to the final where they should be in contention for a medal.  Masumi Aoki ran a PB of 24.64 in the girls' 200 m but finished only 6th and did not advance.

In other strong performances on the second-to-last day of competition, Shiho Takeda ran a PB of 4:20.62 to finish 8th in the girls' 1500 m and Ryo Miyata threw a PB of 63.29 in the boys' javelin semifinal but did not advance after finishing only 13th in his group.

2011 World Youth Championships - Day Four Japanese Results
Lille, France, 7/9/11
click here for complete results

Girls' 1500 m Final
1. Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (Kenya) - 4:09.48 - MR
2. Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) - 4:10.54 - PB
3. Genet Tibieso (Ethiopia) - 4:11.56 - PB
7. Yui Fukuda (Japan) - 4:19.27
8. Shiho Takeda (Japan) - 4:20.62 - PB

Boys' 400 mH Final
1. Egor Kuznetsov (Russia) - 50.97 - PB
2. Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh (Saudi Arabia) - 51.14 - PB
3. Takahiro Matsumoto (Japan) - 51.26 - PB
7. Shota Madokoro (Japan) - 51.77

Girls' 400 mH Final
1. Nnenya Hailey (U.S.A.) - 57.93 - PB
2. Sarah Carli (Australia) - 58.05 - PB
3. Surian Hechavarria (Cuba) - 58.37 - PB
4. Aya Takizawa (Japan) - 58.80 - PB

Boys' High Jump Final
1. Gael Levecque (France) - 2.13 m - PB
2. Usman Usmanov (Russia) - 2.13 m - PB
3. Justin Fondren (U.S.A.) - 2.13 m
5. Akira Koike (Japan) - 2.09 m

Boys' Medley Relay Semifinal
Japan (1st, Heat 2) - 1:52.45 (Q)

Girls' Medley Relay Semifinal
Japan (4th, Heat 3) - 2:10.54

Boys' 200 m Semifinal
Akiyuki Hashimoto (2nd, Heat 1) - 21.20 (Q)
Tatsuro Suwa (4th, Heat 2) - 21.46

Girls' 200 m Semifinal
Masumi Aoki (6th, Heat 1) - 24.64 - PB

Boys' Javelin Qualification
Ryo Miyata (13th, Group B) - 63.29 - PB

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 9, 2011

World Youth Championships - Japanese Results Day Three

2011 World Youth Championships - Day Two Japanese Results
Lille, France, 7/8/11
click here for complete results

Boys' 400 m Final
1. Arman Hall (U.S.A.) - 46.01 - PB
2. Alphas Leken Kishoyian (Kenya) - 46.58
3. Patryk Dobek (Poland) - 46.67 - PB
4. Machel Cedenio (Trinidad & Tobago) - 46.89 - PB
5. Takuya Fukunaga (Japan) - 47.16 - PB
6. Andre Wells (Bahamas) - 47.22
7. Brendon Restall (Canada) - 47.34
DNF - Sadam Suliman Koumi (Sudan)

Boys' 110 mH Final
1. Andries van der Merwe (South Africa) - 13.41
2. Joshua Hawkins (New Zealand) - 13.44 - PB
3. Wilhem Belocian (France) - 13.51 - PB
4. Omar McLeod (Jamaica) - 13.61 - PB
5. Takumi Takahata (Japan) - 13.71
6. Tyler Mason (Jamaica) - 13.74 - PB
7. Mousa Mohammed Al Subyani (Saudi Arabia) - 13.81 - PB
8. Vyacheslav Shvydkyy (Ukraine) - 13.94

Girls' 5000 m Race Walk Final
1. Kate Veale (Ireland) - 21:45.59 - PB
2. Yanxue Mao (China) - 22:00.15 - PB
3. Nadezhda Leontyeva (Russia) - 22:00.84 - PB
10. Nozomi Okazaki (Japan) - 23:11.00
12. Makoto Yamanaka (Japan) - 23:25.77

Girls' 800 m Semifinal
Akiho Fukuzato (3rd, Heat 2) - 2:07.02 - PB
Miho Nakata (4th, Heat 3) - 2:07.17

Boys' 200 m Heats
Akiyuki Hashimoto (2nd, Heat 6) - 21.58 (Q)
Tatsuro Suwa (2nd, Heat 5) - 21.94 (Q)

Girls' 200 m Heats
Masumi Aoki (4th, Heat 6) - 24.87 - PB (q)

Boys' 110 mH Semifinal
Takumi Takahata (1st, Heat 1) - 13.66 - PB (Q)

Boys' Pole Vault Qualification
Ryohei Noda (7th, Group A) - 4.70 m (q)
Shota Enoki (NM)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 8, 2011

Asian Athletics Championships - Day Two Results

2011 Asian Athletics Championships - Day Two Results
Kobe, Hyogo, July 8, 2011
click here for complete results

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Abubaker Ali Kamal (Qatar) - 8:30.23
2. Artem Kossinov (Kazakhstan) - 8:35.11
3. T.M.S. Taher (Bahrain) - 8:45.47

Men's 1500 m
1. Mohammed Alazemi (Kuwait) - 3:42.49
2. Sajad Moradi (Iran) - 3:43.30
3. C.I. Wijekoon (Sri Lanka) - 3:44.01

Women's 1500 m
1. Genzeb Shumi Regasa (Bahrain) - 4:15.91
2. Tranh Hang Truong (Vietnam) - 4:18.40
3. J. Orchatteri Puthiya (India) - 4:21.41

Men's 400 m
1. Yousef Ahmed Masrahi (Saudia Arabia) - 45.79
2. Hideyuki Hirose (Keio Univ.) - 46.03
3. Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 46.38

Women's 400 m
1. Olga Tereshkova (Kazakhstan) - 52.37
2. Gulustan Ieso (Iraq) - 52.80
3. Jingwen Chen (China) - 52.89

Men's 100 m
1. Bingtian Su (China) - 10.21
2. Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas) - 10.28
3. Sota Kawatsura (Chuo Univ.) - 10.30

Women's 100 m
1. Guzel Khubbieva (Uzbekistan) - 11.39
2. Yongli Wei (Chinda) - 11.70
3. Yujia Tao (China) - 11.74

Men's Pole Vault
1. Daichi Sawano (Japan) - 5.50 m
2. Hiroki Ogita (Japan) - 5.40 m
3. Yansheng Yang (China) - 5.40 m

Men's Triple Jump
1. Yevgeniy Ektov (Kazakhstan) - 16.91 m
2. Yanxi Li (China) - 16.70 m
3. Roman Valiyev (Kazakhstan) - 16.62 m

Women's Discus Throw
1. Taifeng Sun (China) - 60.89 m
2. Xuejun Wa (China) - 59.67 m
3. Harwant Kaur (India) - 57.99 m

Men's Decathlon
1. Hadi Sepehrzad (Iran) - 7506
2. Akihiko Nakamura (Japan) - 7478
3. Bharat Inder Singh (India) - 7358

5000 m National Champion Watanabe at Asian Athletics Championships: "I Want the A-Standard"

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 19th Asian Athletics Championships got underway July 7 at the World University Games Memorial Stadium in Kobe, Hyogo.  The last chance for Japanese athletes to qualify for the national team for next month's World Championships in Daegu, Korea, the Japanese federation Rikuren will give a guaranteed place on the team to any athlete who wins their event and holds a World Championships A-standard qualification mark.

A four-day meet, the first day of the Asian Athletics Championships features seven events including the men's and women's 10000 m and the heats and semi-finals of the men's 100 m, where no Japanese athletes have yet recorded a Worlds-qualifying time.  The field includes 3-time national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas).  Women's sprinting star Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) will run the 200 m heats on the third day of the meet.  The same day, 5000 m national champion Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) will run the men's 5000 m.  2009 World Championships men's javelin bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) will shoot for 85 m on the final day of competition.

Watanabe is highly motivated for the 5000 m on the 9th, saying, "I want to run a race that will leave me with no regrets."  Having left Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko last summer, in May this year Watanabe cleared the World Championships 5000 m B-standard of 13:27.00.  Now he is ready to run a triumphant homecoming race to show everyone how much he has grown.

Watanabe was born in Nishinomiya, Hyogo and joined Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko after graduating from Hotoku H.S. in 2006, hoping to become one of the country's leading runners.  However, he says, "I found that I needed to be in an environment where I could concentrate more on my training." Last summer he quit the team to move to Team Shikoku Denryoku.  After the move his training became more interval-based, sharply improving his speed.

Already the all-time #2 Japanese man over 1500 m, this season Watanabe has been on fire.  At May's Golden Games in Nobeoka meet he won the 5000 m outkicking most of the best Japan-resident Africans and running 13:23.15.  Watanabe became the all-time eighth-fastest Japanese man and, together with Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) in the same race, the first Japanese man to crack the Daegu World Championships B-standard.  At June's National Championships he won the 5000 m, outkicking Sato over the final 400 m, a confirmation that his speed has arrived at its first major checkpoint.  Watanabe followed up on his Nationals win with a 27:47.79 m and a tie of his 3:38.11 1500 m PB within four days.

Having turned 24 on July 7, Watanabe has the greatest momentum of any Japanese distance runner right now.  "My goal for the Asian Athletics Championships is the [World Championships] A-standard [13:20.00]," he says with confidence.  He'll have company again from his rival Sato.  There's no doubt that with the cheers from the home ground Hyogo crowd Watanabe's chances of making the World Championships team are very good indeed.

World Youth Championships - Japanese Results Day Two

by Brett Larner

On the second day of the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships, top-seeded sprinter Kazuma Oseto delivered Japan's first medal of the games, winning silver in the boys' 100 m.  Oseto came to the Championships with the fastest PB in the field, but after a shaky semifinal he was just clipped in the final by Jamaica's O'dail Todd, who ran a PB 10.51 to win gold over Oseto's 10.52. Michael-Meba Zeze of France rounded out the medals with a 10.57 for bronze.  The only other Japanese athlete of the day to make a final, Ai Yamauchi, finished last in the women's javelin throw where Germany's Christin Hussong threw a meet record 59.74 m for gold.

In semi-final, heat and qualification round action, both Yuki Hirota and Yusuke Uchikoshi ran PBs to advance to the boys' 3000 m final on time, each finishing 5th in his heat.  Hurdlers Aya Takizawa, Shota MadokoroTakahiro Matsumoto and Takumi Takahata likewise ran PBs to make the finals, Matsumoto and Takahata winning their heats.  Three other athletes advanced in their events, Takuya Fukunaga winning his 400 m heat.  Shotaro Aikyo ran a 400 m PB of 47.42 but did not advance, as was true for Ikumi Iida in the girls' 100 mH who clocked a PB of 13.96 but finished only 4th in her heat and did not advance to the final on time.

2011 IAAF World Youth Championships Day Two Japanese Results
Lille, France, July 7, 2011
click here for complete results

Boys' 100 m Final
1. O'dail Todd (Jamaica) - 10.51 - PB
2. Kazuma Oseto (Japan) - 10.52
3. Micheal-Meba Zeze (France) - 10.57

Girls' Javelin Throw Final
1. Christin Hussong (Germany) - 59.74 m - MR
2. Sofi Flinck (Sweden) - 54.62 m - PB
3. Monique Cilione (Australia) - 52.77 m - PB
12. Ai Yamauchi (Japan) - 42.96 m

Boys' 3000 m Heats
Yuki Hirota (5th, Heat 2) - 8:16.05 - PB (q)
Yusuke Uchikoshi (5th, Heat 1) - 8:18.84 - PB (q)

Boys' 800 m Semifinal
Jun Mitake (6th, Heat 1) - 1:51.68

Boys' 400 m Semifinal
Takuya Fukunaga (1st, Heat 1) - 47.30 (Q)
Shotaro Aikyo (5th, Heat 3) - 47.42 - PB

Girls' 400 mH Semifinal
Aya Takizawa (3rd, Heat 2) - 59.18 - PB (q)
Minori Tanaka (3rd, Heat 1) - 1:00.19

Boys' 400 mH Semifinal
Shota Madokoro (3rd, Heat 2) - 51.72 - PB (q)
Takahiro Matsumoto (1st, Heat 1) - 52.20 - PB (Q)

Boys' 110 mH Heats
Takumi Takahata (1st, Heat 4) - 13.88 - PB (Q)

Girls' 100 m Semifinal
Anna Doi (3rd, Heat 1) - 12.24
Yumi Nobayashi (DQ, Heat 3)

Boys' 100 m Semifinal
Kazuma Oseto (3rd, Heat 3) - 10.75 (q)
Kazuya Tsukamoto (4th, Heat 2) - 10.92

Girls' 100 mH Semifinal
Ikumi Iida (4th, Heat 2) - 13.96 - PB
Rina Hagita (6th, Heat 1) - 14.35

Boys' High Jump Qualification
Akira Koike (5th, Group B) - 2.03 m (q)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Murasawa and Sreedharan Impress in Asian Athletics Championships 10000 m

by Brett Larner

Intense humidity after a day of rain heavy enough to postpone the men's pole vault final at the 2011 Asian Athletics Championships meant that the anticipated fast times in the 10000 m were off the table, but both the men's and women's races featured dramatic action and exciting finishes.  African-born Bahrainis turned the race for gold and silver into Kenya vs. Ethiopia intramural competitions in both races, with defending champion Kenyan Mahboob Ali Hasan Mahboob beating Ethiopian Bilisuma Shugi Gelasa in the men's race and Ethiopian 2010 Asian Games 10000 m bronze medalist Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel outkicking Kenyan Kareema Jasim Saleh to take the women's race.

The Asians in the Asian Athletics Championships were left to compete for bronze.  The men's race saw a nearly constant turnover in the lead position, with Mahboob taking the field through a 2:46 first kilometer off a quick opening lap by Tokai University junior Akinobu Murasawa, followed by a slower middle section ambitiously led by India's Suresh Kumar and tailed by 2010 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon winner Serod Batochir (Mongolia).  After a 14:22 first 5000 m Kumar and Batochir could not keep up as Mahboob, Gelasa, Murasawa and year-leading Japanese man Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) all took turns leading and pushing the pace.  Mahboob twice fell back in the last mile but each time returned to regain contact.  Ugachi lost touch in the final kilometer as Mahboob moved to the front and began a sustained push to the end.  Murasawa did his best to stay with the two Africans over the final lap but could not match their last kick and had to settle for 3rd, with the consolation of having running an aggressive race up front to beat the faster Ugachi in a championship 10000 m for the second time this season.  Kumar overtook the fading Batochir for 5th, the 3rd-place Asian finisher.

In the women's race Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ.) took things out at 33:00 pace, running the first 4000 m like clockwork as she split 3:18, 3:18, 3:17 and 3:18.  The two Bahrainis then moved to the front but did not pick things up, running 3:18 for each of the next two splits.  After 6000 m the African pair surged away from the pack, opening a gap that was never threatened.  The superb 2010 Asian Games 10000 m gold medalist Preeja Sreedharan (India) and the lesser-known of the two Japanese women, Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) initially gave chase, dropping early leader Nagao as they tried to go with the Bahrainis but soon settling back and letting Nagao catch back up.  The race for bronze came down to a battle between Sreedharan and Nakamura over the last kilometer, but with the superior finishing speed Sreedharan showed at last fall's Asian Games there was little doubt of the outcome as she outkicked Nakamura for the medal.  Asian Games silver medalist Kavita Raut (India) was also in the race but abruptly dropped out of the pack early in the race and finished 6th in only 35:24.35.

The distance events at the Asian Athletics Championships continue on Saturday with the 5000 m, where Raut will face 15:13 woman Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) and this year's men's 5000 m national champion Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) and 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) will chase the 13:20.00 World Championships A-standard.

2011 Asian Athletics Championships Day One
Kobe, Hyogo, July 7, 2011
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Mahboob Ali Hasan Mahboob (Kenya/Bahrain) - 28:35.49
2. Bilisuma Shugi Gelasa (Ethiopia/Bahrain) - 28:36.30
3. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:40.63
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:48.53
5. Suresh Kumar (India) - 29:37.62
6. Serod Batochir (Mongolia) - 29:44.84
7. Kheta Ram (India) - 30:31.85
DNF - Mohammed Khazaei (Iran)

Women's 10000 m
1. Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel (Ethiopia/Bahrain) - 32:47.80
2. Kareema Jasim Saleh (Kenya/Bahrain) - 32:50.70
3. Preeja Sreedharan (India) - 33:15.55
4. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 33:16.62
5. Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) - 33:19.14
6. Kavita Raut (India) - 35:24.35
7. M. Ghayournajafabadi (Iran) - 43:09.30

Men's Discus Throw
1. Ehsan Hadadi (Iran) - 62.27 m
2. V.G. Shive Gowda (India) - 61.58 m
3. Jian Wu (China) - 56.61 m

Women's Long Jump
1. Mayookha Johny (India) - 6.56 m
2. Minjia Lu (China) - 6.52 m
3. Saeko Okayama (Japan) - 6.51 m

Women's Hammer Throw
1. Masumi Aya (Japan) - 67.19 m
2. Tinting Liu (China) - 65.42 m
3. Yuka Murofushi (Japan) - 62.50 m

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Chunhua Liu (China) - 58.05 m
2. Ping Wang (China) - 55.80 m
3. Yuka Sato (Japan) - 54.16 m

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

World Youth Championships - Japanese Results Day One

by Brett Larner

The Japanese team at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France by and large performed well on the first day of competition, with 15 of the 21 athletes competing in heats and qualification rounds advancing to the next stage.  Particularly strong were hurdler Shota Madokoro, who won his heat of the boys' 400 mH in a PB of 53.46 and sprinters Anna Doi, Kazuma Oseto and Kazuma Tsukamoto, all of whom won their 100 m heats.  Hurdlers Takahiro Matsumoto and Ikumi Iida also clocked new PBs to advance in their events.

In the only final of the day to feature Japanese athletes, top high school runners Katsuki Suga and Tomoka Kimura turned in strong performances but were unable to break into the medals.  Kimura dictated the early pace, leading the race through a quick 2:58.83 first kilometer before team tactics led to a slow 3:07 second km.  In the blazing 2:51 final kilometer both Japanese runners lost touch as top 3 Gotytom Gebrslase (Ethiopia), Ziporah Wanjiru Kingori (Kenya) and Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui (Kenya) all broke 9 minutes, Gotytom's world-leading 8:56.36 almost exactly on Kimura's opening pace.  Suga pushed through to a new PB of 9:05.62 for 6th with Kimura paying for her early gamble as she ended up 7th in 9:11.36, the only runner in the top 12 not to run a PB.

2011 World Youth Championships Day One Japanese Results
Lille, France, July 6, 2011
click here for complete results

Girls' 3000 m Final
1. Gotytom Gebreslase (Ethiopia) - 8:56.36 - PB
2. Ziporah Wanjiru Kingori (Kenya) - 8:56.82 - PB
3. Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui (Kenya) - 8:58.63 - PB
4. Alena Kudashkina (Russia) - 9:01.51 - PB
5. Alemitu Heroye (Ethiopia) - 9:04.53 - PB
6. Katsuki Suga (Japan) - 9:05.62 - PB
7. Tomoka Kimura (Japan) - 9:11.36
8. Anca Maria Bunea (Romania) - 9:25.11 - PB
9. Luula Berhane Kebedom (Eritrea) - 9:32.17 - PB
10. Claudia Estevez (Spain) - 9:34.70 - PB

Boys' 2000 mSC Heats
Ryo Uchimura (12th, Heat 2) - 6:10.45

Girls' 1500 m Heats
Yui Fukuda (4th, Heat 2) - 4:21.76 (Q)
Shiho Takeda (6th, Heat 1) - 4:25.89 (q)

Boys' 800 m Heats
Jun Mitake (3rd, Heat 6) - 1:52.69 (Q)

Girls' 400 m Heats
Ayaka Nagura (4th, Heat 4) - 57.01

Boys' 400 m Heats
Takuya Fukunaga (2nd, Heat 6) - 47.24 (Q)
Shotaro Aikyo (2nd, Heat 1) - 47.74 (Q)

Girls' 400 mH Heats
Aya Takizawa (2nd, Heat 5) - 59.86 (Q)
Minori Tanaka (4th, Heat 3) - 1:00.18 (Q)

Boys' 400 mH Heats
Takahiro Matsumoto (2nd, Heat 5) - 53.42 - PB (Q)
Shota Madokoro (1st, Heat 4) - 53.46 - PB (Q)

Girls' 100 m Heats
Anna Doi (1st, Heat 1) - 11.83 (Q)
Yumi Nobayashi (3rd, Heat 8) - 12.11 (q)

Boys' 100 m Heats
Kazuma Oseto (1st, Heat 12) - 10.65 (Q)
Kazuya Tsukamoto (1st, Heat 3) - 10.79 (Q)

Girls' 100 mH Heats
Ikumi Iida (4th, Heat 1) - 14.16 - PB (Q)
Rina Hagita (5th, Heat 3) - 14.26 (q)

Girls' Javelin Throw Qualification
Ai Yamauchi (6th, Group B) - 47.93 (q)
Hiroko Takigawa (8th, Group A) - 46.36

Boys' Long Jump Qualification
Asahi Iida (13th, Group B) - 6.95 m
Ikki Fukunaga (12th, Group A) - 6.72 m

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

19th Asian Athletics Championships - Distance Preview (updated)

by Brett Larner

Update: Start lists for the first day of competition are available here.  National champion Yuki Sato is not running the 10000 m but is still entered for the 5000 m.

The 2011 Asian Athletics Championships run July 7-10 in Kobe, Hyogo, the last major competition for many of the athletes before next month's World Championships in Daegu, Korea. Much of the domestic Japanese attention will be on one of the very first events of the Asian Championships, the men's 10000 m. Two of the top three from this year's Japanese National Championships men's 10000 m, Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) are on the entry list and hunting for a World Championships qualifying mark, Ugachi to improve his 27:41.97 B-standard mark to the A level and Murasawa to at least get under 28 for the first time. The absence of a Kenyan distance squad from Qatar means that the mostly-Ethiopian team running for Bahrain will be the Japanese men's main competition, both defending champion Mahboob Ali Hasan Mahboob and Bilisuma Shugi Gelasa holding best times faster than the Japanese national record. The presence of such quality foreign competition combined with the home ground advantage means that if the weather cooperates A-standard marks may be on the way, possibly with a few records.

The women's 10000 m is comparatively weaker but features the Indian pair of Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut who impressed on the track at last year's Asian Games. With both women and Ethiopian Bahraini Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel holding PBs under 32 minutes it would likely take either a very slow, tactical race or a PB-level performance for either Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) or Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) to factor into the front of the pack.

The women's 5000 m is another story, with a competitive top group led by Japanese National Championships runner-up Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) and India's Raut. Niiya is the only woman in the field to hold a valid World Championships A-standard mark, but with Raut not far behind it could be a head-to-head race for the gold medal. Japanese 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) holds the fastest PB in the field but has been dealing with injuries for the last year and dropped out of the same race where Niiya set her PB of 15:13.12 at the end of June.

The men's 5000 m is heavily tilted in Japan's favor, with the top three from this year's National Championships, Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku), Sato, and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) taking up three of the top four places by PB. Ethiopian Alemu Bekele Gebre (Bahrain) comes in just ahead of Yoroizaka in the seedings with a 13:38.10 PB but would need a weak run from Watanabe and Sato to have a shot at winning. Seungho Baek (Korea) is an outside contender for a medal with the fifth-best PB in the field, 13:42.98.

The Asian Athletics Championships begin July 7 with the women's and men's 10000 m. Look for complete results and highlight videos on JRN.

2011 Asian Athletics Championships Entry List Highlights
Men's 10000 m
Mahboob Ali Hasan Mahboob (Bahrain) - 27:24.46
Bilisuma Shugi Gelasa (Bahrain) - 27:32.72
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 27:41.97
Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:00.78
Suresh Kumar (India) - 28:58.00
Kheta Ram (India) - 29:20.35
Serod Batochir (Mongolia) - 29:43.79
Mohammed Khazaei (Iran) - 30:25.00

Men's 5000 m
Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 13:23.15
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:23.57
Alemu Bekele Gebre (Bahrain) - 13:38.10
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 13:39.31
Seungho Baek (Korea) - 13:42.98
Dejenee Regasa Mootumaa (Bahrain) - 13:50.60

Men's 3000 mSC
Tareq Mubarak Salem Taher (Bahrain) - 8:06.13
Abubaker Ali Kamal (Qatar) - 8:15.80
Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:30.49
Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:34.96
Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8:37.05
Ramachandran Ramdas (India) - 8:42.58

Men's 1500 m
Belal Mansoor Belal Ali (Bahrian) - 3:31.49
Omar Alrasheedi (Kuwait) - 3:39.77
Mohammed Alazemi (Kuwait) - 3:40.14
Chaminda Indika Wijekoon (Sri Lanka) - 3:40.78
Hiroshi Ino (Team Fujitsu) - 3:42.83
Sang Min Sin (Korea) - 3:43.54

Women's 10000 m
Preeja Sreedharan (India) - 31:50.47
Kavita Raut (India) - 31:51
Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel (Bahrain)- 31:53.27
Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) - 32:10.46
Kareema Jasin Saleh (Bahrain) - 32:17.14
Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 32:51.61

Women's 5000 m
Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:05.37
Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:13.12
Kavita Raut (India) - 15:16.54
Tejitu Daba Chalchissa (Bahrain) - 15:29.78
Alia Mohammed Saeed (U.A.E.) - 15:30.00

Women's 3000 mSC
Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:33.93
Sudha Singh (India) - 9:55.67
Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 10:02.24
Thi Phuong Nguyen (Vietnam) - 10:02.28
Kareema Jasin Saleh (Bahrain) - 10:05.60

Women's 1500 m
Tranh Hang Trung (Vietnam) - 4:09.58
Betlhem Desalegn Blayneh) - 4:12.00
Jhuma Khatun (India) - 4:12.30
Jaisha Orchatteri Puthiyaveetil (India) - 4:13.15
Alia Mohammed Saeed (U.A.E.) - 4:14.00
Genzeb Shumi Regasa (Bahrain) - 4:14.05

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

World Youth Championships - Japanese Entries (updated)

by Brett Larner

click here to watch the IAAF World Youth Championships live online

The IAAF World Youth Championships get underway tomorrow, July 6, in Lille, France. As is to be expected, Japan's best medal chances among its team of 37 come in the sprints and long distances.

Kazuma Oseto (Ogura Higashi H.S.) comes to the boys' 100 m as the #1 seed, his PB of 10.39 leading the field. His teammates Kazuya Tsukamoto (Heisei H.S.) and Tatsuro Suwa (Yotsukaichi Kogyo H.S.) are also in the top eight on the entry list by PB, making the chances of at least one medal very good. All three runners are also on the list for the sprint medley relay, where the Japanese team is ranked 4th by a slim margin behind South Africa. Akiyuki Hashimoto (Sensatsu Seishukan H.S.) is ranked 3rd in the men's 200 m with a best of 20.91, Oseto and Suwa entered to double with marks not far off Hashimoto's. In the girls' 100 m Anna Doi (Saitama Sakae H.S.) is ranked 3rd by PB, 11.60, Yumi Nobayashi (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) a short distance back in the field with a best of 11.73.

In the boys' 3000 m Yuki Hirota (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) and Yusuke Uchikoshi (Kugayama H.S.) will be harder-pressed for hardware, the faster of the two, Hirota ranked only 8th by PB, 8:20.20, with neither of the Ethiopian entries listing qualification times or PBs. The 3000 m girls look to have a better chance, with top-ranked Japanese high schoolers Tomoka Kimura (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) and Katsuki Suga (Kojokan H.S.) virtually even with the Kenyan team by PB, 9:04.47 and 9:05.72 respectively. Again, the Ethiopian team does not list any qualification marks or PBs, but regardless with solid performances Kimura and Katsuki should both be in the hunt for a medal. Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) may also be a factor in girls' 1500 m, ranked 5th in the field with a best of 4:18.07 from earlier this season. Her teammate Shiho Takeda (Tokiwa H.S.) is not far behind with a PB of 4:20.92.

The IAAF World Youth Championships run from July 6-10. Click here for complete entry lists.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kiplagat and Njui Win Hot and Humid Sapporo International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With organizers sticking by the 1:30 p.m. start time they introduced last year and temperatures in the high 20's with humidity around 80% there was little chance of fast times at this year's Sapporo International Half Marathon despite excellent fields on both the men's and women's sides. 2010 World Half Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) led wire-to-wire to win the women's race in 1:10:29, with defending champion Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) holding off course record holder Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) to pick up his third Sapporo title in 1:01:47.

Kiplagat's win was a virtual forgone conclusion, but she had company through the first half of the race from Japan-based Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) in Chepyego's first half marathon. The pair went through the downhill first 5 km in 15:55 and 10 km in 32:54 before Kiplagat picked things up to put Chepyego away. Kiplagat indicated after the race that she plans to run this year's Berlin Marathon as a step toward the London Olympics. Chepyego took the runner-up spot in 1:12:03, a good debut considering the conditions, but was nearly run down by another first-timer, 5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno). The 21-year-old Kinukawa, who has been tearing up the track this season after returning from 3 years of injury, ran a highly controlled effort in her debut, sitting well back in the third pack deep into the second half of the race before turning it on and overtaking Misaki Katsumata (Team Daiichi Seimei), Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) and nearly Chepyego for 3rd in 1:12:22. Miyauchi, who ran solo in 3rd most of the race, ended up in 4th while Katsumata shuffled in to 5th. It was interesting to see that with very similar track bests last month, 15:09 and 31:10 for Kinukawa and 15:10 and 31:27 for Chepyego, their opposing race strategies in their half debuts resulted in almost identical times. In an entertaining post-race interview Kinukawa said that Sapporo was a test run to see how she handles longer distances as she prepares to follow through on her intention of running the marathon at the London Olympics next year.

In the men's race 2009 Sapporo winner Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) and 10000 m Japanese all-comers record holder Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) took the race out at sub-hour pace with a chase pack including defending champion Njui, course record holder Mogusu, and Japanese runner Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) not far behind. Njui and Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) soon made contact with Mogusu on his own trying to close the gap. Kihara quickly faded away and was replaced by Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) as the top Japanese man in the midst of a second pack of Kenyans. Ngatuny and Wanjuki faded away before 10 km and were overtaken by Mogusu. Just before 15 km Njui surged to drop Ndambiri, who was quickly passed by Mogusu, and steadily widened his lead to take another Sapporo win. Mogusu was 2nd in 1:02:11 and Ndambiri 3rd in 1:02:37, Okamoto holding on to the top Japanese spot as he finished 6th in 1:03:03. Ngatuny fell out of the top ten, and likewise none of the three members of Japan's World Championships marathon squad running Sapporo made the top ten. Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) was the top Daegu marathoner, 17th in 1:05:02, with Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) 58th and his teammate Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama) 63rd after saying he has had trouble getting back to normal after overheating at the Okinoshima 50 km last month.

Surprisingly beating both Ngatuny and Nakamoto was Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon), 14th in 1:04:39 as he continues a long comeback from his DNS at the Beijing Olympics marathon. Osaki also beat his Beijing teammates, Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), both of whom ran over 1:07. Kihara, Arata Fujiwara (Remo System AC), John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) and invited athlete Andrew Lemoncello (U.K.) were among the many to drop out partway through the race.

2011 Sapporo International Half Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 7/3/11
1. Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:10:29
2. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 1:12:03 - debut
3. Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) - 1:12:22 - debut
4. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:12:55
5. Misaki Katsumata (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:13:16
6. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:27
7. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:13:31
8. Aki Odagiri (Meijo Univ.) - 1:13:34
9. Yuki Tanaka - 1:13:49
10. Sayo Nomura - 1:14:39

1. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 1:01:47
2. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 1:02:11
3. Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:02:37
4. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 1:02:52
5. Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:02:59
6. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:03:03
7. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:03:35
8. Kiragu Njuguna (Kenya/Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 1:04:00
9. Nicholas Makau (Kenya/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 1:04:01
10. Koichi Sakai (Team Fujitsu) - 1:04:12
14. Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 1:04:39
15. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:04:51
17. Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 1:05:02
58. Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 1:06:57
63. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:07:12
73. Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:07:28
77. Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:07:40
DNF - Arata Fujiwara (Remo System)
DNF - Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo)
DNF - Andrew Lemoncello (U.K.)
DNF - John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Gold Coast Marathon - Top Results

2011 Gold Coast Airport Marathon - Top Results
Brisbane, Australia, 7/3/11
Marathon - Men
1. Nicholas Manza Kamakya (Kenya) - 2:10:01 - CR
2. Albert Kiplagat Matebor (Kenya) - 2:10:13
3. Japhet Kipchichir Kipkorir (Kenya) - 2:10:50
4. Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:13:16
5. Noriaki Takahashi (Team S&B) - 2:14:13
13. Mok Ying Ren (Singapore) - 2:27:05
75. Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods) - 2:53:04

Marathon - Women
1. Goitotem Haftu Tesema (Ethiopia) - 2:30:08
2. Roxie Fraser (Australia) - 2:41:17
3. Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) - 2:43:04
4. Michelle McAdam (Australia) - 2:44:44
5. Kirsten Molloy (Australia) - 2:46:32

Note: Tanaka's daughter Nozomi won the junior 4 km in 14:27.

Half Marathon - Men
1. Jeff Hunt (Australia) - 1:04:04
2. Hiroki Tanaka (Japan) - 1:04:48
3. Daisuke Koyama (Japan) - 1:04:57

Half Marathon - Women
1. Lara Tamsett (Australia) - 1:12:19
2. Jessica Trengrove (Australia) - 1:12:28
3. Abigail Bayley (Australia) - 1:13:40