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Japan Announces Complete London Olympics Athletics Team

by Brett Larner

Click here for JRN's complete video coverage of the 2012 Japanese Olympic Trials, 27 videos making up nearly three hours of footage.

The Japanese Federation and Olympic Committee announced the complete lineup of Japan's team of 48 athletes for this summer's London Olympics track and field events at a press conference on June 11.  The team features 11 national record holders and 18 current national champions and is young overall, with a heavy preponderance of first-time Olympians including a World Junior gold medalist, 13 collegiates and one high schooler.  The Fujitsu corporate team is overwhelmingly the best-represented, boasting 8 Olympic team members, while Chukyo University tops the collegiate list with 3 athletes on the team.  Suzuki, whose Suzuki Hamamatsu AC club team exists outside the corporate league, also has 3 Olympians.

No Olympic team selection process is free of controversial decisions, and the omission of women's 10000 m Jr. NR holder Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno) is the biggest question mark this time around.  Kinukawa held the 2nd-fastest 10000 m qualifying time, 31:10.02, and the fastest 5000 m qualifying time, 15:09.96 run while winning the 2011 National Championships, among all the Japanese women entered at the Olympic Trials.  Recovering from winter-season injuries, she finished 3rd in the Olympic Trials 10000 m but sat the 5000 m out.  Named to the team today were only three women with valid A-standard marks at both 5000 and 10000, Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic), 1st in the 10000 m and 5th in the 5000 m, Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), 2nd in both the 5 and 10, and Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.), 1st in the 5000 m but a DNS in the 10000 m, suggesting that the Federation is giving Niiya the chance to double despite not having run the 10000 m and having a significantly slower Olympic qualifying time at that distance than Kinukawa.  Similarly, Yoshikawa will have the opportunity to double despite running far more poorly in the 5000 m than Kinukawa did in the 10000 m.  At the same time, the fastest seed in the men's 100 m, Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) with an A-standard 10.08 SB, finished 3rd in the Olympic Trials in only 10.35, well off the Olympic B-standard, but was still named to the team.

Less controversial but still something of a letdown for Japanese men's distance running was the selection of B-standard Olympic Trials 10000 m winner Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) over A-standard 3rd and 4th placers Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) after a Trials run in which he sat mid-pack without engaging the race, waiting and kicking his way past Miyawaki and Ugachi for the win.  Similarly, B-standard pole vaulter Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) made the team over A-standard Trials runner-up and national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu).  Sato did not run the 5000 m but holds a valid B-standard mark, meaning he will likely double.

Men's Sprints
100 m: Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - SB/PB: 10.08
100 m: Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas) - SB: 10.14   PB: 10.07
200 m: Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) - SB/PB: 20.42
200 m: Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) - SB/PB: 20.45
200 m: Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) - SB: 20:49   PB: 20.22
400 m: Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - SB: 45.23   PB: 45.16
Relays (pending qualification):
4x100 m: Takumi Kuki (Waseda Univ.) - SB/PB: 10.25
4x400 m: Hiroyuki Nakano (Aichi Kyoiku Univ.) - SB/PB: 45.81
4x400 m: Yoshihiro Azuma (Kansai Univ.) - SB/PB: 46.26

Women's Sprints
100 m: Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - SB: 11.24   PB: 11.21 (NR)
200 m: Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - SB: 23.12   PB: 22.89 (NR)
Relays (pending qualification):
4x100 m: Anna Doi (Saitama Sakae H.S.) - SB/PB: 11.43
4x100 m: Kana Ichikawa (Chukyo Univ.) - SB/PB: 11.43
4x100 m: Momoko Takahashi (Team Fujitsu) - SB: 11.51   PB: 11.32
4x100 m: Yumeka Sano (Tsuru Bunka Univ.) - SB: 11.62   PB: 11.59

Men's Middle Distance
800 m: Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - SB: 1:46.19   PB: 1.46.16 (NR)

Men's Long Distance
5000 m: Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - SB: 13:25.53   PB: 13:23.57
10000 m: Yuki Sato (Tean Nissin Shokuhin) - SB: 27:57.07   PB: 27:38.25

Women's Long Distance
5000 m: Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - SB/PB: 15:13.12
5000 m: Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - SB/PB: 15:15.33
5000 m: Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - SB: 15:18.46   PB: 14:53.22 (NR)
10000 m: Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - SB: 30:54.29   PB: 30:51.81
10000 m: Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - PB/SB: 31:28.26
10000 m: Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - SB/PB: 31:28.71

Men's Hurdles
400 mH: Takayuki Kishimoto (Hosei Univ.) - SB/PB: 48.41
400 mH: Akihiko Nakamura (Chukyo Univ.) - SB/PB: 49.38
400 mH: Tetsuya Tateno (Chuo Univ.) - SB/PB: 49.49

Women's Hurdles
100 mH: Ayako Kimura (Team Edion) - SB/PB: 13.04
400 mH: Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex AC) - SB/PB: 55.34 (NR)

Men's Jumps
Pole Vault: Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) - SB/PB: 5.60 m

Women's Jumps
Pole Vault: Tomomi Abiko (Shiga Lake Stars AC) - SB/PB: 4.40 m (NR)

Men's Throws
Hammer: Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) - SB: 81.24 m   PB: 84.86 (NR)
Javelin: Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.) - SB/PB: 84.28 m
Javelin: Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - SB/PB: 83.95

Women's Throws
Javelin: Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hammatsu AC) - SB/PB: 62.36 (NR)

Men's Decathlon
Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - SB/PB: 8073 (NR)

Men's Marathon
Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - SB/PB: 2:07:48
Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - SB/PB: 2:08:44
Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - SB/PB: 2:08:53
Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - SB/PB: 2:09:25

Women's Marathon
Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - SB/PB: 2:23:23
Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - SB/PB: 2:23:56   PB: 2:23:30
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - SB/PB: 2:26:32
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - SB/PB: 2:24:09

Men's Walks
20 km: Isamu Fujisawa (Team Alsok) - SB: 1:20:38   PB: 1:20:12
20 km: Takumi Saito (Toyo Univ.) - SB/PB: 1:21:01
20 km: Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) - SB: 1:21:13   PB: 1:20:06
50 km: Yuki Yamazaki (SDF Academy) - SB: 3:41:47   PB: 3:40:12 (NR)
50 km: Takayuki Tanii (Team Sagawa Express) - SB/PB: 3:43:56
50 km: Koichiro Morioka (Team Fujitsu) - SB/PB: 3:44:45

Women's Walks
20 km: Kumi Otoshi (Team Fujitsu) - SB/PB: 1:29:11
20 km: Mayumi Kawasaki (Team Fujitsu) - SB: 1:30:25   PB: 1:28:49
20 km: Masumi Fuchise (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - SB: 1:31:52   PB: 1:28:03 (NR)

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reerved


Anonymous said…
If protests were allowed, there would be many waiting at the doorsteps of the selection committee. Some of these athletes deserved to represent the nation, while others are NOT the best athletes to be representing Japan. I, as a pole vault coach working with Japan, am digusted by ommission of Sawano. He jumped well and cleared the A-standard at Mt. SAC with lots of hip height. The only reason, or excuse, the commitee has is that Daichi came in second in the competition held in typhoon conditions, which led to him fighting off body cramps during his vaults. If they wanted Yamamoto to go, they should have allowed Sawano to go as well and leave behind Abiko, who only cleared the B-standard once and will not be a strong contender even in the prelims.
Brett Larner said…
Thank you for bringing that up. I had overlooked Sawano. It's a similar situation to the men's 10000, where a B-standard athlete won over A-standard people and was named to the team. I don't believe they could send both Yamamoto and Sawano, though, could they? Is it not the case for jumps as well that it's either one B-standard athlete or up to three A people, not both? Abiko wouldn't really play into that, being a woman.
Anonymous said…
Yes, many controversial decisions. Rikuren usually sends a limit of 40 athletes. According to an inside source they just included Abiko because the other horizontal/vertical jumps failed to qualify. Okayama, Saeko made a good attempt in the LJ. Not including Sawano on the team is illogical. He is ranked 3rd in the world, tied with many others at 5.72m. On the other hand, Yamamoto is listed as 30th. This is most likely the national record holders last Olympic bid, considering his age. Oh well, Sasase will return strongly from his injury and make up for this whole mess.

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