translated and edited by Brett Larner
On Dec. 6 the management of the S&B Foods men's athletics team, scheduled to lose its decades-long sponsorship at the end of March, announced that the team has signed a new deal with Tokyo-based mobile phone video game maker DeNA, owner of the Yokohama Baystars pro baseball team. The new DeNA team, led by current S&B sports promotions director and former marathon great Toshihiko Seko, 56, will be made up of twelve members including six athletes and six support staff. Seko will serve as the supervisory head coach, with current S&B coach Hiroshi Tako handling regular coaching duties.
The S&B team includes the likes of 5000 m and 10000 m Beijing Olympian Kensuke Takezawa, but in August last year came the sudden announcement of S&B's termination of its sponsorship. Seko's primary goal in finding a new sponsor was that the entire team be able to move together. The team will use the same area Seko used during his day, Tokyo's Jingu Gaien, for its primary training ground. The veteran Seko plans to have the newborn team make a return to ekiden competition.
Translator's note: Waseda University's Suguru Osako was to have joined the S&B team following his graduation in 2014 but has instead signed with the Nissin Shokuhin team. Takezawa is said to be leaving the rest of the team in its move to DeNA. The New Year Ekiden national championships require seven members, so the DeNA team will have to sign additional members in order to follow through on Seko's plans to return to the ekiden circuit.