Skip to main content

Federation Eliminates Selection Advantage from National Team Program

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1483468.html

an editorial by Hirokazu Ogishima
translated by Brett Larner

At a meeting of its executive committee May 27 in Tokyo, the JAAF made the decision to eliminate the advantage in Olympic and World Championships marathon team selection given to members of its National Team program.  The National Team program was launched last spring and is overseen directly by the JAAF's Development Committee, who at the time of the program's inauguration said that members would receive priority in consideration for the 2016 Rio Olympic team.  A year later they have flip-flopped and gone in exactly the opposite direction.

At the meeting the JAAF board discussed the organization of this year's National Team, the members of which have not yet been announced.  Criteria such as evaluation of athletes' performances over the last year will not change, but Vice-Chairman of Development Katsumi Sakai stated, "At the point in time when we determine Olympic team membership we will not take into consideration whether candidates are member of the National Team program."  Board member Toshihiko Seko, who at an earlier board meeting had said, "It would be strange is someone who ran a solid time was not chosen just because they were not in the National Team program," commented, "I think it's a good change.  It will give motivation to young athletes who are not members of the National Team program."

The change will help improve competition for the Olympic team by giving more chance for athletes without proven track records to make it, but the National Team program itself remains vague and ill-defined.  Last year team members were announced at the start of the fiscal year at the beginning of April, but at this point in the program's second year the Development Committee is still talking to potential members.  Vice-Chairman Sakai has said, "Our goal in Rio is to have our athletes finish among the top places.  To that end we will offer support for dealing with hot weather and such."  Be that as it may, with the National Team program members' advantage in Olympic and World Championships team selection eliminated it is likely that we will see athletes decline to take part in the program.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

New Balance Nationals and Record-Breaking Times Nationwide at Japanese High School Regionals

The New Balance Nationals Outdoor was the weekend's big high school meet in the U.S.A., but from Thursday through Monday regions across Japan also held their qualifying meets for the July 29 - Aug. 2 National High School Track and Field Championships in Yamagata. Performances were at a high level across the board, with at least eight meet records nationwide in distance events.

Five girls broke 4:20 in the 1500 m, with Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) leading the way with a 4:09.67 meet record to win the Tohoku Region. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was the fastest Japanese girl, winning the Kinki Region title in 4:18.32. On the boys' side, four broke 3:50 in the 1500 m, three of them in the Kinki Region meet. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) took the Kinki title in 3:46.86.



In the girls' 3000 m, five girls including both Ekarare and Tanaka were under 9:05 nationwide. Ekarare and Tanaka both doubled with 3000 m wins, but the fastest time came from Tabitha Kamau (Kamimu…