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Showing posts from July, 2015

Ishizuka and Yukinaga Break Junior and H.S. National Records on National High School Track and Field Championships Day Three

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620



After setting a National High School Track and Field Championships record to win the girls' 400 m on Wednesday and anchoring her school's 4x100 m relay team, Haruko Ishizuka (Keiai Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) tore it up again on the Championships' third day of competition.  After dominating the 400 m hurdles semifinals and her 800 m heat Ishizuka was sensational in the 400 mH final, kicking hard in the last 100 m to win in 57.06, a new junior national record, high school national record and meet record.  Her Keiai teammate Mizuki Murakami and 3rd-placer Yuri Arashima (Kurashiki Chuo H.S.) both ran PBs under 59 seconds but were nearly 2 second behind.  Incredibly, less than an hour later Ishizuka was back to win her 800 m semifinal in 2:08.65, the slowest of the three semifinal winning times but still credible given the dangerously hot conditions and, of course, the fact that she had just broken a junior national record.  1500 m champion Chika…

Oshima Over Sani Brown, Kitaguchi Wins Again and Fast 1500 m Finals on Day Two of Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620



Defending champ Kenta Oshima (Tokyo H.S.) brought the highlight of the second day of the Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships, delivering a big upset in the boys' 100 m final with a win over the fastest boy in the field, 2015 World Youth Championships double gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.).  With Sani Brown holding a PB 0.11 seconds faster and leading his times in both the heats and semifinals, Oshima had a great start in the final, opening an early lead as Sani Brown was slow out of the blocks.  Sani Brown closed throughout the race, but Oshima had enough for the win in 10.29, his second-straight national H.S. 100 m title and a PB by 0.09 seconds despite a -0.8 m/s headwind.  Sani Brown was almost even with him in 10.30, just off his best, with 3rd-placer Kenta Katsuse (Saku Yakonohana H.S.) running a PB 10.48.  Both Oshima and Sani Brown returned later to anchor their teams in  4x100 m relay semifina…

Ishizuka 400 m MR, Sani Brown Anchors Josai 4x100m Semis on Day One of Japanese National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620 and aoshin0507



#1-ranked Haruko Ishizuka (Keiai Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) turned in the performance of the day on the opening day of the National High School Track and Field Championships, setting a meet record 53.30 to win the girls' 400 m.  After dominating the semifinals in 53.92, the only girl in the field to break 54, Ishizuka had no trouble at all running away from closest competitor Yuna Iwata (Niijima Gakuen H.S.) in the final, winning by more than a second over Iwata's 54.37 PB.  2015 World Youth Championships team member Rin Aoki (Soyo H.S.) also ran a PB of 54.74 for 3rd.  The boys' 400 m final saw Daisuke Funato (Higashi Fukuoka H.S.) unexpectedly win with a 47.06 PB, taking down favorites Manato Sasaki (Morioka Minami H.S.) and Sho Someya (Seibudai Chiba H.S.) who took only 4th and 5th.



Another highlight came in the first heat of the boys' 1500 m, where a strong surge from Kakeru Nakamura (Saigyo H.S.) at 700 m meant a fast…

World Youth Champions Kitaguchi and Sani Brown Lead 68th National High School Championships - Preview and Live Streaming

by Brett Larner
live streaming courtesy of Inter-High School Television


The 68th National High School Track and Field Championships kick off today in Wakayama.  All four Japanese medalists from this month's World Youth Championships, girls' javelin gold medalist Haruka Kitaguchi (Hokkaido Asahikawa Higashi H.S.), boys' 100 m and 200 m championships record-setting double gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.) and boys' 400 m hurdles silver and bronze medalists Ryusei Fujii (Kokura Kogyo H.S.) and Masaki Toyoda (Rakunan H.S.), are on the entry lists along with 2014 Youth Olympics girls' 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.), boys' 10000 m race walk gold medalist Minoru Onogawa (Tokyo Jitsugyo H.S.) and boys' 100 m silver medalist Kenta Oshima (Tokyo H.S.).

Most eyes will be on Sani Brown, who is set to run at the Beijing World Championships next month aged just 16, but with just 0.10 separating their bests last…

Kebaso and Matsumoto Win Shibetsu Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With the demise of the Sapporo International Half Marathon, Hokkaido's Shibetsu Half Marathon has taken on a bigger role as a major domestic summer half marathon, especially for members of Japanese national teams for international championships.  Despite generally hot conditions and the apparent cutting of the elite women's 10 km this year, both the women's and men's races featured solid fields.

Kenyan Winfredah Kebaso, the main support of the fledgling Nitori corporate women's team, easily took the win in 1:12:36 over Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), one of the three Japanese women in the marathon at next month's Beijing World Championships.  Ito was a distant 2nd behind Kebaso in 1:14:47 but had little trouble holding off teammate Yui Okada, 3rd in 1:15:13.  Runners from the Noritz corporate team featured prominently, taking 4 of the top 10 places, while Nitori's Remi Nakazato continued her comeback from a cancer diagnosis last November, tak…

Get Paced By Your 5000 m National Champion, Only At Time Trials for Grown-Ups

by Brett Larner
photos by Ekiden News, Reiko.K and STITCHrunner
click here for more photos by Ekiden News

For the third year in a row, the staff of the Ekiden News website brought the experience of the elite time trial meet to the average runner, putting on the Otona no Time Trial meet, Time Trials for Grown-Ups, at Kinuta Park Field in Tokyo's western-central suburb of Setagaya on July 26.  Despite extreme heat over 500 amateur runners from back-of-the-packers to sub-15 seekers, kids to adults, took part in 1000 m, 1500 m and finely-graded 5000 m races, mirroring the experience of elite time trial meets like the Nittai University Time Trials and Golden Games in Nobeoka. 

London Paralympics 5000 m bronze medalist Shinya Wada

Each heat featured pacing from top-tier Japanese elite athletes, including sub-62 half marathoners Takuya Fukatsu, Tomoya Onishi and Yuki Yagi from the Asahi Kasei corporate team, London Paralympics men's 5000 m bronze medalist Shinya Wada and Yuki Kawa…

Kawauchi Wins Fifth-Straight Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km

http://www.news-kushiro.jp/news/20150727/201507271.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 43rd running of the Kushiro Shitsugen Road Race took place July 26 in Kushiro, Hokkaido in rainy conditions.  3870 people started the race, aiming for the finish line as they ran through the region's beautiful natural areas.  Likewise aiming for the Olympics as an amateur athlete, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was on-hand as an invited runner, receiving a bouquet of flowers.

4220 people entered the race this year, a new record.  The 30 km walk division began at 6:00 a.m., with the 30 km race starting at 9:30 accompanied by people in the 15 km walk, 10 km and 3 km run divisions.  Locals crowded the course to cheer passing runners on.  Kawauchi won for the fifth-straight year, crossing the finish line in 1:35:08.  Post-race he said, "I feel great when the conditions are perfectly cool like this.  If it's late July that means I'm running in Kushiro.  That's a co…

Wharf to Wharf 6 Miler - Japanese Results

Santa Cruz, U.S.A., 7/26/15
click here for complete results

Men
1. Sam Chelanga (Kenya) - 27:25
2. Shadrack Kosgei (Kenya) - 27:27
3. John Muritu Watiku (Kenya) - 27:28
4. Nelson Oyugi (Kenya) - 27:29
5. Brett Gotcher (U.S.A.) - 27:32
-----
8. Yuichiro Ueno (Japan/DeNA) - 27:58
12. Kensuke Gotoda (Japan/DeNA) - 29:01
13. Yuki Kawasaki (Japan/DeNA) - 29:08
14. Hiroki Sugawa (Japan/DeNA) - 29:09
15. Yukiho Aihara (Japan/DeNA) - 29:26

'Tokyo Unveils 2020 Olympics Logo By Kenjiro Sano'

Sainsbury's Anniversary Games - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner
video by MYXGAMES2013



Less than a week after setting a new 5000 m national record in Belgium, Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) came up short of breaking his own 3000 m national record of 7:40.09, running 7:46.14 for 10th in the men's 3000 m at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games Diamond League meet in London.  London Olympics double gold medalist Mo Farah (Great Britain) put on another show for the hometown crowds, outrunning Othmane El Goumri (Morocco) to win in a world-leading 7:34.66.

Sainsbury's Anniversary Games
London, U.K., 7/24/15
click here for complete results

Men's 3000 m
1. Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 7:34.66 - WL
2. Othmane El Goumri (Morocco) - 7:36.71 - PB
3. Emmanuel Kipsang (Kenya) - 7:37.05
4. Yenew Alamirew (Ethiopia) - 7:38.47
5. Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 7:39.85
-----
10. Suguru Osako (Japan/Oregon Project) - 7:46.14

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Governor Masuzoe’s Olympic Offensive'

Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe looks to assign blame for failure of Olympic Stadium plans, saying current leadership shares "the same system of irresponsibility like that which once characterized the Japanese Imperial Army.”:

http://shingetsunewsagency.com/tokyo/?p=1522

新国立競技場、政府は抜本的見直しをするという。6月29日に下村大臣が政府最終決定を発表してから3週間も経っていない。このような事態に至ったのは誰の責任か?ミスを重ねた文科省の役人一人の首もとれないのか?A、I氏など、皆、自分は悪くないと自己弁護。大日本帝国陸軍と同じ無責任体制。 — 舛添要一 (@MasuzoeYoichi) July 17, 2015

2020 Tokyo Olympics Race Walk Course to Change After IAAF Criticism

http://www.sankei.com/sports/news/150724/spo1507240001-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

Multiple people involved with the situation confirmed on July 23 that the race walk course for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that has been in place since Tokyo's initial bid is to undergo changes.  The original plan involved a start and finish at the Olympic Stadium with a circuit course on Aoyama Street, but IAAF officials deemed that the 1.3 km segment on Gaien Nishi Street connecting the stadium and circuit course makes it "difficult to position referees," forcing a revision of the plans.

In race walking it is illegal for both feet to be in the air at the same time, and the leading leg must remain straight from the time the heel contacts the ground until the leg is in the vertical position.  In the Olympics nine referees are properly placed to determine by visual inspection whether athletes' form constitutes a violation of either rule.

According to an involved party, the new course …

All-Time Top 25 Japanese Rankings

updated 8/31/15

All-time top 25 Japanese men's and women's rankings over 5000 m, 10000 m, half marathon and marathon.  Click any image to enlarge.  Green indicates a time run in the current year.  Yellow indicates the most recent time for distances with no top 25 performances this year.  Additions and corrections welcome.  

Click here for all sub-2:10 Japanese men's marathon performances.  Click here for all sub-2:27 Japanese women's marathon performances.


(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

The New Olympic Stadium Plans Must Include a Permanent Sub-Track

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2015/07/21/kiji/K20150721010773500.html

an editorial by Kenji Fujiyama
translated by Brett Larner

With a crack of the whip from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the controversial plans for the 2020 Olympic Stadium that have generated a storm of criticism have gone back to the drawing board.  Underlying Abe's decision, the news that the project's wasteful $2 billion+ USD price tag has disappeared is glad tidings indeed.  But the price was not the only problem with the plans.

Official JAAF-certified athletics facilities are classified into four categories, with the World Championships and other major international events requiring the highest level facilities within that categorization.  Absolutely essential for a facility to receive the highest level of certification is the presence of an auxiliary track, known as a sub-track.  With no sub-track included in the plans for the 2020 Olympic Stadium, after the Olympics the JAAF would be unable to use …

Sani Brown Breaks Bolt's World Youth Championships Record

by Brett Larner
video by Sport in HD



After winning the 100 m in World Youth Championships record time earlier in the week, Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.) fully arrived on the international scene on the Championships' final day, breaking Usain Bolt's 200 m meet record to win gold in 20.34.  Running into a moderate headwind, Sani Brown had pressure from South Africa's Kyle Appel on the curve, but hitting the straight he pulled away steadily to take the win by a margin of over 0.2 seconds.  Sani Brown's time bettered his PB by 0.22 seconds, cleared Bolt's 20.40 record from the 2003 World Youth Championships and moved him up to all-time youth #2 behind only Bolt.  It also cleared the Beijing World Championships qualifying standard of 20.50, and with a 2nd-place finish in the 200 m at last month's National Championships behind him it means Sani Brown is a lock for the Beijing team at age 16.  Give him 5 more years and Tokyo 2020 should be interesting indeed…

Osako and Yoroizaka Break 5000 m National Record at KBC Nacht

by Brett Larner

Eight years after it was set at on the same track, Suguru Osako (Oregon Project) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) made history at the KBC Nacht in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, both breaking Takayuki Matsumiya's 13:13.20 Japanese men's 5000 m national record.  For Osako it was do or die, his last chance to clear the Beijing World Championships qualifying standard of 13:23.00 after his official debut season with the Oregon Project was repeatedly hit by setbacks, not least of all the series of doping allegations against his coach Alberto Salazar.  Osako came through in a big way, running 13:08.40 for 6th, easily breaking both the NR and the Beijing standard.  10000 m national champion Yoroizaka, already on the Beijing team in the 10000 m, unexpectedly hung on to the pace and likewise cleared the record and standard in 13:12.63.

After countless all-time top performances over 5000 m, 10000 m, half marathon and marathon have sent things bubbling in the right dire…

Fujii and Toyoda's Double 400 m Hurdles Medals Lead World Youth Championships Day Four Japanese Results

by Brett Larner
videos by Akiko Sani Brown



After setting boys' 400 m hurdles world youth leads in the heats and semifinals at the World Youth Championships, Japan's Ryusei Fujii (Kokura Kogyo H.S.) and Masaki Toyoda (Rakunan H.S.) added to the country's medal total in the final to cap the fourth day of competition.  Both delivering PB performances, Fujii and Toyoda were unable to match a brilliant world youth leading 49.11 from Norman Grimes (U.S.A.) but took silver and bronze, Fujii in 50.33 and Toyoda in 50.53.  4th placer Rivaldo Leacock (Barbados) likewise turned in a PB of 51.13, an indication of how good the competition up front was.



The other Japanese performance of the day came in the boys' 200 m semifinals.  Despite a 1.7 m/s headwind, 100 m gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.) ran 20.62 to win his semifinal, just 0.06 seconds off his best and 0.12 seconds off the Beijing World Championships qualifying standard.  His nearest competition in the…

World Youth Championships Day Three Japanese Results

by Brett Larner
video by Akiko Sani Brown

Day Three of the World Youth Championships was relatively quiet for the Japanese contingent.  Of the two finals featuring Japanese athletes, Yuki Shibata (Kitakyushu Municipal H.S.) had better luck, placing 7th in the girls' 2000 mSC in 6:48.41, seconds out of the top 5 but 30 seconds behind winner Celliphine Chepteek Chespol (Kenya).  After running a 46.85 PB in the boys' 400 m semifinals, Minato Sasaki (Morioka Minami H.S.) struggled in the final, finishing last in 47.54.



Two of Japan's gold medal contenders moved on through the opening rounds without problems.  100 m gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Josai Prep H.S.) won his 200 m heat in 21.19, jogging down the home straight with ease, while boys' pole vault favorite Masaki Ejima (Eda H.S.) likewise advanced after clearing 4.95 m.  Kazuki Tamura (Shimonoseki Shogyo H.S.) also advanced in the boys' 200 m, with Takaaki Yoshida (Kanonji Chuo H.S.) joining Ejima in the p…

Prime Minister Abe Announces Revision of Olympic Stadium Plans A Day After Pushing Through Military Expansion Bill

Late last week and earlier this week there was a sudden swell in popular opposition to the Zaha Hadid-designed 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium design after it was revealed that the design would cost over $2 billion USD, far above the original estimate in Tokyo's Olympic bid.  Polls estimated from 71% to 95% opposition.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated that there was little choice as "there wouldn't be enough time" to redo plans for the stadium.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-10/too-late-to-change-design-of-tokyo-s-olympic-stadium-abe-says

With the stadium's price tag dominating the headlines, virtually simultaneously on Thursday the main house of the Japanese parliament approved bills fronted by Abe aimed at expanding the role of the Japanese military despite large-scale public opposition and legal challenges over the move's constitutionality.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/abe-pushes-security-bills-through-japans-lower-house-1437023839

The next day A…

Suzuki Sets Another National Record, Ohara Qualifies for Beijing, Sub-28 Collegiates and More as Hokuren Distance Challenge Series Wraps Up in Abashiri

by Brett Larner

Japan's major midsummer track series, the Hokuren Distance Challenge in four locations across Hokkaido, wrapped up July 16 with the Abashiri Meet.  For the second time in a week, 20 km race walk world record holder Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) broke a national record held by teammate Eiki Takahashi, both times outgunning Takahashi to do it.  This time it was Takahashi's 10000 mRW national record, from which Suzuki lopped 8 seconds with a new record of 38:10.23.  12 more seconds to another world record.

Other new came in the women's 10000 m, where National Championships 3rd-placer Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) finally succeeded in breaking the Beijing World Championships qualification standard of 32:00.00, taking 3rd in a new PB of 31:48.31 for which she is all but certain to be rewarded with a place on the Beijing team.  Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) won in a solid PB of 31:44.86, with the top 4 breaking 32 minutes and the top 7 all clearing the 32:15.00 stan…

Kitaguchi Throws Javelin Gold - World Youth Championships Day Two Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Haruka Kitaguchi (Hokkaido Asahikawa Higashi H.S.) unexpectedly became the second Japanese gold medalist of the World Youth Championships, the only athlete in the girls' javelin throw to go over 60 m with a PB of 60.35 m for the win.  Virtually unknown going into the competition, Kitaguchi opened with a PB 56.42 m throw to immediately go into 1st ahead of #3-ranked Laine Donane (Latvia) and #4-ranked Stella Weinberg (Norway).  On her third throw Weinberg delivered a PB of her own, 57.11 m, to move into 1st, but Kitaguchi was quick to respond with a 60.35 m best on her fifth throw to seal gold.  Weinberg stayed in silver, while Donane took bronze with her opening throw of 56.15 m.

Kitaguchi was the only Japanese medalist of the day, but from 400 m through 3000 m Japanese athletes performed well, moving on into the finals almost across the board.  Both Masaki Toyoda (Rakunan H.S.) and Ryusei Fujii (Kokura Kogyo H.S.) won their boys' 400 mH semifinals, Toyoda break…