an editorial by Hiromi Taniguchi, 1991 Tokyo World Championships marathon gold medalist and two-time Olympic marathoner
translated by Brett Larner
Yesterday's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon was a pretty unremarkable race. Akinobu Murasawa and the other young athletes ran at 3:00/km pace in the lead group to 20 km, but at that point there were only 21 people left in the group and it looked like the more inexperienced athletes started to feel afraid somewhere along the way. Tadashi Isshiki was the same way. I think the pressure probably did him in before he even started running. You have to value the experience level of Satoru Sasaki, who fell off pace midway but came back to take the top Japanese position, but in terms of his time it's tough to consider him.
For the World Championships team, why not select the top three Japanese men from the Tokyo Marathon, Hiroto Inoue, Hiroyuki Yamamoto and Yuta Shitara? It was fantastic how right from the start they ran fast and competitively, and you can feel optimistic about their tactics too. All three are between their mid-20s and age 30. From the point of view of looking toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, these young athletes are very suitable.
Translator's note: Yamamoto is older than London team contender Yuki Kawauchi, in addition to having run more slowly than Kawauchi's Fukuoka performance and having placed lower in terms of overall position, Japanese finisher position, and distance from winner. He also did not run a fast early pace like Inoue and Shitara as Taniguchi claims, instead hanging back in the Japanese pack behind designated pacer Yuki Sato for much of the race. Yamamoto has a chance of being named instead of Beppu-Oita winner Kentaro Nakamoto, but while it's understandable that Taniguchi would want to see Shitara on the team none of the arguments he puts forward justifies Yamamoto's selection over Kawauchi in order to make that happen.