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Sani Brown Brings the Heat on Day One of Japanese National Championships



2015 World Youth Championships 100 m and 200 m gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) brought the heat to the first day of the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai, running a PB 10.06 (+0.4) in the opening round of heats and 10.06 (+0.5) in the semifinals to lead the field into the final.

There's a major air of excitement around the men's 100 m in Japan, its 4x100 m silver medal in the Rio Olympics fueling hopes of seeing the country's first-ever sub-10 clocking. At the time they won that silver medal only two members of the team, Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) and Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) had ever broken 10.10 with a legal wind, along with alternate Kei Takase (Fujitsu). Earlier this month another of the four, 200 m specialist Shota Iizuka (Mizuno), ran 10.08 (+1.9). Shortly after that a newcomer, 20-year-old Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) jumped into the picture with a 10.08 (+1.9). The momentum was building.



Still just 18 years old, Sani Brown started the day with a best of 10.22 (+1.0). After Tada took the second heat with a conservative 10.21 (-0.9) Sani Brown dropped a bomb on the third heat, his 10.06 (+0.4) landing him at all-time Japanese #6. With the day just starting the excitement in the stadium jumped up several notches. The fourth Rio team member, Aska Cambridge (Nike) was up next in heat four, and when he threw down a 10.08 (-0.9) PB to win it you could almost feel a wave a belief sweeping the stadium. It's going to happen. Here. We're going to see it.

Kiryu won heat five in 10.15 (+0.2) with Yamagata, injured for three months this spring, taking the final heat in 10.24 (+0.0). In the semifinals, Cambridge led Kiryu 10.10 to 10.14 (-0.2) to win the first semi. Sani Brown did it again in semi two, winning in 10.06 over Tada's 10.10 (+0.5). Yamagata showed the effects of his lost time this season, squeezing into the final on time as he finished 4th in 10.31.

At the time of the Rio silver medal there were three active top-level Japanese men under 10.10. In the last three weeks four more have joined the club, three of them still in the early days of their careers. Based on the standings from the semi-finals we might only see one of the Rio medalists make the London team in the 100 m. Regardless of whether there the collective consciousness can will a sub-10 into being in tomorrow's final, Japan's chances in the Tokyo 2020 men's 4x100 m are looking very, very good at this stage.



The other big race of the day was the women's 10000 m, where thirteen starters held qualifying marks for the London World Championships. Rio 10000 m squad Yuka Takashima (Team Shiseido), Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) and Hanami Sekine (Japan Post) were the favorites, but with so many people in contention a slower race would make the outcome very unpredictable. And slow it started, the first km taking 3:19. Yuka Hori (Team Panasonic) got it moving a little faster after that, but when 3000 m passed in 9:43 defending national champion Suzuki took over.

Pushing the pace down under 3:10/km Suzuki shook off most of the competition by 6000 m, by when only Sekine, Mizuki Matsuda (Team Daihatsu) and Mao Ichiyama (Team Wacoal) were left in tow. The unusually muscular Matsuda through in a surge from 6000 m to 7000 m that dropped Sekine, and a 3:06 response from Suzuki between 7000 m and 8000 m got rid of Ichiyama. Locked together until the home straight, Matsuda threw down hard in the home straight to take the win in 31:39.41, a PB by 20 seconds. Suzuki was two seconds back in a season best 31:41.65.

Ichiyama had looked safe for 3rd, but over the final 1000 m Miyuki Uehara (Team Daiichi Seimei), who memorably made the 5000 m final at the Rio Olympics with brave frontrunning in the heats, began to close rapidly. Kicking hard from 400 m out she caught Ichiyama with 300 m to go and opened 7 seconds on her to take 3rd in 31:48.81. With all of the top three and beyond well under the London standard there should be a full contingent of Japanese women on the 10000 m start line come August.

Likewise in another traditional area of Japanese strength, the men's 400 m hurdles. Prior to the start of Nationals only Takatoshi Abe (Descente AC) had cleared the 49.35 London standard. In the first heat top two Yuta Konishi (Team Sumitomo Denko) and Kei Maeno (Dome) went 49.03 and 49.06, well under the standard. The long-haired Abe responded in heat two, showing Konishi and Maeno what's what with a 48.94. Runner-up Ryo Kajiki (Josai Univ.) also squeezed under the standard in 49.33, making it four contenders in the final who have a chance at making the three-slot London team.

The day's only other new qualifier for London came in the men's 400 m. Coming in with a PB of 45.52, 2014 World Junior Championships 4x400 m silver medalist Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) cleared the 45.50 standard for the first time when he ran 45.48 to win the first heat, beating past national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) in the process. Absent throughout this season, defending national champion and Rio Olympian Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) was a DNS, leaving the door open for Kitagawa to make the London team with a win in Saturday's final.



Other results:
  • Riku Kimura (Tokai Univ.) led an unusually quick by Japanese standards 1500 m qualifying round, running 3:42.20 to head into the final ranked 1st. Six men qualified under 3:45, but defending national champion Masaki Toda (Team Nissin Shokuhin), the only Japanese man in the field with a sub-3:40 mark, crapped out with a 3:53.10 for 8th in his heat, missing the final.
  • Men's pole vault meet record holder and eleven-time national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) was 2nd in 5.50 m, missing the 5.70 m London standard. Of the two Japanese men with the standard, #1-ranked Seito Yamamoto (Team Toyota) won in 5.60 m to make the London team, but #2-ranked Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) was only 5th in 5.40 m, raising the possibility of only a single Japanese man being named to the London team in the pole vault barring successful standard chasing next month.
  • In contrast to Matsuda's PB in the women's race, defending 10000 m national champion Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) exerted the minimum necessary effort to win a second-straight national title, outkicking fellow Saku Chosei H.S. graduate Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) and 2015 National XC champion Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei) over the last lap to win in 28:35.47. Going through halfway in 14:36, Osako ran 2:34 for the final km. The only Japanese man currently holding a London qualifying time in the 10000 m, national record holder Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), was a DNS, meaning that Osako, Ueno and Ichida will need fast times at next month's Hokuren Distance Challenge to have a chance of making the London team.
  • Along with the men's pole vault, four other field events crowned national champions on the first day of competition, but none came close to clearing the London standard.
The 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships continue Saturday and Sunday. Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos and video. JRN is on-site in Osaka to cover the action live throughout the weekend. Follow @JRNHeadlines and @JRNLive for more.

101st National Track and Field Championships

Day One Highlights
Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osako, 6/23/17
click here for complete results
athletes in bold cleared London World Championships qualifying standards

Women's 10000 m Final
1. Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) - 31:39.41 - PB
2. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) - 31:41.65
3. Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 31:48.81
4. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 31:55.48
5. Yuka Hori (Panasonic) - 31:59.80 - PB
6. Hanami Sekine (Japan Post) - 32:23.83
7. Ai Inoue (Noritz) - 32:35.33
8. Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 32:36.97
9. Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) - 32:43.57
10. Kanayo Miyata (Yutaka Giken) - 32:44.23

Men's 10000 m Final
1. Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) - 28:35.47
2. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 28:37.34
3. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:39.00
4. Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:45.16
5. Ken Yokote (Fujitsu) - 28:45.28
6. Minato Oishi (Toyota) - 28:46.25
7. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) - 28:47.96
8. Mitsunori Asaoka (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 28:49.96
9. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 28:50.60
10. Yuma Hattori (Toyota) - 28:54.91

Women's High Jump Final
1. Haruka Nakano (Waseda Univ.) - 1.80 m
2. Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Gakuen AC) - 1.77 m
3. Julia Tsuda (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 1.77 m

Men's Pole Vault Final
1. Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) - 5.60 m
2. Daichi Sawano (Fujitsu) - 5.50 m
2. Masaki Ejima (Nihon Univ.) - 5.50 m

Women's Long Jump Final
1. Ayaka Kora (Sonoda Gakuen H.S.) - 6.14 m (+1.1)
2. Erika Tsujimoto (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 6.11 m (-1.1)
3. Chie Kiriyama (Yamada Denki) - 6.07 m (-0.5)

Women's Hammer Throw Final
1. Hitomi Katsuyama (Orico T&F Team) - 63.32 m
2. Akane Watanabe (Maruwa Unyu Kikan) - 62.64 m
3. Suzuka Asada (Mukogawa Univ.) - 62.02 m

Men's Hammer Throw Final
1. Ryota Kashimura (Yamada Denki) - 71.36 m
2. Hiroki Uchibori (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 68.03 m
3. Yudai Kimura (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 67.65 m

Women's 100 m Final Qualifiers
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 11:49
Chisato Fukushima (Sapporo T&F Assoc.) - 11.55
Saori Imai (Iida Byoin) - 11.71
Mizuki Nakamura (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 11.74
Nodoka Seko (Crane) - 11.74
Ichiko Iki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 11.77
Miyu Maeyama (Niigata Iryo Fukushi Univ.) - 11.77
Kaho Nishio (Konan Univ.) - 11.81

Men's 100 m Final Qualifiers
Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 10.06 PB (+0.5) / 10.06 (+0.4) PB in heats
Aska Cambridge (Nike) - 10.10 (-0.2) / 10.08 (-0.9)  PB in heats
Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 10.10 (+0.5)
Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 10.14 (-0.2)
Takuya Kawakami (Chuo Univ.) - 10.30 (+0.5)
Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) - 10.31 (+0.5) / 10.24 (+0.0) in heats
Takumi Kuki (NTN) - 10.35 (-0.2)
Shuji Takahashi (Aichi Ika Univ.) - 10.36 (-0.2) / 10.31 (+0.4) in heats

Women's 400 m Final Qualifiers
Konomi Takeishi (Toho Ginko) - 53.47
Seika Aoyama (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 53.61
Yuna Iwata (Chuo Univ.) - 53.82
Nanako Matusmoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 54.23
Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) - 54.37
Asami Shintaku (Art Home) - 54.40
Rin Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 54.49
Kanako Shiiya (Niigata Iryo Fukushi Univ.) - 54.69

Men's 400 m Final Qualifiers
Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 45.48 - PB
Kazushi Kimura (Yondenko) - 45.53
Kentaro Sato (Fujitsu) - 45.67
Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.76
Tomoya Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 45.84
Kosuke Horii (Sumitomo Denko) - 45.88
Taiki Mihara (Konan Univ.) - 45.88
Mizuki Obuchi (Tokai Univ.) - 45.95

Men's 800 m Final Qualifiers
Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:47.19
Jun Mitake (TSP Taiyo) - 1:47.40
Takumi Murashima (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:48.03
Hiroyuki Shiraishi (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:48.04
Fumiya Tozawa (Nihon Univ.) - 1:48.94
Miran Saito (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:49.04
Kenta Umetani (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:49.49
Takuto Hanamura (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 1:49.73

Women's 1500 m Final Qualifiers
Chiaki Morikawa (Uniqlo) - 4:22.15
Yuna Wada (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 4:22.28
Chihiro Sunaga (Shiseido) - 4:22.45
Ayako Jinnouchi (Kyudenko) - 4:22.45
Kyoka Kudo (Nittai Univ.) - 4:22.57
Wakana Kabasawa (Keio Univ.) - 4:22.63
Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) - 4:22.70
Yume Goto (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 4:22.74
Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 4:22.74
Maya Iino (Daiichi Seimei) - 4:22.84
Nana Kuraoka (Denso) - 4:22.87
Helena Mai Lindsay (Kanazawa Municipal H.S.) - 4:22.89

Men's 1500 m Final Qualifiers
Riku Kimura (Tokai Univ.) - 3:42.20
Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) - 3:42.98
Kazuki Kawamura (Meiji Univ.) - 3:43.31
Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:43.98
Tatsuro Okazaki (Osaka Gas) - 3:44.19
Hazuma Hattori (Toenec) - 3:44.24
Kazuyoshi Tamogami (Chuo Univ.) - 3:45.71
Chiharu Nakagawa (Toenec) - 3:45.76
Ryota Matono (MHPS) - 3:45.95
Ryoji Tatezawa (Tokai Univ.) - 3:49.88
Daiki Hirose (Osaka Gas) - 3:50.40
Yuki Muta (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 3:50.49

Men's 400 mH Final Qualifiers
Takatoshi Abe (Descente TC) - 48.94
Yuta Konishi (Sumitomo Denko) - 49.03
Kei Maeno (Dome) - 49.06
Ryo Kajiki (Josai Univ.) - 49.33
Yuki Matsushita (Mizuno) - 49.40
Yoshiro Watanabe (Josai Univ.) - 49.43
Yusuke Ishida (Waseda Univ.) - 49.46
Kotaro Miyao (Ise A. Lab) - 49.97

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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