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100 m NR Holder Ito: Japan Has Entered the Ranks of the World's True Relay Powerhouse Nations

an editorial by Koji Ito 
men's 100 m national record holder
JAAF Development Committee Chair

In London Japan won the men's 4x100 m relay bronze, its first-ever World Championships 4x100 m medal. I'm glad that they were able to win a medal. My honest impression was that they have done well to come this far. Before the race started sprint coach Shunji Karube was saying, "They're totally going to medal," but a key part of Japan's strength is in fact the rich experience he and Coach Hiroyasu Tsuchie bring to the picture. I think their tactics are amazing. During the heats they could make an assessment of Aska Cambridge's situation in just half a day and replace him with Kenji Fujimitsu, who delivered a solid run.

Japan has entered the ranks of the world's true relay powerhouse nations. Apart from leading man Shuhei Tada, the other three members were talking before the race in a totally relaxed way that would have been unthinkable in my era. The final makeup of the team, its color, was important too, the mix of youth, mid-career and veteran runners and the depth that has emerged at each level. For the future we have to develop greater depth to be able to put together two 37-second teams like this year's world champion Great Britain.

Japanese Men's 4x100 m Relay World Championships and Olympic Games History

2017 London World Championships - bronze - 38.04
2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games - silver - 37.60 - AR
2015 Beijing World Championships - 4th, Heat 1 - 38.60
2013 Moscow World Championships - 6th - 38.39
2012 London Olympic Games - 4th - 38.35
2011 Daegu World Championships - 4th, Heat 2 - 38.66
2009 Berlin World Championships - 4th - 38.30
2008 Beijing Olympic Games - bronze - 38.15
2007 Osaka World Championships - 5th - 38.03 - AR
2005 Helsinki World Championships - 8th - 38.77
2004 Athens Olympic Games - 4th - 38.49
2003 Paris World Championships - 6th - 39.05
2001 Edmonton World Championships - 4th - 38.96
2000 Sydney Olympic Games - 5th - 38.31 - AR tie
1999 Seville World Championships - did not qualify
1997 Athens World Championships - 5th, Semifinal 2 - 38.31 - AR
1996 Atlanta Olympic Games - DQ, Heat 2
1995 Gothenburg World Championships - 5th - 39.33
1993 Stuttgart World Championships - 7th, Semifinal 1 - 39.01
1992 Barcelona Olympic Games - 6th - 38.77
1991 Tokyo World Championships - 6th, Heat 2 - 39.19
1988 Seoul Olympic Games - 5th, Semifinal 1 - 38.90
1987 Rome World Championships - 5th, Semifinal 1 - 39.71
1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games - did not qualify
1983 Helsinki World Championships - did not qualify

source article: https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1871951.html
translated by Brett Larner
photo by Ekiden Mania, © 2017 Kazuyuki Sugimatsu, all rights reserved

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