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Yutaka Giken Women's Team to Disband After Missing National Championships Qualification

The Yutaka Giken corporation based in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka announced on Oct. 26 that its women's ekiden team will be disbanded at the end of fiscal year on Mar. 31, 2018, drawing to a close a team history spanning a quarter century since its founding as Shizuoka's first corporate women's ekiden team in 1992. The team was founded with the aim of fostering a sense of camaraderie and solidarity among the company's employees, for promoting the company name, and for improving the relationship with the surrounding committee.

Based in Hamamatsu since the team's founding, the "Blue Wind" women qualified for the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships 18 times and regularly hosted running workshops with local elementary school children, becoming a public symbol of the company. However, during an Oct. 26 press conference to announce the company's mid-year financial statement, CEO Katsuhiro Kurokawa cited the recent diversification of the company's public relations activities in announcing the team's discontinuation, saying, "Our ekiden team has fulfilled its original purpose."

The Blue Wind's best performance at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden came in 2005 with a 16th-place finish. This year due to various circumstances within the team it was a DNS at last weekend's National Championships qualifier in Fukuoka. The company has pledged to offer its maximum support to the team's six athletes and two staff members in making their individual plans for the future, whether continuing on as a Yutaka Giken employee or transferring to another team.

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translated and edited by Brett Larner


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