Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'Post Race Interview: Team Japan (3rd Women's team 23rd IAU 100km World Cup)'


Shibui Considering San Francisco Marathon


translated and edited by Brett Larner

World Championships women's marathon team leader Yoko Shibui (30, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), returned to Japan on June 28 after a month of high-altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona. In April Shibui injured her left thigh, leading to a month of medical treatment. To fill this gap in her preparations she threw herself into rigorous training in Flagstaff. "It was quite a severe remedy," smiled her coach, Takao Watanabe. Located at 2100 m, Flagstaff is 200 m higher than Shibui's usual training venue in Kunming, China. "It was completely different [from Kunming]," Shibui told reporters. "Honestly, it was really tough. Training turned into 'crying practice' every day. It was the first time I've ever cried like that."

With such tough practice under her belt Shibui's motivation is riding high. On July 5th she will race in the Sapporo International Half Marathon, then on July 14th she will return to Arizona for her main training for August's World Championships marathon. As part of her preparations Shibui is currently planning to run the July 26 San Francisco Marathon.

Translator's note: If Shibui runs San Francisco it will no doubt be as a training run. Nevertheless, the current course record of 2:43:41 and possibly the all-time race record of 2:35:33 should be within her reach.

'Olympic Marathon Runner Nagata Dies at 53'


As Nanae Sasaki, Nagata was Japan's first great world-class marathoner woman. A little more bio info can be found here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

'Post Race Interview: Team Japan winner Men's IAU 100km World Cup'


'10,000m Dominated by Police Squad – Kenyan Champs, Day 3'


Eriguchi and Ueno Prove Themselves - Japanese Nationals Day Four

by Brett Larner

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s surprising heats for the men’s 100 m, the semi-finals provided most of the action on the fourth and last day of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships. The finals, on the other hand, were a letdown for fans and athletes alike. The defending champs were recrowned in both the men’s and women’s 400 m, an unexpected name stole the men’s 1500 m, and most of the big names fizzled in the final event of the games, the men’s 10000 m.

After yesterday’s scintillating men’s 100 m heats, where Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) set a PB of 10.09 and little-known Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) came up with an unforeseen 10.14 PB, hopes were high for the semis. With the cooperation of the tailwind which had remained constant at around 1.8 m/sec through the championships Eriguchi came up with an even bigger run, clocking 10.07 to take the first semi and move ahead of Tsukahara on the favorite list even as the Olympian stood by watching. Three more men in the first semi broke the World Championships B-standard for the first time. Tsukahara managed another 10.09 in the second semi, but this time with a 2.4 m/sec tailwind.

In the women’s 100 m semi-finals, newly-minted national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) comfortably won the second semi after watching the woman who has pushed her all season long, Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) take the first semi in a similar time. Both men’s and women’s 100 m finals looked set for exciting showdowns between the favorites and worthy challengers. Sprinting has risen in popularity in Japan over the last year thanks in large part to Tsukahara and Fukushima, and there was a sense of excitement in the stadium after the semis, a feeling that this day was going to be a turning point in the sport’s domestic history.

Incredibly, both Fukushima and then Tsukahara pulled out of the finals. To be fair, Fukushima had already won the 200 m national title and Tsukahara had appeared to be favoring his left leg after the heats the day before and both athletes were already sure to be chosen for the Berlin World Championships team, but the letdown in the crowd, many of whom had come to the stadium to watch the two defending champions and had been eagerly awaiting the duels, was audible. Takahashi ran a credible 11.34 to win the women’s 100 m, just 0.02 off her best, and Eriguchi confirmed his legitimacy with another 10.14, but the races lacked the electricity which had been building. What might have been.

Takahashi in particular in her post-race interview seemed disappointed and almost ashamed to be called national champion without having had to fight for it. “I wanted to run a PB today, but I guess now I’ll focus on peaking for Berlin,” she said. After running an A-standard 10.21 PB in the heats, Eriguchi’s Waseda teammate Shintaro Kimura pulled out 10.22 in both the semis and final for 2nd, taking the third spot on the national team.

The men’s 1500 m saw an unexpected face steal the win from national record holder and six-time defending national champion Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN). Running against Kobayashi and two other athletes holding the B-standard, this year’s 5000 m national champion, Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B), started off the 1500 m in last place. Ueno has developed a bit of a reputation as an idiot for always going out too hard. Rounding the first corner he went wide, passing the entire field and audaciously opening a considerable gap. Two runners initially tried to follow but soon sat back and joined the chase pack, which for the most part seemed not to take Ueno's breakaway seriously. Ueno clocked 59.4 for the first and second laps, not especially quick but an indication either of how little respect the field of 1500 m specialists gave him or how lazy they were. Kobayashi in particular waited in the pack, clearly planning to kick his way to the win with the least effort necessary.

At the bell Kobayashi took off and Ueno began to lose ground. He looked to be in range, but on the final curve he had a kick of his own and Kobayashi could only watch as the title slipped away. Adding insult to injury, Ueno began to thump his chest and wave down the home stretch, even looking back just before crossing the line. He clocked 3:42.51, exactly tying his PB, with Kobayashi 2nd in 3:44.34. Without a World Championships qualifying time to his name Ueno will not be doubling in Berlin, but he was gleefully happy to add a second national title to his name just days after his first, proving he is among Japan's best after a long period of setbacks. Doing it by humiliating a pack of more experienced athletes who were content to run conservatively made Ueno's run the highlight of this year's Nationals. Maybe his month racing in California this spring taught Ueno a few things about being aggressive and taking chances. Or maybe he is just a lucky fool who got away with it for once. Embarrassed by this interloper from the longer distances, Kobayashi may or may not be named to the Berlin team and will have to sweat it out or try again, and harder, next month.

The men’s 10000 m, on the other hand, should have been the highlight of the championships. Three A-standard holders, eleven B-standards, and a handful of people under 28:20, but it was not to be. Ethiopian steeplechase record holder Yakob Jarso (Team Honda) needed to run around a 30-second PB, i.e. around 27-flat, to make the Ethiopian national team, and accompanied by Kenyan Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) he went out harder than any of the Japanese runners wanted. But not hard enough. His opening kilometer was only 2:45, right on pace to match his PB of 27:32.52. That looked workable for top Japanese man Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), who, with a recent PB of 27:38.25, came up to join the pair of Africans. Unfortunately for Jarso’s aspirations, Sato soon faded and Njeru decided it was his day to pacemake the pack rather than run a 45-second PB. Jarso was left on his own as Njeru led a contingent of Japanese B-standard holders on a gradually-slowing pace.

With the exception of A-standard man Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta), who is on the mend from injuries and never left the safety of the second pack, and B-standard holder Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku), almost every World Championships-elligible runner took a turn trying to pick up the berth guaranteed to the top Japanese finisher. The pack eventually boiled down to Njeru, his teammate Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) and Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei), the identical trio which worked together to break 28 earlier this month at the Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa meet.

Iwai emerged the strongest, breaking away and trying to hunt down the fading Jarso. He closed within five seconds of the Ethiopian, but Jarso summoned up a strong final mile and pulled away again for the win in 28:04.20. Njeru came back, outkicking Iwai in the home stretch for 2nd in 28:17.31. Iwai took 3rd in 28:19.25, disappointed at scoring a national title in such a slow time but happy to pick up a ticket to Berlin. World Championships marathoner Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), running the race as a tune-up for next week’s Sendai International Half Marathon, was 12th in 29:08.30.

Also punching their tickets for Berlin, four-time men’s 400 m national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) and women’s 400 m national record holder and two-time national champion Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) scored victories. Kanemaru’s time of 45.45 was the fastest of his five national wins. 2nd place man Hideyuki Hirose (Keio Univ.) ran 45.84 to break the World Championships B-standard for the first time. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) picked up her second 800 m title but failed to crack the World Championships B-standard.

Defending champions swept all the fourth day field events, with the majority coming up short of setting World Championships-qualifying marks. The exception came in the women's long jump, where defending champion Sachiko Masumi (Team Kyudenko) jumped a PB of 6.65 to clear the B-standard for the first time. Masumi beat national record holder and four-time champion Kumiko Imura (Sunnyside Up) last year but had to stay home from the Beijing Olympics as she lacked a qualifying mark. With her new PB this year Masumi will make her first national team with Imura on the bench as her reserve.

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships – Top Finishers
click event headers for complete results
Men’s 10000 m
(1.) Yakob Jarso (Team Honda) – 28:04.20
(2.) Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) – 28:17.31
3. Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei) – 28:19.25
4. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) – 28:30.39
5. Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 28:40.30
6. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:41.09
7. Takeshi Hamano (Team Toyota) - 28:53.74
8. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:57.40
9. Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 28:57.51
10. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:58.46
12. Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 29:08.30
14. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 29:14.99
17. Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujits) - 29:17.36

Men’s 1500 m
1. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) – 3:42.51 - PB
2. Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) – 3:44.34
3. Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:45.00
4. Keisuke Tanaka (Josai Univ.) - 3:46.42
5. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:46.45
6. Daisuke Tamura (SDF Sports Academy) - 3:47.29
7. Takahiko Onishi (Team NTN) - 3:48.04
8. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 3:49.20
9. Naoto Morimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 3:50.52
10. Kenji Shimizu (Team Yakult) - 3:51.32

Women’s 800 m - click here for video
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) – 2:04.76
2. Ruriko Kubo (Team Deodeo) - 2:04.88
3. Akari Kishikawa (NPO STC) - 2:05.42
4. Reina Sasaki (Rikusokai TC) - 2:07.07
5. Tomomi Kimura (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 2:08.43
6. Yukari Nomura (Chuo Univ.) - 2:08.61
7. Mai Nishiwaki (Okayama Sozan H.S.) - 2:11.30
8. Miki Nishimura (SDF Sports Academy) - 2:12.32

Men’s 400 m
1. Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) – 45.45
2. Hideyuki Hirose (Keio Univ.) – 45.84
3. Yusuke Ishitsuka (Tsukuba Univ.) - 46.02
4. Yoshihiro Horigome (Team Fujitsu) - 46.02
5. Jun Kaito (Chuo Univ.) - 46.67
6. Akihiro Urano (Waseda Univ.) - 46.84
7. Shinichi Kitayama (Chukyo Univ.) - 47.03
8. Chihiro Hakamata (Tokai Univ.) - 47.37

Women’s 400 m - click here for video
1. Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) – 52.96
2. Sayaka Aoki (Team Natureal) - 53.87
3. Mayu Sato (Team Natureal) - 54.05
4. Miho Shingu (Higashi Osaka Keiai H.S.) - 54.07
5. Mayu Horie (Team M&K) - 54.44
6. Chisato Tanaka (Fukuoka Univ.) - 54.49
7. Natsumi Shihi (Kawawa H.S.) - 55.17
8. Chiaki Ueda (Tsuru Univ.) - 56.20

Men’s 100 m
1. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) – 10.14
2. Shintaro Kimura (Waseda Univ.) – 10.22
3. Shogo Arao (Fukuoka Univ.) – 10.23
4. Daiki Godo (Keio Univ.) – 10.28 - PB
5. Genki Kawai (Chuo Univ.) - 10.39 - PB
6. Shun Nagasawa (Team Taisay) - 10.40
7. Shigeyuki Kojima (Team Asics) - 10.44
Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) - DNS

Women’s 100 m
1. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) – 11.34
2. Mayumi Watanabe (Team Natureal) - 11.50
3. Maki Wada (Team Mizuno) - 11.76
4. Shiori Ishikawa (Chuo Univ.) - 11.77
5. Kaori Kawarazaki (Nittai Univ.) - 11.79
6. Yumeka Sano (Tsuru AC) - 11.79
7. Saori Suda (Team M&K) - 11.87
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - DNS

Men’s High Jump
1. Naoyuki Daigo (Team Fujitsu) – 2.24
2. Hikaru Tsuchiya (Team Monterosa) - 2.20
3. Hiromi Takahari (Tokai Univ.) - 2.20

Women’s Long Jump
1. Sachiko Masumi (Team Kyudenko) - 6.65 - PB
2. Kumiko Imura (Sunnyside Up) - 6.46
3. Saeko Okayama (STC) - 6.39

Women’s Hammer Throw
1. Yuka Murofushi (Team Mizuno) - 63.46
2. Masumi Ase (Team Maruzen Kogyo) - 60.28
3. Mika Takekawa (Team Suzuki) - 57.82

Men’s Javelin
1. Yukifumi Murakami (Team Suzuki) - 78.25
2. Yasuo Ikeda (Team BS) - 75.15
3. Yutaro Tanemoto (STC) - 75.07

Women’s Heptathlon
1. Yuki Nakata (Team Nihon Hoiku Service) - 5802
2. Minori Ito (Team Kojima Press) - 5350 - PB
3. Chinami Yasuda (Team Daiwa Gas) - 5241

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nakamura Gets Lucky and Tsukahara Shows What's to Come - Japanese Nationals Day Three (updated)

by Brett Larner

Kenyan Felista Wanjugu (Team Aruze) sprinted away from three of the cream of Japan's current crop of long distance women to win the women's 5000 m on the third day of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships, with Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) a close 2nd and picking up her first World Championships berth. The other big results of the day came in the men's 100 m, where Beijing Olympics 4x100 m relay bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) casually dropped a PB of 10.09 in the first heat. Even bigger news was the unheralded Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.), who ran a PB by 0.20 to win the fifth heat in a World Championships A-standard 10.14.

Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya), the only Japanese woman to finish the Beijing Olympics marathon, gained partial redemption for a poor showing in Thursday's 10000 m by being in the lucky position of being able to outkick two superior but injured runners, national record holder and five-time national champion Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and defending national champion Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki). She led right from the gun, never allowing another Japanese runner to get in front of her. Repeatedly answering brief challenges from Kenyans Felista Wanjugu (Team Aruze) and Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi), Nakamura was the leader at every 1000 m split and stayed close to the World Championships B-standard 15:25 pace.

In the early stages 5000 m national record holder Fukushi, 10000 m champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and 2003 national champion over 5000 m Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) were the only Japanese runners to accompany Nakamura in the lead pack, with defending champion Kobayashi, hoping to finish her first race since an injury in April, sitting back in the middle of the pack. Akaba, who will run the marathon at the World Championships, soon dropped off the lead pack as Kobayashi quietly slipped her way forward. Ozaki and Obare followed Akaba in losing touch with the leaders, and with one lap to go Nakamura, Wanjugu, Fukushi and Kobayashi were in a tight pack.

Rounding the last corner Wanjugu moved a step ahead with Nakamura right behind and Fukushi on the outside. Still showing signs of her lack of complete fitness Kobayashi couldn't keep up with the trio and settled for 4th, but as the only one among the top three Japanese women to hold the World Championships A-standard her performance was more than likely enough to assure her spot on the Berlin team.

For Fukushi and Nakamura it was a different story. Both held only the B-standard, meaning that whichever of the two came out on top would make the national team while the other would be consigned to alternate status. As in the 10000 m, Fukushi's problems with plantar fasciitis this spring took their toll and she was unable to handle either Wanjugu or Nakamura's last sprints. Wanjugu took the win dead on the B-standard in 15:25.00, Nakamura was 2nd in 15:25.31 and Fukushi 3rd in 15:25.49.

Nakamura picked up her first national title and a place on the Berlin World Championships team for her efforts, with Kobayashi all but certainly joining her. With only the B-standard currently to her name Fukushi is left in the almost unthinkable position of alternate to Nakamura. If the national record holder and five-time national champion is to make the team she will now have to break the A-standard of 15:10.00 sometime in July.

Olympic bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) kicked off the men's 100 m with a run that brought the crowd to its feet. Taking advantage of the steady 1.8 m/sec tailwind, Tsukahara ran a PB of 10.09 in the first heat looking relaxed and effortless. It was the second-fastest time ever run at Nationals and made Tsukahara only the fourth Japanese man to break 10.10. Although he appeared to be slightly favoring his left leg afterwards, Tsukahara seemed to have plenty more room to improve in the semi and final, especially if conditions stay the same.

After three more uneventful heats, the fifth heat brought an even bigger surprise. Fifth-ranked Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) had the run of a lifetime, coming into the heat with a PB of 10.34 and leaving with a World Championships A-standard time of 10.14. Before the heats only Tsukahara and his Beijing bronze medal-winning teammate Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) held World Championships-elligible marks, with Tsukuba University ace Mitsuhiro Abiko just off the B-standard in 10.30. After Friday's 200 m both Takahira and Abiko scratched from the 100 m, leaving Tsukahara as Japan's lone candidate for the World Championships team. Eriguchi's run means he will now have some company.

In other track action, two-time national champion Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) took her third 400 mH title, easily outrunning newly-pro university ace Sayaka Aoki (Team Natureal) 56.70 to 57.56. Both women will make the Berlin team. In the absence of national record holder Dai Tamesue (Team Mizuno), 2006 national champion Kenji Narisako (Team Mizuno) returned to the top of the men's 400 mH in 49.53, and earned a World Championships spot. 2nd and 3rd place finishers Kazuaki Yoshida (Juntendo Univ.) and Naohiro Kawakita (Team Ishimaru Noodles) cracked the World Championships B-standard, meaning Yoshida will probably join Narisako with Kawakita lined up as alternate. Tasuku Tanonaka (Team Fujitsu) rounded out the track events by unseating four-time men's 110 mH national champion Masato Naito (Team Mizuno), winning in 13.57 to take his first national title and World Championships place. Naito was a disappointing 3rd.

On the field, national record holders Daichi Sawano (Chiba T&F Assoc.) and Koji Murofushi (Team Mizuno) put in another day at the office, winning the men's pole vault and hammer throw and duly securing their Berlin spots. Ryutaro Yamada (Hosei Univ.) caused some excitement in the men's shot put when he came close to the national record of 18.56, marking 18.47 for the win. Yamada, women's shot put champion Yukiko Shirai (Shiga T&F Assoc.) and men's triple jump winner Takanori Sugibayashi (Team Mizuno) all came up short of the World Championships B-standards and will have to try again next month if they are to make the national team.

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Top Finishers
click event header for complete results
Women's 5000 m
(1.) Felista Wanjugu (Team Aruze) - 15:25.00
2. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 15:25.31
3. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 15:25.49
4. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:26.84
(5.) Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) - 15:28.22
6. Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki) - 15:29.38
7. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 15:31.80
8. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 15:35.05
9. Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 15:36.30
10. Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 15:45.87
13. Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:56.04
14. Hitomi Niiya (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 16:02.52
(17.) Ann Karindi (Team Suzuki) - 16:09.02

Men's 400 mH - click here for video
1. Kenji Narisako (Team Mizuno) - 49.53
2. Kazuaki Yoshida (Juntendo Univ.) - 49.61
3. Naohiro Kawakita (Team Ishimaru Noodles) - 49.74
4. Mashiro Yoshikata (Kitakyushu RC) - 49.81
5. Yuta Imazeki (Juntendo Univ.) - 50.32
6. Kenta Takeda (Japan T&F Assoc.) - 51.33
7. Tomoharu Kino (Fukuoka Univ.) - 51.82

Women's 400 mH - click here for video
1. Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 56.70
2. Sayaka Aoki (Team Natureal) - 57.56
3. Misebi Tago (Chuo Univ.) - 58.03
4. Kana Tsuru (Waseda Univ.) - 58.69
5. Tomomi Yoneda (Chuo Univ.) - 58.72
6. Miki Sawada (Fukuoka Univ.) - 58.83
7. Konomi Akashi (Rikkyo Univ.) - 59.83
8. Makiko Yoshida (Team Natureal) - 59.39

Men's 110 mH - click here for video
1. Tasuku Tanonaka (Team Fujitsu) - 13.57
2. Takayuki Shoto (Takuyo Club) - 13.77
3. Masato Naito (Team Mizuno) - 13.81
4. Yuji Ohashi (Team Mizuno) - 13.81
5. Kazuaki Yoshinaga (JUVY TC) - 13.86
6. Masayuki Ida (Waseda Univ.) - 13.86
7. Yume Moses (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 13.89
8. Yutaro Furukawa (Team Kojima Press) - 13.96

Men's 100 m Heat 1
1. Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) - 10.09 - PB
2. Yusuke Nii (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 10.34
3. Yusuke Kotani (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 10.36
4. Kota Sakuma (Abukuma AC) - 10.36

Men's 100 m Heat 5
1. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.14 - PB
2. Shigeyuki Kojima (Team Asics) - 10.31
3. Sota Kawatsura (Chuo Univ.) - 10.44
4. Yuya Uchiumi (Toyo Univ.) - 10.44
5. Kodai Kato (Chukyo Univ.) - 10.46

Women's Shot Put
1. Yukiko Shirai (Shiga T&F Assoc.) - 15.44
2. Yoko Toyonaga Seiko Gakuen Univ.) - 14.52
3. Reina Hiruta (Tsukuba Univ.) - 14.40

Men's Triple Jump
1. Takanori Sugibayashi (Team Mizuno) - 16.45
2. Yohei Kajikawa (Team M&K) - 16.36
3. Kazuyoshi Ishikawa (Team Ishikawa) - 16.19

Men's Pole Vault
1. Daichi Sawano (Chiba T&F Assoc.) - 5.70
2. Takafumi Suzuki (Tokai Univ.) - 5.50
3. Hiroki Ogita (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 5.40

Men's Shot Put
1. Ryutaro Yamada (Hosei Univ.) - 18.47
2. Yohei Murakawa (Team Suzuki Ibaraki) - 18.11
3. Satoshi Hatase (Team Gunma Alsok) - 17.80

Men's Hammer Throw
1. Koji Murofushi (Team Mizuno) - 73.26
2. Hiroaki Doi (Chiba T&F Assoc.) - 69.90
3. Hiroshi Noguchi (Team Gunma Alsok) - 67.84

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Masai, Chepkurui First to Make World Championships Mark'


Japan-based Philes Ongori of Team Hokuren was 3rd in this race and may pick up a spot on Kenya's World Championships team as a result.

'Mara Yamauchi Forced to Withdraw From World Championships'


Friday, June 26, 2009

Fukushima Sets 200 m National Record, Terada and Hayakari Score Big on Day Two of Japanese Nationals (updated)

by Brett Larner

The second day of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships was dominated by women, with a national record in the 200 m, a junior national record in the 100 m hurdles, and a National Championships meet record in the 3000 m steeplechase. Several athletes, both male and female, unexpectedly qualified for the Berlin World Championships team and a number of defending champions repeated, but the biggest news of the hot and sunny day was Chisato Fukushima's national record in the women's 200 m.

Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC), Japan's first female track Olympian in 56 years after making the 100 m in Beijing, set her third national record of the season, smashing her own 200 m national record of 23.14 with a World Championships A-standard 23.00 on the second day of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships.

Conditions at Hiroshima's Big Arch Stadium were hot and sunny, but a legal tailwind of 1.7 m/sec helped push Fukushima to her mark as she claimed her first 200 m national title. Finishing in the runner-up position yet again was Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.), whose mark of 23.19 was under the World Championships B-standard and just off her PB of 23.15 set in the same race in which Fukushima had set her previous national record. The pair will meet again in Sunday's 100 m final before they travel together to the Berlin World Championships in August.

Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC scored big in the women's 100 m hurdles as well, with defending champion Asuka Terada setting a National Championships meet record and junior national record of 13.05 to take her second national title. Terada's mark also broke the World Championships B-standard, meaning that she will join her teammate Fukushima in Berlin. In a tearful post-race interview Terada said she will go for Japan's first sub-13 mark when she runs at the World Championships.

Two-time champion Miho Ishino (Team Hasegawa) was 2nd in a season best 13.15. Five of the eight runners in the final set PB marks thanks in part to the day's generous tailwind.

Women's 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) took her fourth straight national title, having swept the event since its introduction. Already in possession of a World Championships A-standard from setting the national record of 9:33.93 last summer, Hayakari nevertheless took the race out fast. At halfway she looked to be on track to break the A-standard for the first time this season, but she instead settled for clearing the B-standard with a winning time of 9:45.05, a new National Championships meet record. 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Aruze) did not start in the steeplechase after her surprise appearance on the entry list.

Beijing Olympics men's 4x100 m relay bronze medalist and three-time 200 m national champion Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) took another 200 m national title, setting his second PB of the season in 20.22 and officially joining the World Championships team. Takahira was weak on the curve, coming into the straight even with Tsukuba University's Hitoshi Saito and Mitsuhiro Abiko but pulling away over the second half.

2nd and 3rd place finishers Saito and Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Seren) also cleared the World Championships A-standard, meaning Japan will be sending a full squad to the 200 m. Tsukuba University ace Abiko, the favorite to make the World Championships team after Takahira, faltered in the final steps and finished 4th. Takahira is next scheduled to run Sunday's 100 m final.

In other track events, Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) ran unchallenged in the women's 1500 m to pick up her fourth-straight national championship win in 4:15.89. National record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki), also on the entry list for the 5000 m and on the mend from a recent injury, did not start. Masato Yokota (Keio Univ.) won a third men's 800 m national title, but his time of 1:48.53 was well short of the World Championships B-standard. Last year's winner Takeshi Kuchino (Team Fujitsu) was 3rd in 1:49.94.

In the field events, third-ranked Daisuke Ikeda (Team WUA) scored a PB of 7753 in the men's decathlon to take his first national title while five-time defending champion Hiromasa Tanaka (Team Monterosa) had an off day and finished 2nd. Ikeda's score also just broke the World Championships B-standard, meaning he is automatically selected for the national team. Joining him on the national team is men's long jump champion Daisuke Arakawa (Osaka T&F Assoc.), who won with a mark of 8.0. In the women's discus throw, defending champion Yuka Murofushi (Team Mizuno) won for the tenth time, while 3rd place finisher Miya Itoman (Naha Nishi H.S.) set a national high school record of 49.48.

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Top Finishers
click event header for complete results
Women's 3000 mSC
1. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:45.05 - MR
2. Yoshika Tatsumi (Team Deodeo) - 9:58.64
3. Chisa Nishio (Team Starts) - 10:13.96
4. Tomoko Izumi (Team Hokuren) - 10:24.94 - PB
5. Miho Notagashira (Team Wacoal) - 10:26.99

Women's 1500 m - click here for video
1. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 4:15.89
2. Nami Tani (Team Aruze) - 4:20.66
3. Maki Arai (Team Uniqlo) - 4:21.39
4. Akane Sebushita (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 4:21.62
5. Misako Suguro (Team Shiseido) - 4:23.27

Men's 800 m - click here for video
1. Masato Yokota (Keio Univ.) - 1:48.53
2. Hisato Suzuki (SDF Sports Academy) - 1:49.92
3. Takeshi Kuchino (Team Fujitsu) - 1:49.94
4. Takanori Matsumoto (SDF Sports Academy) - 1:50.42
5. Masaharu Nakano (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:50.93
6. Ryosuke Akuji (Meiji Univ.) - 1:51.63
7. Yasunori Koshizuka (New Mode AC) - 1:52.48
8. Yoshihiro Shimodaira (Team Fujitsu) - 1:52.48

Women's 200 m
1. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 23.00 - NR
2. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 23.19
3. Kaoru Matsuda (Team Natureal) - 24.03
4. Maki Wada (Team Mizuno) - 24.08
5. Shiori Ishikawa (Chuo Univ.) - 24.09 - PB
6. Yuka Nagakura (Tsuru Univ.) - 24.21
7. Saori Imai (Chukyo Univ.) - 24.24
8. Kana Ichikawa (Chukyo Univ.) - 24.26

Men's 200 m
1. Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) - 20.22 - PB
2. Hitoshi Saito Tsukuba Univ.) - 20.42 - PB
3. Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Seren) - 20.55
4. Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba Univ.) - 20.65
5. Sota Kawatsura (Chuo Univ.) - 20.74 - PB
6. Yuichi Kobayashi (Hosei Univ.) - 20.79 - PB
7. Mitsuru Hasegawa (Niigata Albirex AC) - 21.09
8. Hirokazu Taoka (Team STC) - 23.01

Women's 100 mH
1. Asuka Terada (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 13.05 - MR, Jr. NR
2. Mami Ishino (Team Hasegawa) - 13.15
3. Rena Joshita (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13.26 - PB
4. Fumiko Kumagai (Team M&K) - 13.37 - PB
5. Hitomi Shimura (Waseda Univ.) - 13.59 - PB
6. Sayuri Kawakami (Ibaraki AC) - 13.76
7. Risa Shiba (SMS AC) - 13.76
8. Riho Nakamura (Hachiman Jugyo H.S.) - 13.85 - PB

Men's Long Jump
1. Daisuke Arakawa (Osaka T&F Assoc.) - 8.00
2. Yohei Sugai (Team Mizuno) - 8.00 - PB
3. Rikiya Saruyama (Team Monterosa) - 7.91 - PB

Women's Discus Throw
1. Yuka Murofushi (Team Mizuno) - 54.80
2. Tsuruyo Suzuki (Kokushikan Univ.) - 49.89
3. Miya Itoman (Naha Nishi H.S.) - 49.48 - H.S. NR

Men's Decathlon - click here for video
1. Daisuke Ikeda (Team WUA) - 7753 - PB
2. Hiromasa Tanaka (Team Monterosa) - 7575
3. Yuki Someya (Juntendo Univ.) - 7301 - PB
4. Makoto Kaneko (Team Nihon Wellness) - 7123 - PB
5. Yotaro Higashinaka (Chukyo Univ.) - 7106 - PB

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Akaba, Karoki, Iwamizu and Kondo Take Day One of Japanese Nationals (updated)

by Brett Larner

Berlin World Championships marathoner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) scored her first national track title on June 25, winning the women's 10000 m in 31:57.44 on the first day of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships. With Japan-based foreigners allowed to run in Nationals for the first time in eight years, Kenyan high school sensation Bitan Karoki (Sera H.S.) wiped the track with the field of top professional and university runners to win the men's 5000 m in 13:35.39, while national record holder and seven-time national champion Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) added another notch to his belt with an 8:36.17 win in the men's 3000 m steeplechase. Runners-up Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) and Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) also scored headlines by gaining places on the World Championships team in the women's 10000 m and men's 5000 m, while aces Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) fell flat. In field events, the lone noteworthy result came in the women's pole vault. Takayo Kondo (Team Hasegawa) cleared 4.35 m to break the World Championships B-standard and set a new meet record.

Click here for the full-length women's 10000 m video.

Six A-standard and six B-standard women in the field of nineteen starters meant serious competition for the guaranteed World Championships team spot at the top of the women's 10000 m. With the recent injury troubles of six-time national champion Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), Berlin World Championships marathoner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) came into the race as the favorite. She didn't disappoint.

Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) and Akaba's marathon teammate Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) alternated the lead through the first 4000 m, but at that point Akaba asserted herself and the pack immediately spread out. Akaba led for the next 3000 m, pushing the pace and breaking the lead pack into a group of six. Tiny Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) came up from further back in the pack to join the rear of the leader group.

Fukushi surged into the lead at 7000 m in a bid to make a long push to the finish. Although Fukushi quickly opened a gap, Akaba correctly assessed Fukushi's move as an indication of poor fitness and took her time reeling the leader back in. Veteran Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) and Sahaku tagged along, and by 8000 m Fukushi was now at the head of a pack of four. When Fukushi broke wide on the back straight to take water Sahaku made a surprise attack and went to the lead. Akaba stayed right on her shoulder, but Fukushi and Ozaki dropped permanently behind. From there to the finish it was a two-woman race, but there was little doubt of the outcome.

Akaba handily dropped Sahaku with 200 m to go, coming in alone to win her first national title in 31:57.44. In post-race comments Akaba said, "I ran this in the middle of marathon training for the World Championships and just wanted to see what I could do. I'm really, really happy with breaking 32. I think I'm ready for a marathon medal."

Sahaku held off Fukushi for 2nd in 32:01.80, a PB by 36 seconds and clearing the World Championships B-standard. Although she missed the A-standard mark, the fact that she beat five of the six A-standard women and all six of the B-standard women in the field means Sahaku will almost definitely pick up one of the three spots on the women's 10000 m team. A-standard women Fukushi in 3rd and Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki) in 5th will most likely join her on the team, with B-standard woman Ozaki, in 4th, handling alternate status.

Further back in the field, Nakamura had a disappointing run as she faded to 6th. World Championships marathoners Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) and Fujinaga likewise had weak showings, 8th and 14th respectively. The lone university runner in the field, Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) had a good day, only 10th place but breaking 33 minutes and beating professional women holding the A and B-standard. Kinukawa dropped out after 11 laps, lying on the infield until carried away on a stretcher.

Click here for the full-length men's 5000 m video.

The men's 5000 m evolved as pretty much as expected, with Kenyan high school student Bitan Karoki (Sera H.S.) leading the way and S&B teammates Yuichiro Ueno and Kensuke Takezawa trading 2nd with Ethiopian Nahon Mesfin (Team Kanebo). The two Africans were the first foreign runners allowed to compete in the Championships in eight years, but their results were not included in the official results.

Karoki took the race out with a 2:39 first kilometer, Ueno tailing close behind before surrendering 2nd to Mesfin and then Takezawa. Ueno, the only man in the field holding a World Championships qualifying mark, only needed to beat Takezawa to take his spot on his first national team, whereas the talented Takezawa needed to break the B-standard mark of 13:29.00.

Takezawa was aggressive, closing the gap to Karoki even as Karoki extended his lead over the main body of the chase pack. Takezawa looked as though he had made a comeback from his most recent round of injuries, but approaching 3000 m he abruptly lost contact with the leader and in the course of a lap was overtaken by Ueno and then Mesfin. Ueno made up significant ground on Karoki over the last kilometer, while Takezawa and Mesfin stayed together and were joined by Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin).

Karoki's lead shrank to less than 6 seconds, but he was never in danger of losing the race as he came home in 13:35.39. Ueno, 2nd overall was the 'official' winner in 13:41.04, taking his place on the Berlin team after missing out on the Beijing Olympics and 2007 World Championships with injuries. He was ecstatic in post-race interviews. Mesfin shook off his two Japanese rivals for an unofficial 3rd, while Takezawa showed just a shadow of his trademark last kick in dropping Kitamura for 3rd. Takezawa's time of 13:43.77 fell fall short of the B-standard, meaning he must try again next month if he is to make his third-straight national team.

In the men's 3000 m steeplechase, seven-time national champion and national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu), already in possession of a valid B-standard mark, only needed to win to finalize his spot on the World Championships team, while the rest of the field had to push a fast pace to have a chance of scoring a B-standard time. It didn't happen.

The relatively slow early pace kept the pack together until Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN), the man with the best chance of scoring the B-standard mark, took over in the 2nd kilometer to push the pace, but a sloppy jump twisted one of Umegae's knees and he soon dropped out of the top ten.

Iwamizu sat comfortably near the lead, not exerting himself until 600 m to go when he sped away to the win, claiming his eighth national steeplechase title and his World Championships spot in 8:36.17. "I wanted to break the B-standard today," Iwamizu said during his victory interview, "but when I saw that the pace was kind of slow overall I decided to just sit and wait. This was a good step toward peaking at the World Championships." Despite the slow pace, five of the runners in the top ten clocked PB times, showing that the steeplechase is a sport still in the development phase in Japan.

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Top Finishers
click event headers for complete results
Women's 10000 m
1. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 31:57.44
2. Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) - 32:01.80 - PB
3. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 32:04.06
4. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 32:04.26
5. Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki) - 32:13.04
6. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 32:21.07
7. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 32:24.69
8. Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 32:34.87
9. Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 32:54.93
10. Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 32:57.13
DNF - Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno)

Men's 5000 m
(1.) Bitan Karoki (Sera H.S.) - 13:35.39
2. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 13:41.04
(3.) Nahom Mesfin (Team Kanebo) - 13:43.07
4. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:43.77
5. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:45.25
6. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:53.43
7. Naoki Shibata (Team JAL Ground Service) - 13:57.23
8. Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:58.12
9. Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 13:59.55
10. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:59.68

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) - 8:36.17
2. Takayuki Matsuura (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:37.08 - PB
3. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Team Suzuki) - 8:37.48 - PB
4. Masatoshi Kikuchi (Team Fujitsu) - 8:41.14 - PB
5. Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:41.85
6. Tatsunori Shinoura (Team S&B) - 8:41.95
7. Yuki Munakata (Chuo Univ.) - 8:42.04 - PB
8. Takamori Yamashita (Chuo Univ.) - 8:45.54 - PB
9. Satoshi Kato (Team Toyota) - 8:46.49
10. Sho Okamura (Team Honda) - 8:48.71

Men's Discus Throw
1. Shiro Kobayashi (Team Niigata Nippo) - 57.18
2. Shigeo Hatakeyama (Team Zenrin) - 56.88
3. Masaru Miyauchi (Team Monterosa) - 53.07

Women's Triple Jump
1. Fumiyo Yoshida (Team Narita Airport) - 13.43
2. Sayuri Takeda (Hokkyo Univ.) - 13.16
3. Waka Maeda (Tsukuba Univ.) - 12.95

Women's High Jump
1. Miyuki Fukumoto (Osaka T&F Assoc.) - 1.85
2. Yuki Mimura (Kansai Univ.) - 1.82
3. Kiyoka Fujisawa (Kamagawa Michiru AC) - 1.75

Women's Pole Vault
1. Takayo Kondo (Team Hasegawa) - 4.35 - MR
2. Tomomi Abiko (Doshisha Univ.) - 4.20
3. Mami Nakano (Team Imabari) - 4.10

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Yuki Ebihara (Team Suzuki) - 55.16
2. Emika Yoshida (Team Daiwa Gas) - 54.31
3. Momoko Matsumoto (Minami Shimabara TAC) - 53.70

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Long Distance Preview

by Brett Larner

Japan's long distance track runners may not be in contention for championship medals, but next to the marathon it is where the country has the greatest depth. It's interesting and informative, particularly in the 10000 m, to compare the long distance event entry lists for the Japanese and American National Championships, which are happening simultaneously.

The long distance events begin at 5:40 p.m. on June 25 with the men's 5000 m. Only two Japanese men have currently cracked the World Championships B-standard and one of them, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) is running the World Championships marathon and will not compete in the 5000 m. National record holder and three-time 5000 m and 10000 m double champion Takayuki Matsumiya will sit the 5000 m out this year, meaning that Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) comes to this year's National Championships as the favorite both for the win and for a World Championships spot.

It won't be easy, though. All eyes will be on Ueno's new junior teammate, Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B). Takezawa ran an A-standard 13:19.00 two years ago and made the Beijing Olympics last summer in both 5000 m and 10000 m. Perpetually injured as a university runner, Takezawa's pro debut earlier this month was a modest 13:38.25 win. Takezawa needs not only to break the B-standard of 13:29.00 and Ueno's current national-leading 13:26.31 but also to take down Ueno himself in order to make his second-straight World Championships team.

This year a small number of foreign athletes are being allowed to compete in the Japanese nationals. Ethiopian Nahom Mesfin (Team Kanebo) will be sure to challenge the two favorites, while high school sensation Bitan Karoki (Sera H.S.) of Kenya, rumored to be joining the Ueno and Takezawa at S&B following his graduation next spring, will also be in the ring.

The women's 5000 m will be a much more open-ended affair. The top three women in the field, defending champion Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki), Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) were Japan's Beijing Olympics 5000 m team, but Kobayashi and Fukushi are in questionable condition following injuries and Akaba will run the marathon at the World Championships. This means the next set of three women, Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso), Hitomi Niiya (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) and Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya), all of whom hold the B-standard, have a chance of squeezing onto the team for Berlin. Akaba must be considered the favorite for the win but beyond her it's impossible to call.

Three Kenyans holding the B-standard are also in the field, namely Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi), Ann Karindi (Team Suzuki) and Felista Wanjugu (Team Aruze). Given their recent performances the trio will most likely be competing against the group containing Sugihara, Niiya and Nakamura.

In both the men's and women's 5000 m, a second pack of top university runners will make for interesting sub-races. Komazawa University's Takuya Fukatsu and Tsuyoshi Ugachi will face off against Josai University's Yuta Takahashi and Waseda University star Yuki Yagi in the men's race. All but Takahashi have run PBs this season and only 0.48 seconds separate the four's best marks of the year. The women's 5000 m features something of a dream matchup, with the ascendant Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) taking on reigning national champion Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan) and rivals Seika Nishikawa (Meijo Univ.) and Yui Sakai (Josai Univ.). Kojima is virtually undefeated in university competition, but this spring Nishihara broke Kojima's 5000 m PB by 3 seconds and Nishikawa and Sakai likewise came within 3 seconds of Kojima's best mark, so the competition will be fierce. Only Sakai is showing weakness, having been in extremely poor condition at last month's Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships.

At last year's Nationals the women's 10000 m was the highlight of the meet. This year the men's 10000 m may prove to be the same, with the best entry list in recent memory. Two Japanese men hold the World Championships A-standard and a full ten the B-standard, including three under 28 minutes. The main battle will be between rookie Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and three-time defending 5000 m and 10000 m double champion Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta). In April Sato ran 27:38.25 in California, 3 seconds off the national record and the third-best time ever by a Japanese runner. It was a shock performance as Sato was coming back from a year of injury and gave no indication he had been in such excellent condition. Matsumiya planned his own attempt on the national record this spring but apparent injury problems have kept him down. Sato appears to be at a low point again, so it is unclear who is in a better position. Adding to the complexity is the presence of Ethiopian Yakob Jarso (Team Honda).

Jarso, who set the Ethiopian national record in the 3000 mSC while finishing 4th in the Beijing Olympics, is running as a desperate man. Throughout the spring he beat rivals Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) and Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) at almost every turn, but in each case poor weather kept him from setting the kind of times he needs to make the Ethiopian national team. In meets where Jarso was not present Ndambiri became the first man to break 27 minutes in Japan and Ngatuny within a second of doing likewise, then at the start of the month Jarso blew his European debut at the FBK Games 5000 m. The Japanese Nationals 10000 m is virtually his last chance to make his claim to represent Ethiopia, and to do it he will need to approach a sub-27 minute mark. The extent to which Sato, Matsumiya or any of the six other men who could conceivably manage the feat attempt to go with him will set the tone of the race.

Of the ten Japanese men holding the B-standard, the best bets for the third spot on the Berlin team behind Sato and Matsumiya are Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) and Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei). Both have been on improvement curves the last year and set their first sub-28 marks this spring. Athens Olympians Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) and Terukazu Omori (Team Shikoku Denryoku) are also in the field but in questionable condition. Making his pro debut, Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo), the man who led the first 8000 m of last year's Nationals 10000 m, is another contender. A distant longshot but a potential legend should he pull off the impossible is university star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.), the only university runner in the field. World Championships marathoner Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) will also be in the race as part of his tune-up.

Defending national champion and national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) is sitting this year's National Championships women's 10000 m out as she prepares for the marathon, but last year's 2nd and 3rd place finishers Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) are on the list. Both are scheduled to double in the 5000 m, but considering Fukushi's injury problems and Akaba's marathon preparations it's doubtful whether either will actually run both distances. Third on the list is national junior record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), but she has been seriously injured this spring and looks very unlikely to perform adequately.

This means last year's 4th place finisher Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki) comes to the Championships this year with a good chance of making the World Championships team, as does Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya). Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) rounds out the list of domestic women with the A-standard but it would be a surprise to see her contend for the national team. Instead she will probably be racing against Kenyan Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) who likewise holds a slim A-standard best.

Six more women including World Championships marathon squad member Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) hold the B-standard but are unlikely to make the team with so many A-standard women in the field. Another marathon team member, Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) is also on the entry list. As in the men's 10000 m, a single outstanding university runner, Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.), is entered. In an excellent performance Nishihara will crack the World Championships B-standard. Coincidentally, both Nishihara and men's 10000 m university runner Kashiwabara were the overall winners at March's Kyoto Half Marathon.

A complete timetable and start lists for the long-distance events is available here. JRN will be on-hand to provide video coverage of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships. Click here to make a donation to help cover the costs of providing this coverage.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Middle Distance Preview

by Brett Larner

The middle distances are where Japan falls the shortest at the international level, highlighting its runners' lack of pure speed in the gap between the elements of technique in the sprints and endurance in the longer events. Nevertheless, at the national level there have been some strong performances in recent years' championships.

No athletes hold World Championships qualifying marks in either the men's or women's 800 m. Student runner Masato Yokota (Keio Univ.) is by far the fastest in the men's 800 m and should pick up the national title, but his best of 1:47.16 comes up short of the B-standard. In the women's 800 m too no one is likely to challenge Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko), but with a best time of 2:03.42 she will be staying home with her national title come August.

The women's 1500 m may feature a good battle between defending national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) and national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) as both are on the entry list, but the chances of the duel becoming reality look slim. Although Kobayashi has broken the B-standard, neither she nor Yoshikawa hold marks valid for Berlin. Kobayashi is also entered in the 5000 m, in which she is the defending champion. She has been injured since April and pulled out of her only race attempt of the season. To qualify for the national team Kobayashi will almost definitely have to put everything into one race and that will be the 5000 m. This will leave the 1500 m up to Yoshikawa, who will need a 1-second PB to qualify for Berlin.

The men's 1500 m, on the other hand, will be the most competitive middle distance event of the Championships as three men hold elligible B-standard marks. Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko), who memorably blacked out and fell just meters from the finish line while leading last year's National Championships 1500 m, has been on top all season and comes to this year's Nationals ranked ahead of national record holder and defending national champion Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN). Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) also has the B-standard and has been challenging Watanabe and Kobayashi throughout the spring. If he can stay on his feet this time Watanabe is the slight favorite, but any of the three could win and pick up the sole B-standard spot for Berlin. Also in contention are the perpetually unlucky Yasuhiro Tago (Chugoku Denryoku) and 5000 m runner Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B).

The men's and women's 3000 mSC will be relatively uncontested wins for national record holders Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) and Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC), the only athletes in either event to hold World Championships qualifying marks. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) has shown significant improvement this spring and could conceivably hit the B-standard at Nationals, but it is hard to see him outrunning Iwamizu. Not in contention for even a qualifying mark but notable simply for her inexplicable presence in the women's 3000 mSC is 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Aruze).

A complete timetable and entry lists for the middle distance events are available here. JRN will be on-hand to provide video coverage of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships. Click here to make a donation to help cover the costs of providing this coverage.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Sprints and Hurdles Preview

by Brett Larner

Japan wouldn't exactly make anyone's list of sprinting powerhouses, but in the last few years it has been on an upswing which led to its men's 4x100 m relay team winning the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics last summer, Japan's first Olympic track medal in 80 years and the first ever for its men. The success has led to major popularity for sprinting and momentum for its younger athletes.

One member of the 4x100 m team, defending national champion Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu), was the only athlete of non-African ancestry to make the Beijing semifinal in the men's 100 m. After Beijing he reportedly joined a Jamaican training group to work on his form and technique, and he has been full of confidence ever since. His stated goals for this year are to make the final in Berlin and to become the first Japanese runner to break 10.0. Although Tsukahara is qualified in the 200 m, he will only run the 100 m at Nationals and it's likely his PB of 10.13 will fall.

His Beijing relay teammate Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) is also on the entry list for the 100 m but will probably choose only to defend his national title in the men's 200 m. While nobody else is likely to challenge Tsukahara in the 100 m, Takahira will have to fight off A-standard holders Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba Univ.) and Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Seren) as well as B-standard holder Hitoshi Saito (Tsukuba Univ.) to retain his title and guarantee himself a place in Berlin.

In the men's 400 m, university champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) holds the A-standard and looks set to pick up the national title. Although three other runners in the field have PBs better than the B-standard time, none of them hold times valid for Berlin and will have to have an outstanding day to make the team.

Turning to the women's sprints, it's been an interesting year. Last year Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) made headlines by making the Beijing Olympics women's 100 m, the first Japanese woman in 56 years to do so. This year Fukushima has continued to improve, setting national records at both 100 m and 200 m. She hasn't been alone, though. A hair behind her in almost every race this spring was her high school era foe Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.). Takahashi never lost a race to Fukushima when the pair were competing in high school, but every time they faced each other during the spring season she came up 0.01 seconds short. She wants to put this trend to a stop. Both women are scheduled to double in 100 m and 200 m and both hold World Championships qualifying marks at each distance, so their rivalry may continue on to Berlin.

As in the men's 400 m, only one athlete in the women's 400 m is currently qualified for the World Championships. Defending national champion Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) holds the B-standard and with her nearest domestic competitor over a second behind will be heading to Berlin alone.

Looking at the hurdle events, only two men in the 110 mH hold valid World Championships B-standard marks, although four have broken the A-standard. The race will likely be a showdown between the qualified pair, Masato Naito (Team Mizuno) and Tasuku Tanonaka (Team Fujitsu).

With the absence of defending national champion and two-time World Championships medalist Dai Tamesue from the men's 400 mH, it's up to A-standard holder Kenji Narisako (Team Mizuno) to pick up the national title and assured Berlin spot. B-standard holders Masahira Yoshikata (Kitakyushu AC), Kazuaki Yoshida (Juntendo Univ.), Takayuki Koike (Team Mizuno) and Hiroaki Masuoka (Team STC) will be trying to pick up the second spot on the team behind Narisako.

Japanese women's hurdling lacks the number of contenders seen on the men's side. Only one woman in the 100 mH, Mami Ishino (Team Hasegawa) holds a PB under the World Championships B-standard, but although she is likely to win she needs to clock another valid time to make the national team.

Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) holds the A-standard in the women's 400 mH and is the favorite for the national title. Former university star Sayaka Aoki (Team Natureal), in her first season as a pro, holds the B-standard and presents the only realistic challenge to Kubokura.

A complete timetable and entry lists for sprints and hurdles is available here. JRN will be on-hand to provide video coverage of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships. Click here to make a donation to help cover the costs of providing this coverage.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships - Field Preview

by Brett Larner

The field events at the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships begin at 1:00 p.m. on June 25 with the women's high jump. With one exception Japan is not really known for its strength in field events, but nevertheless a fair number of athletes stand a chance of making the national team for this summer's World Championships in Berlin. To be guaranteed a place on the team athletes must hold a World Championships A or B standard mark and win their event at Nationals, and in the majority of the field events there is at least one contender.

Japan's strongest field athlete is of course its two-time Olympic medalist in the men's hammer throw, the half-Japanese Koji Murofushi (Team Mizuno). Murofushi will be making his 15th straight National Championships appearance and on the strength of his medal-winning performance at last summer's Beijing Olympics he is in all likelihood already assured a spot on the team. His nearest competitor Hiroaki Doi (Chiba T&F Assoc.) has at his best not thrown within 7 m of Murofushi's most recent championship performances, so even a perfunctory performance should be good for the win.

Men's pole vaulter Daichi Sawano (Chiba T&F Assoc.) is the only other field athlete currently holding an A-standard mark and is the favorite to win. Students Hiroki Ogita (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) and Takafumi Suzuki (Tokai Univ.) each hold the B-standard, and while it's unlikely either can win whichever of them comes out ahead may pick up a Berlin spot alongside Sawano.

Women's long jumper Kumiko Imura (Sunnyside Up), men's high jumper Naoyuki Daigo (Team Fujitsu) and Yukifumi Murakami (Team Suzuki) in the men's javelin throw all hold PBs better than the A-standard but currently have only valid B-standard marks. Although Maho Hanaoka (Narita Kokusai H.S.) has also broken the women's long jump A-standard before, her current best is nowhere near the B-standard and Imura is likely to be competing unchallenged. Daigo will also be competing unchallenged, but short of meeting the A-standard Murakami will face B-standard holder Ken Arai (Team Nanajunana Ginko) for the lone B-standard spot on the national team.

Yuki Ebihara (Team Suzuki) in the women's javelin throw, Daisuke Arakawa (Osaka T&F Assoc.) in the men's long jump and Kazuyoshi Ishikawa (Team Ishikawa Foods) in the men's triple jump are all the only athletes in their disciplines to hold valid B-standard marks and should both win and be named to the Berlin team with ease.

Eight athletes spread across eight different events have also at one time broken the B-standard in their events but do not hold current marks valid for the Berlin World Championships, among them women's hammer and discus thrower Yuka Murofushi (Team Mizuno), the younger sister of men's hammer throw champion Koji Murofushi. In most cases the members of this group are the only athletes in their event to have ever broken the B-standard mark, but regardless they will need to bring their best to have a chance of being picked for the team.

Three events do not feature any athletes who have ever met the World Championships. Men's discus thrower Shigeo Hatakeyama (Team Zenrin), women's triple jumper Fumiyo Yoshida (Team Narita Airport) and both Sotaro Yamada (Hosei Univ.) and Satoshi Hatase (Team Gunma Alsok) in the men's shot put stand good chances of winning but would need to significantly step up their game to break into the pool for Berlin.

A complete timetable and list of field event entrants in available here. JRN will be on-hand to provide video coverage of the 2009 Japanese National Track and Field Championships. Click here to make a donation to help cover the costs of providing this coverage.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Kenya: Overseas Triumphs Will Not Count - Masai'


According to this article, the men with the two fastest 10000 m times in the world so far this year, Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) and Martin Mathathi (Team Suzuki), as well as the top Japan-based Kenyan woman Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) will run the 10000 m at this weekend's Kenyan National Athletics Championships.

'Takahashi Would Swap Gold to Race Again'


Japanese-language variations on this article mentioned that Takahashi is thinking of running next year's Tokyo Marathon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wanjiru vs. Mogusu! - Complete Sapporo Half Elite Field Announced

by Brett Larner

The Sapporo International Half Marathon has released the complete field for this year's race on July 5. And it's going to be a great one. In one corner, half marathon world record holder and Beijing Olympics gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru (Team Sam). In the other, three-time winner and the only man to break one hour on the Sapporo course, Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem).

The two Kenyans came to Japan at the same time in high school, with Mogusu always a step behind in their high school careers but always gunning for Wanjiru and his records and unafraid to say so. After high school Mogusu chose university for the chance to run the Hakone Ekiden, while Wanjiru went pro and became....Samuel Wanjiru. This will be the pair's first meeting of their adult lives and despite a serious divot in Mogusu's training following a car accident early in the spring it's all but certain to go out very hard. Last year Masato Kihara (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) pushed Mogusu well under world record pace for the first 5 km. This year the man Mogusu has called his biggest rival and his biggest inspiration will be there doing the pushing. There may not be much doubt about who is going to win, but at least in Japan where both Wanjiru and Mogusu are household names it will be one to remember.

And it's not just the two of them. Japanese national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) will join in as part of his preparation for the Berlin World Championships marathon. Wanjiru's former teammate Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) will also be on the starting line. Mitsuya has shown the potential to become the first Japanese runner to break one hour and after skipping this weekend's National Track and Field Championships following a stellar spring which saw him win his debut 30 km he will no doubt be looking for a breakthrough run. Sato's Berlin teammate Arata Fujiwara (Team JR Higashi Nihon), Berlin marathon team alternate Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) and Mogusu's university-era rival Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) are on the start list as well. The top Japanese man in the race will pick up a spot on the national team for October's World Half Marathon championships.

In the women's race, defending winner Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) will run against her Berlin World Championships marathon teammates Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) along with alternate Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya). Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) holds the fastest time in the field and will be Kano's strongest rival. Several other top marathoners including Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) and Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) will also face off with the World Championships team members. The lone university runner in the elite field is the talented Natsuko Goto (Nihon Univ.) in her half marathon debut. As in the men's race, the top Japanese woman will go on to the World Half.

The 2009 Sapporo International Half Marathon will be broadcast from 1:30 p.m. to 2:55 p.m. on July 5. Overseas viewers should be able to watch with the Keyhole TV software available here.

2009 Sapporo International Half Marathon Elite Field - click for official listing
#1 - Samuel Wanjiru (Team Sam) - 58:33
#18 - Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem) - 59:48
#12 - Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:00:25
#31 - Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) - 1:01:34
#11 - Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:01:50
#15 - Shigeru Aburaya (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:01:54
#17 - Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - 1:01:54
#13 - Arata Fujiwara (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:17
#16 - Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:26
#32 - Yusuke Takabayashi (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:36
#14 - Yuzo Onishi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:03:12
#33 - Go Nakagawa (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:30

#89 - Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) - 1:08:31
#83 - Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 1:08:57
#84 - Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 1:09:19
#82 - Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:09:31
#91 - Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 1:09:33
#85 - Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 1:10:00
#87 - Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:10:13
#81 - Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 1:10:16
#88 - Ikuyo Yamashita (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:10:53
#86 - Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 1:12:05
#90 - Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) - 1:12:17
#95 - Natsuko Goto (Nihon Univ.) - debut

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Appeal From Japan Running News (updated)

Update 6/22: Thank you to everyone who donated within the first 24 hours. If you're a regular on JRN or associated with one of the for-profit websites which frequently link to the translations and articles I put up here please consider a donation to help me bring you video coverage of this week's National Track and Field Championships in Hiroshima. Thank you.


I started Japan Running News a little over a year and a half ago. Up until now I've kept it ad-free and having been doing all my translation, writing and video work from an interest in supporting Japanese distance running and without really looking to make money from it. I don't plan to change this, but at this point I wanted to ask your help.

Looking at NHK's broadcast schedule for next week's National Track and Field Championships today I was disappointed to see that they are only showing two segments of one and a half hours apiece. The only distance event which will be broadcast is the women's 5000 m despite the fact that it looks as though it will be the least interesting of the four main long-distance events. I'd like to go down to Hiroshima to cover the meet and in particular the distance events, and this is where I'd like to ask your help.

If you're a regular JRN reader, if you enjoyed my video coverage of last year's Olympic Trials edition of Nationals when they were held in Kawasaki, or if you are interested in seeing more of this year's meet than will otherwise be available, please consider making a donation through the PayPal link below. Any amount would be appreciated. I know it is short notice as the meet begins on Thurs., June 25, but hopefully it will be possible to cover the costs involved. If it doesn't look feasible then I will be happy to refund any donations. Thank you for your support.

Brett Larner

Meiji Wins Again in National University Ekiden Qualifier (updated)

by Brett Larner

In a repeat of last year's performance, Meiji University prevailed in rainy conditions to win the Kanto Regional Qualifying Meet for the November's National University Ekiden Championships having missed out on breaking into the six national seeded positions after last year's regional win. Excluding the schools which were made the seeded rankings at last year's Nationals, the twenty fastest Kanto-region schools sent teams of eight to Tokyo's National Stadium on June 21 to run the qualifier. Each team's eight runners were split into pairs by PB, each pair running in one of four 10000 m heats. At the end of the fourth heat teams were ranked by the aggregate times of their eight runners, with the top six teams qualifying for the National Ekiden.

Highlights of Kodai Matsumoto's win in the fourth heat. Click here for the full-length video.

Meiji simply outclassed all competitors, with seven of its eight runners making the top five in their heats including 1st in the second heat, 2nd and 3rd in the third heat, and 1st and 2nd in the fourth and fastest heat. Seniors Kodai Matsumoto and Takuya Ishikawa were responsible for the sweep in the final heat after having finished 3-4 in the fourth heat last year. Ishikawa led the first half, while Matsumoto, the 3rd placer in last month's Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships 10000 m, started off at the back of the pack second from last. Matsumoto took his time, working his way up through the field on the straightaways before taking the lead from Ishikawa at halfway, which the pair hit in 14:26 along with Kanagawa University's Takuji Morimoto and Tokai University's Tsubasa Hayakawa.

Matsumoto ratched down the pace and dropped all three, running a negative split to win comfortably in 28:46.31. Hayakawa lost touch soon into the second half, but Ishikawa and Morimoto stayed together until the final lap when Ishikawa kicked away to 2nd in 28:50.46, Hayakawa hanging on for 3rd in 28:52.93. Expected challenges from the other two strongest runners in the field, Tokyo Nogyo University's Kazuki Tomaru and Jobu University's Mao Fukuyama, never materialized. Of the six schools which qualified for the National Ekiden, the biggest surprise was Aoyama Gakuin University. Aoyama continued the momentum of its appearance in January's Hakone Ekiden, its first in thirty years, with a 6th place finish. It will be very interesting to see whether it can continue to build on these successes and make another Hakone bid come fall.

Highlights of Akinobu Murasawa's win in the third heat. Click here for the full-length video.

The third heat saw the most noteworthy performance of the night in the debut of Tokai University's new recruit, 2008 national high school champion Akinobu Murasawa. At last year's meet Toyo University's first year Ryuji Kashiwabara turned heads by frontrunning the third heat and opening a major lead over the rest of the field. Murasawa lapped almost the entire field, clocking 28:57.82 to win by 48 seconds over Meiji University's Tetsuya Yoroizaka. His time beat Kashiwabara's winning time last year by 30 seconds. Tokai may have lost superstar Yuki Sato to graduation this year but it looks as though Murasawa has the potential to at least partly make up for the loss. Combined with fellow first year Tsubasa Hayakawa's excellent showing in the final heat Tokai may well have two stars in its future.

Complete team and individual results are available here.

2009 National University Ekiden Championships Kanto Regional Qualifying Meet - Top Results
Team Results - Top six teams qualify for the National University Ekiden.
1. Meiji Univ. - 4:01:33.12
2. Tokai Univ. - 4:03:02.94
3. Tokyo Nogyo Univ. - 4:03:42.53
4. Senshu Univ. - 4:04:17.18
5. Chuo Univ. - 4:05:09.18
6. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 4:05:21.12
7. Teikyo Univ. - 4:05:22.15
8. Josai Univ. - 4:05:57.08
9. Asia Univ. - 4:07:27.96
10. Kanagawa Univ. - 4:07:32.36

Top Ten Individual Times and Heat Winners
1. Kodai Matsumoto (4th yr., Meiji Univ.) - 28:46.31 (1st, Heat Four)
2. Takuya Ishikawa (4th yr., Meiji Univ.) - 28:50.46 (2nd, Heat Four)
3. Takuji Morimoto (4th yr., Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:52.93 (3rd, Heat Four)
4. Akinobu Murasawa (1st yr., Tokai Univ.) - 28:57.82 (1st, Heat Three)
5. Tsubasa Hayakawa (1st yr., Tokai Univ.) - 29:10.24 (4th, Heat Four)
6. Tasuku Arai (4th yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:19.32 (5th, Heat Four)
7. Yoshito Kubo (3rd yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 29:21.89 (6th, Heat Four)
8. Rui Yonezawa (4th yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:21.89 (7th, Heat Four)
9. Masaki Ito (2nd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 29:23.50 (8th, Heat Four)
10. Hiroaki Sano (4th yr., Reitaku Univ.) - 29:24.18 (9th, Heat Four)
Junya Kinoshita (2nd yr., Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 30:07.32 (1st, Heat One)
Shunichi Kondo (3rd yr., Meiji Univ.) - 31:22.01 (1st, Heat Two)

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved