Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ndiku Leads Weekend Track Results in Setagaya

by Brett Larner
video by Ekiden News

Two-time World Junior Championships 3000 mSC gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) led the weekend's track results, running just off his six-year-old 5000 m PB to win Tokyo's Setagaya Time Trials 5000 m A-heat by a wide margin in 13:13.16.  Ndiku outran all competition by more than 13 seconds, leading 22 men under 14 minutes including 7 other Japan-based Africans.  22-year-old Shota Shinjo (Team Honda) was the top Japanese man at 9th in 13:45.45, like Ndiku just missing his PB.

Southwest of Tokyo at the 70th anniversary National Sports Festival in Wakayama, this year's 10000 m national champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) won a close race over 5000 m national champion Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and top collegiate Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.), outkicking them by 0.7 seconds to take the national title in 15:33.51.  Onishi held off Nabeshima in a photo finish for 2nd, 15:34.21 to 15:34.23.

In the junior men's 5000 m, Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.), 13:50.51 at age 16 and 8:01.95 for 3000 m last month just after his 17th birthday and after finishing 5th as the top non-African in the 3000 m at July's World Youth Championships, let go with a hard kick over the last lap to drop Kenyan John Kariuki (Aomori Yamada H.S.) and top Japanese rivals including Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) for the win in 14:09.21.

Setagaya Time Trials
Kinuta Park Field, Tokyo, Oct. 3, 2015
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat 21
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:13.16
2. Joseph Chacha (Subaru) - 13:26.25
3. Samuel Mwangi (Konica Minolta) - 13:27.66
4. John Maina (Fujitsu) - 13:31.24
5. Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) - 13:32.51
6. Joseph Mumo (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:36.66
7. Joseph Onsarigo (ND Software) - 13:39.50
8. Mamiyo Nuguse (Yasukawa Denki) - 13:42.46
9. Shota Shinjo (Honda) - 13:45.45
10. Kei Fumimoto (Kanebo) - 13:47.65

National Sports Festival
Kimiidera Park Field, Wakayama, Oct. 2-6, 2015
click here for complete results

Senior Women's 5000 m
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:33.51
2. Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:34.21
3. Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 15:34.23
4. Hanae Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 15:34.59
5. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:36.10
6. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:38.53
7. Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 15:42.72
8. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) - 15:58.19
9. Yuko Kikuchi (Hokuren) - 16:04.60
10. Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 16:15.21

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 14:09.21
2. Kakeru Nakamura (Saikyo H.S.) - 14:10.34
3. Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) - 14:11.40
4. John Kariuki (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 14:11.83
5. Tomoki Ota (Hamamatsu Nittai Prep H.S.) - 14:12.32
6. Kazuya Nishiyama (Tonodai Prep Daini H.S.) - 14:14.37
7. Yuta Kanbayashi (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 14:14.86
8. Jun Kato (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:15.34
9. Junnosuke Matsuo (Akita Kogyo H.S.) - 14:16.98
10. Takato Suzuki (Ryutsu Keizai Prep Kashiwa H.S.) - 14:24.71

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, October 2, 2015

University Ekiden Season Kicks Off

by Brett Larner

October marks the start of the best part of the Japanese year, university ekiden season.  The key races among these road relays are big, high-level and massively popular with live nationwide broadcasts, and now that university women have finally achieved parity with the men at three major ekidens it's better than ever.  A quick guide to the season's main races, with detailed previews to follow.

Technically the women's season began last weekend with the regional qualifiers for the first of their big three races, the Oct. 25 Morinomiyako Ekiden in Sendai.  Serving as the National University Women's Ekiden Championships, Morinomiyako has been dominated by Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University for years and there is little sign of that changing.  The second main race on the women's calendar is its newest addition, the Nov. 29 Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden.  Still finding its feet, so far Irohazaka has proved popular with its unusual one-way uphill course that mirrors the most famous ekiden stage in Japan, the legendary Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage.  The season-ending National University Women's Invitational Ekiden has struggled to find a permanent home but its current incarnation seems to have hit the target with a new course in the foothills of Mt. Fuji that, unsurprisingly, supplies its new name of the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden.  With a new race date on Dec. 30 Mt. Fuji joins the long-running men's ekidens on Jan. 1-3 to make four days of live TV ekiden mania over the course of five at the New Year holidays, a good move for everyone involved.

The entire university men's year revolves around two of those days, the Hakone Ekiden on Jan. 2 and 3, but the season itself begins with the Oct. 12 Izumo Ekiden in Shimane.  Short and fast by Japanese standards, following the sudden demise this year of the International Chiba Ekiden Izumo is now the sole remnant of any kind of international aspect to the ekiden thanks to the presence of the American Ivy League Select Team.  The Japanese teams include the top ten from last season's Hakone Ekiden plus invited teams from across Japan.  49 schools in the Tokyo-centered Kanto Region not running Izumo line up a week later in Tokyo's Show Kinen Park for the world's greatest 20 km road race, the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifier where they are scored by the total times of their top ten finishers, the ten fastest schools making the cut for Hakone.

Nov. 1 is the date for the second of the men's big three races, the National University Men's Ekiden Championships near Nagoya.  Longer in distance than Izumo, Nationals again feature most of the best Kanto-region schools, notably four-time defending champion and course record holder Komazawa University, with top schools from the rest of the country.  It's a banner day for any non-Kanto school that can crack the top ten.  Two weeks after Nationals, most of the 20 schools in the Hakone field send the majority of their rosters to Saitama to run the Ageo City Half Marathon so that coaches can pare down the contenders for their final Hakone lineup of ten starters and six alternates.  In recent years the NYC Half Marathon invite available to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in Ageo has also attracted some of the country's top university stars, who previously had usually sat Ageo out given that their places at Hakone were already secure.

December consists of final training, mental and physical, for the peak of the season, Japan's greatest road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden.  Two days, ten stages of roughly half marathon distance including the Fifth Stage with over 800 m of climb and the Sixth back down, all with a live TV audience in the tens of millions.  There is simply nothing else like it in the sport anywhere else in the world.  In March, 2012, Aoyama Gakuin University head coach Susumu Hara told JRN that with his incoming class of first-years AGU would win Hakone in 2016.  In December, 2014 with that group of runners now third-years he again told JRN that while the team could win the 2015 Hakone Ekiden it wasn't a big deal if they didn't as their senior year in 2016 would be the culmination of his long-term development plan.  AGU then duly rocked an incredible course record win at Hakone 2015 that made the team and in particular Fifth Stage star Daichi Kamino into national celebrities.  What can they do this time?  Needless to say, the anticipation levels are high.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Year Out From Olympics, JAAF Seeks to Solve Problems by Creating New Committees and Dangling Carrots

translated by Brett Larner

At a meeting of its board of directors Sept. 30 in Tokyo, the JAAF made the decision to establish a new Strengthening Promotion Committee.  The new committee will have authority over the existing Strengthening Committee.  JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata, 56, commented, "Up to now our strengthening activities have focused on producing the best performances at a particular time, but from now on we want to consider strategy through a variety of eyes and minds."

Citing the Japanese performance at August's Beijing World Championships, where the national team's total of one bronze medal and two top eight performances fell far short of JAAF projections, the board approved the resignation of Strengthening Committee chairman Yasuhiro Harada.  The promotion of vice-chairman Kazunori Asaba was also approved pending the outcome of committee restructuring.  Along with Toshihiko Seko, Naoko Takahashi and Koji Murofushi, outside experts including coaches and gold medalists in a variety of disciplines were named to the executive committee made up of roughly ten people.

Within the JAAF's restructuring less than a year before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics lies a strong sense of crisis.  Newly-formed divisions include a Medical Science Information Committee and Women's Division within the Strengthening Committee.  Whether either will be able to effect dramatic change is unknown. 

Alongside the committee shuffling, the board also approved a new bonus structure for medals at the Rio Olympics.  A gold medal there will be worth 20 million yen [~$165,000 USD at current exchange rates], double the size of the carrot dangled before London Olympians.  Will this have any effect in producing medalists? 

The amount of the medal bonus depends on the medal's color and will be paid out through a combination of the relevant discipline's association, teams and sponsors.  Along with the 20 million yen gold medal bonus, silver medalists will receive 10 million yen [~$83,000 USD] and bronze medalists 8 million yen [~$66,000 USD].  In comparison, at the London Olympics cycling gold medalists received a 30 million yen bonus [~$380,000 USD at that time's exchange rate] while gold medalists in swimming received just 2 million yen [~$25,500 USD].  The JAAF bonuses are in addition to JOC bonuses of 3 million yen [~$25,000 USD] for gold, 2 million yen [~$16,500 USD] for silver and 1 million yen [~$8000 USD] for bronze.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hakone Ekiden's Star Fourth-Years Commit to Nation's Corporate Teams as Final College Ekiden Season Begins

translated and edited by Brett Larner

As university ekiden season begins with the Oct. 12 Izumo Ekiden, their job hunting in its final stages, fourth-year runners from all the major universities are deciding their future paths one by one.  The biggest star of the 2015 Hakone Ekiden, the "Third God of the Mountain" Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin University) will go on to 2013-14 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's champion Konica Minolta, while 30 km collegiate national record holder Yuma Hattori (Toyo University), targeting the marathon at next year's Rio Olympics, plans to join 2015 New Year Ekiden winner Toyota.  The country's best university runners plot their courses from Hakone beyond to the world stage early.

Kamino's super-fast run up the Fifth Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden powered Aoyama Gakuin on to the win and new legend status.  The chance to run with one of the runners he respects most, Tsuyoshi Ugachi, all-time Japanese #6 for the half marathon and #7 over 10000 m, was one of the reasons Kamino chose the powerhouse Konica Minolta team which features a number of other high-potential young runners like Masato Kikuchi, all-time Japanese #3 over the half marathon, and Keita Shitara, all-time #10 for the half.  Alongside his talented new teammates Kamino will chase his dream of "a medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics."

The "most popular" of this year's fourth-year class is Hattori.  Hattori holds the 30 km collegiate national record of 1:28:52 and won the Second Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden, its most competitive leg.  His extensive experience and ambitious attitude toward competing in the marathon earned him high marks from corporate team scouts, from whom he received countless offers.  Putting "the environment where I will become the strongest" as his ultimate criterion, Hattori selected the Toyota team.  Next year he aims to run the Rio Olympics marathon as "Toyota's Hattori."

Last year the Asahi Kasei team pulled off a stunning recruiting coup, pulling in seven of the best graduating runners including two sets of twins, Kenta Murayama (Komazawa University) and Kota Murayama (Josai University), and Hiroshi and Takashi Ichida (both Daito Bunka University).  Topping the recruiting drive for quantity of new talent this year is Fujitsu.  Its incoming members include Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.), the only Japanese collegiate to break 28 minutes for 10000 m this spring, Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin University), this year's Kanto Region 5000 m and 10000 m champion and 3000 mSC national champion and the runner AGU head coach Tsutomu Hara called "the strongest current Japanese university athlete," Tokai University captain Ryo Shirayoshi and Juntendo University captain Hiroki Matsueda.  After last year's mass influx of talent Asahi Kasei will bring in only Soka University ace Shuhei Yamaguchi.

Kamino's teammate at AGU Yusuke Ogura, the 2015 World University Games half marathon gold medalist, will join Yakult team.  Waseda University captain Koki Takada will follow former Waseda head coach Yasuyuki Watanabe to the Sumitomo Denko team, where Watanabe took over in April this year, reuniting the pair's master and pupil relationship.  Former Kyushu Gakuin H.S. teammates Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin University) and Shota Miyagami (Tokai University) will return home to join the Kyudenko team.  Miyagami said that the chance to train alongside Kubota, who he called "both a rival and a friend," again was one of his reasons for choosing Kyudenko.  Kenyan star Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin University) also plans a future in Kyushu at the Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki team alongside his former YGU teammate Hiroto Inoue.

Placing 2nd on the Ninth Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden and planning to tackle the marathon either at the Tokyo Marathon next February or the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon in March, Shin Kimura (Meiji University) will head to the Honda team along with 2014 National University Half Marathon champion Hideto Yamanaka, who recently quit the Nittai University team where he was part of its 2013 Hakone Ekiden-winning lineup.

Something of a novelty is Juntendo's Shoi Inada, who will start working for Kotobukiya, designers and manufacturers of anime-related figurines and toys.  Juntendo head coach Akira Nakamura supported Inada's choice, saying, "This is the perfect company for Inada.  He will be the only athlete there but I hope that he can find success and develop through the training he comes up with himself.  As a new style of corporate athlete I hope that he becomes one of Japan's best athletes."

The Hakone Ekiden was founded in 1920 with the goal of "cultivating world-class athletes."  The mission to live up to those ideals, should they choose to accept it, awaits this year's graduating seniors after their final time down Hakone's hallowed roads on January 2nd and 3rd.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Yamamoto's Pole Vault Meet Record Tops Final Day of National Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
click here for Day One results and report 
click here for Day Two results and report

Seito Yamamoto (Team Toyota) broke one of the oldest standing meet records at the National Corporate Track and Field Championships on this year's final day of competition, clearing 5.70 m to break the 5.62 record set back in 1999 by Fumiaki Kobayashi (Miki House).  Kobayashi passed all the way to 5.30 m, clearing it and 5.50 m on his first try to seal the win.  Going straight to 5.70 m, it took him three attempts to clear it but the record was his.  The women's 4x400 m almost saw another meet record as the Junanaju Ginko team was just 0.03 off the 3:47.38 record it set in 2010 with a lineup including current third runner Mai Yamada.

In distance action, Hiram Ngatia (Team Toyota) ran the fastest time in the three evenly-stacked men's 5000 m, 13:23.65, for the Heat Three and overall win.  1500 m champ Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) had the slowest winning time, 13:38.75 in Heat One, with 1500 m runner-up David Njuguna (Team Yakult) getting payback with a 13:38.51 win in Heat Two.  Former Komazawa University star Shogo Nakamura (Team Fujitsu) was the fastest Japanese man of the day at 13:45.58 in Heat Two.  Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Team Starts) outran 2014 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) for the win in the women's 5000 m A-heat 15:15.42 to 15:21.14, with Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) rounding out the podium in 15:33.89.

63rd National Corporate Track and Field Championships Day Three
Nagaragawa Field, Gifu, 9/27/15
click here for complete results

Men's 100 m Final +0.5 m/s
1. Seiya Kusano (Liniart) - 10.43
2. Sota Kawatsura (Mizuno) - 10.49
3. Yuichi Kobayashi (NTN) - 10.50

Women's 100 m Final +0.4 m/s
1. Nodoka Seko (Joba Club Crane) - 11.60
2. Saori Kitakaze (Hokkaido HiTec AC) - 11.75
3. Megumi Shimizu (Niigata Albirex RC) - 11.77

Men's 400 m Final
1. Tomoya Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 46.65
2. Hideyuki Hirose (Fujitsu) - 46.80
3. Kazushi Kimura (Shidenko) - 47.23

Women's 400 m Final
1. Asami Chiba (Toho Ginko) - 54.00
2. Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 54.08
3. Manami Kira (At Home) - 54.47

Men's 800 m Final
1. Masato Yokote (Fujitsu) - 1:49.55
2. Yasuhiro Nakamura (Evolu) - 1:50.03
3. Wataru Okamoto (Hoki Board of Education) - 1:50.41

Women's 800 m Final
1. Fumika Omori (Lotte) - 2:08.53
2. Mariko Okita (Niigata Albirex RC) - 2:08.86
3. Aki Tasaka (Yogashi Georges) - 2:09.65

Men's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) - 13:38.75
2. Daniel Kepkemoi (Toyota Boshoku) - 13:42.85
3. Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) - 13:44.67
4. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) - 13:45.79
5. Akihiko Tsumurai (Mazda) - 13:47.23

Men's 5000 m Heat 2
1. David Njuguna (Yakult) - 13:38.51
2. Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) - 13:45.58
3. Yuta Takahashi (DeNA) - 13:47.81
4. Yuta Shitara (Honda) - 13:50.90
5. Kazuma Ito (Sumitomo Denko) - 13:58.70

Men's 5000 m Heat 3
1. Hiram Ngatia (Toyota) - 13:23.65
2. Patick Muwaka (Aisan Kogyo) - 13:48.44
3. Yasunori Murakami (Fujitsu) - 13:49.73
4. Yuki Takamiya (Yakult) - 13:51.33
5. Keita Baba (Honda) - 13:52.46

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Taishi Sakamoto (Toyota Kyushu) - 14:23.59
2. Takaya Arake (Asahi Kasei) - 14:24.60
3. Satoshi Kondo (Toyota) - 14:28.24

Women's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Sumina Kuroda (Toto) - 15:54.81
2. Nami Hashimoto (Denso) - 15:58.18
3. Mao Kuroda (Wacoal) - 15:59.20
4. Asahi Takeuchi (Uniqlo) - 16:00.65
5. Naoka Akutsu (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:01.33

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Starts) - 15:15.42
2. Sally Chepyego (Kyudenko) - 15:21.14
3. Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:33.89
4. Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) - 15:37.68
5. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) - 15:40.82

Men's 110 mH Final -0.7 m/s
1. Yuta Notoya (New Mode) - 13.80
2. Hideki Omuro (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13.83
3. Hiroyuki Sato (Hitachi Kasei) - 13.85

Women's 100 mH Final +1.7 m/s
1. Hitomi Shimura (Toho Ginko) - 13.40
2. Airi Ito (Sumitomo Denko) - 13.41
3. Sayaka Kishi (Car Paint Kishi) - 13.50

Men's 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Mizuno - 3:07.36
2. Sumitomo Denko - 3:07.64
3. Arrows Japan - 3:10.21

Women's 4x400 m Relay Final
1. Nanjunana Ginko - 3:47.41
2. Toyota - 4:14.09

Women's High Jump
1. Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Univ. Staff) - 1.81 m
2. Yuki Watanabe (Milite Techno) - 1.78 m
3. Moeko Kyoya (Shiriuchi H.S. Staff) - 1.78 m

Men's Pole Vault
1. Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) - 5.70 m - MR
2. Naoya Kawaguchi (Iwase H.S. Staff) - 5.30 m
3. Ryo Tanaka (Wakayama Prefecture Board of Education) - 5.30 m

Men's Triple Jump
1. Daigo Hasegawa (Hitachi ICT) - 16.49 m -0.5 m/s
2. Kazuyoshi Ishikawa (Nagano Yoshida H.S. Staff) - 16.35 m +0.6 m/s
3. Nobuaki Fujibayashi (Ritsumeikan Univ. Staff) - 15.93 m +0.7 m/s

Women's Triple Jump
1. Kaede Miyasaka (Maki Sports) - 13.06 +0.8 m/s
2. Mayu Yoshida (Gifu H.S. Staff) - 13.03 m +1.5 m/s
3. Arisa Nakao (Yuwakai) - 12.89 m +1.1 m/s

Men's Shot Put
1. Satoshi Hatase (Alsok) - 17.44 m
2. Daichi Nakamura (Ochiai J.H.S. Staff) - 17.29 m
3. Takanao Suzuki (Okuwa) - 17.22 m

Women's Discus Throw
1. Ayumi Sakaguchi (S.T.T.) - 52.33 m
2. Ai Shikimoto (Niigata Albirex RC) - 50.68 m
3. Nozomi Kusaka (Omitama SC) - 48.63 m

Women's Hammer Throw
1. Akane Watanabe (Maruwa) - 64.92 m
2. Masumi Aya (Maruzen Kogyo) - 64.86 m
3. Wakana Sato (Toho Ginko) - 57.37 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Genki Dean (Mizuno) - 77.13 m
2. Yuya Koriki (Tottori Pref. Gov't) - 75.11 m
3. Fumitaka Saito (Gero Special Needs H.S. Staff) - 74.55 m

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

With decent performances in Chicago and Frankfurt and a 2:09:21 PB at this year's Tokyo Marathon behind him, Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) turned in the fastest marathon of the year by a Japanese man outside Japan, running 2:10:58 for 9th at the Berlin Marathon.  Gokaya, sub-2:10 men Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) and Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) and track star Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran the entire race inside the third pack just under 2:10 pace, Morita and Sakai tending toward the front of the group and Gokaya and Sato relaxing out back.  A late-race move by Reid Coolsaet in a bid for the Canadian national record pulled Sato along, but after 40 km he faded badly and was easily run down by Gokaya.  Sato, in his third marathon, still managed a sizable PB of 2:12:32 for 14th, while Sakai and Morita dropped to 22nd and 33rd in 2:14:52 and 2:15:57.

In the women's race, 2014 Asian Games team member Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) started near PB pace in the second group, with 2014 Yokohama International Women's Marathon winner Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) leading off more conservatively on high 2:27 pace.  Tanaka ran evenly throughout the race and overtook Hayakawa early in the second half, looking like she might make top 5th but stalling in her advance at 8th and crossing the finish line in 2:28:00.  Hayakawa ended up 14th in 2:31:27, with Mayumi Uchiyama (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) taking the third Japanese women's spot in 2:44:30 for 39th.

Berlin Marathon
Berlin, Germany, 9/27/15
click here for complete results

1. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) - 2:04:00
2. Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:05:21
3. Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) - 2:06:57
4. Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) - 2:07:46
5. Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) - 2:09:29
6. Reid Coolsaet (Canada) - 2:10:28
7. Koen Naert (Belgium) - 2:10:31
8. Yared Shegumo (Poland) - 2:10:47
9. Koji Gokaya (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:58
10. Scott Overall (Great Britain) - 2:11:24
14. Yuki Sato (Japan/Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:12:32
22. Masanori Sakai (Japan/Kyudenko) - 2:14:52
33. Tomoyuki Morita (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:15:57

1. Gladys Cherono (Kenya) - 2:19:25
2. Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) - 2:20:48
3. Meseret Hailu (Ethiopia) - 2:24:33
4. Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia) - 2:25:01
5. Andrea Deelstra (Netherlands) - 2:26:46
6. Maja Neuenschwander (Switzerland) - 2:26:49
7. Lisa Nemec (Croatia) - 2:27:57
8. Tomomi Tanaka (Japan/Daiich Seimei) - 2:28:00
9. Sonia Samuels (Great Britain) - 2:28:04
10. Fate Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:28:24
14. Eri Hayakwa (Japan/Toto) - 2:31:27
39. Mayumi Uchiyama (Japan/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 2:44:30

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 26, 2015

National University Half Marathon Champion Yamanaka Quits Nittai University Team

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2014 Hakone Ekiden First Stage winner Hideto Yamanaka, a fourth-year at 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University, has quit the school's ekiden team.  Left without its star runner, Nittai will shoot for its 68th-straight Hakone Ekiden appearance when it runs the Oct. 17 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifying race.

Yamanaka ran the Third Stage at the 2013 Hakone Ekiden as a first-year, playing a key role in Nittai's first overall Hakone win in 30 years.  As a second-year he won the 21.4 km First Stage in 1:01:25, with a 1:02:09 course record win two months later at the National University Half Marathon Championships cementing his position as a top-class collegiate athlete.  Shortly afterward, however, he suffered a long-lasting string of injuries that kept him out of competition throughout his third year until a surprise return at the start of his fourth year to win the 10000 m at May's Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships under new head coach Masaaki Watanabe.

A team spokesperson commented, "Yamanaka has left university athletics early in order to ensure a full recovery from his injuries.  This decision comes from numerous discussions and is in no way a result of any conflict within the team."  After graduating next spring Yamanaka plans to enter the corporate leagues to continue his athletic career.

Translator's note: Yamanaka came to Nittai in 2012 under longtime head coach Kenji Beppu.  At the start of the 2015-16 academic year in April Beppu was replaced by Watanabe, who had previously left his position at Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. after a major scandal in 2013 involving his physical and mental abuse of male and female Toyokawa Kogyo ekiden team members, going on to spend a year coaching at the Nittai-related Ebara H.S. before moving up to the university this year.  It is relatively common for coaching changes to result in team members leaving, and with online talk suggesting four other Nittai members have also quit the spokesperson's claim of no conflict within the team must be viewed with skepticism.

Kwemoi Breaks 1500 m Meet Record on Day Two of National Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
click here for Day One results and report

Men's 1500 m world junior record holder Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) turned in the performance of the day on day two of competition at the 2015 National Corporate Track and Field Championships, running a 3:37.54 meet record to win the 1500 m over rival David Njuguna (Team Yakult) and #1-ranked Japanese man Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei).  The Toho Ginko women's team came up just short of the 44.97 meet record in the women's 4x100 m relay set six years ago by Toho Ginko predecessor Natureal, winning in 45.00.  Toho Ginko's second runner Asami Chiba and anchor Mayumi Watanabe featured on both the record-setting Natureal team and today's lineup.  Another meet record near miss came in the women's javelin, where defending champion Risa Miyashita (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. Staff) came up just 0.20 m short of the record she set last year, winning in 56.47 m.

Some disappointment came in the men's 200 m, where Beijing World Championships team members Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zeirin) and Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) did not start the final after winning their qualifying heats in 21.10 +0.8 m/s and 20.98 +1.7 m/s respectively.  In their absence Tomoya Tamura (Team Sumitomo Denko) took the win in 20.79 -0.5 m/s, with the talented Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) 2nd in 20.89 in his first major race since sustaining an injury at June's National Championships.

The National Corporate Track and Field Championships continue Sunday.

63rd National Corporate Track and Field Championships Day Two
Nagaragawa Field, Gifu, 9/26/15
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Final -0.5 m/s
1. Tomoya Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 20.79
2. Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) - 20.89
3. Yuki Takeshita (Sumitomo Denko) - 21.43
DNS - Kei Takase (Fujitsu)
DNS - Kenji Fujimitsu (Zeirin)

Women's 200 m Final -0.2 m/s
1. Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 23.86
2. Maki Wada (Mizuno) - 24.23
3. Mayumi Watanabe (Toho Ginko) - 24.39

Men's 1500 m Heat 2
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) - 3:37.54 - MR
2. David Njuguna (Yakult) - 3:39.50
3. Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 3:43.08
4. Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:43.43
5. Yuta Matsuda (SGH Group) - 3:44.91

Women's 1500 m Heat 2
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Kyudenko) - 4:15.94
2. Risa Shibuya (Yamada Denki) - 4:16.72
3. Mai Nishiwaki (Tenmaya) - 4:18.45

Junior Men's 1500 m
1. Hayate Takeuchi (NTN) - 3:55.59
2. Tomoaki Wake (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 3:57.53
3. Toshiki Hatanaka (Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 3:58.54

Junior Women's 3000 m Heat 2
1. Mariam Waithera (Kyudenko) - 9:03.26
2. Hisami Ishii (Yamada Denki) - 9:14.20
3. Nao Yamamoto (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:16.68
4. Yuma Adachi (Kyocera) - 9:19.34
5. Shiori Morita (Panasonic) - 9:24.10

Junior Women's 3000 m Heat 1
1. Tomoyo Adachi (Denso) - 9:29.73
2. Yuki Kanehira (Sysmex) - 9:29.75
3. Aoi Makara (Canon AC Kyushu) - 9:34.46

Men's 400 mH Final
1. Keisuke Nozawa (Mizuno) - 49.28
2. Takayuki Kishimoto (Fujitsu) - 49.74
3. Mahau Sugimachi (Nihon Wellness) - 49.74

Women's 400 mH Final
1. Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 57.24
2. Manami Kira (At Home) - 57.27
3. Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 58.39

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Minato Yamashita (NTN) - 8:39.82
2. Aoi Matsumoto (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:40.86
3. Hiroyoshi Umegae (NTN) - 8:46.06
4. Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) - 8:48.46
5. Tetsuya Kimura (Sumitomo Denko) - 8:50.92

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Nana Sato (Starts) - 10:40.63
2. Aki Tasaka (Yogashi Georges) - 10:40.79
3. Haruna Kaku (Aichi Denki) - 11:00.18

Men's 10000 mRW
1. Eiki Takahashi (Fujitsu) - 39:11.95
2. Kai Kobayashi (Bic Camera) - 39:48.43
3. Takumi Saito (Aichi Seiko) - 40:08.46

Women's 10000 mRW
1. Kumiko Okada (Bic Camera) - 43:55.05
2. Rei Inoue (Tenmaya) - 45:48.98
3. Tomomi Maekawa (Mitsubishi Okazaki) - 48:36.61

Men's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Sumitomo Denko - 39.27
2. Mizuno - 39.62
3. Arrows Japan - 40.12

Women's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Toho Ginko - 45.00
2. Niigata Albirex RC - 46.37
3. Sumitomo Denko - 46.51

Men's High Jump
1. Hiromi Takahari (Hitachi ICT) - 2.21 m
2. Yuki Motoyoshi (New Mode) - 2.18 m
3. Takashi Ito (AGF) - 2.15 m

Women's Pole Vault
1. Tomomi Abiko (Shiga Lake Stars) - 4.20 m
2. Megumi Nakada (Mitoshin) - 4.10 m
3. Kanae Tatsuta (Monteroza) - 4.00 m

Men's Long Jump
1. Yuhi Oiwa (Monteroza) - 7.85 m -0.6 m/s
2. Kota Minemura (Monteroza) - 7.79 m +1.2 m/s
3. Shinichiro Shimono (Kyudenko) - 7.66 m -0.1 m/s

Women's Long Jump
1. Hitomi Nakano (Hyogo T&F Assoc.) - 6.16 m -0.7 m/s
2. Yurina Hiraka (Hokkaido HiTec AC) - 6.08m +0.5 m/s
3. Hitomi Kawamura (Shunan City Hall) - 5.96 m +0.7 m/s

Women's Shot Put
1. Chiaki Yokomizo (Nittai Univ. Staff) - 15.11 m
2. Chihiro Shigeyama (Ochiai J.H.S. Staff) - 14.62 m
3. Erina Fukutomi (Fukubi Kagaku) - 14.49 m

Men's Discus Throw
1. Yuji Tsusumi (Alsok) - 55.90 m
2. Go Chinen (Zeirin) - 53.36 m
3. Shigeo Hatakeyama (Zeirin) - 52.69 m

Men's Hammer Throw
1. Toru Tanaka (Gifu T&F Assoc.) - 67.11 m
2. Hiroki Ako (Tottori Pref Gov't) - 66.52 m
3. Ryota Kashimura (Monteroza) - 66.50 m

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Risa Miyashita (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. Staff) - 56.47 m
2. Hitomi Sukenaga (Okuwa) - 53.77 m
3. Haruka Matoba (Osaka Gas Kinki) - 52.80 m