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Showing posts from April, 2013

Tokyo 2020 Bid Chairman Inose on NYT Report of His Criticism of Rivals: "My True Meaning Was Not Accurately Conveyed"

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130429-00000095-jij-spo

translated by Brett Larner

In response to an article in the American New York Times newspaper reporting negative comments by Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid chairman and Tokyo governor Naoki Inose about Tokyo's rivals for the 2020 summer Olympics, on April 29 Governor Inose commented, "The focus of the article made it sound if Tokyo was criticizing the other candidate cities, but my true meaning was not accurately conveyed."

International Olympic Committee conduct guidelines for bid candidates specify, "Cities shall refrain from any act or comment likely to tarnish the image of a rival city or be prejudicial to it.  Any comparison with other cities is strictly forbidden."  With regard to this stipulation Governor Inose said, "I fully comprehend the regulations and am in compliance with them."  He added, "Personally I like Istanbul just fine.  I have no intent whatsoever to criticize the other bid …

High School Senior Kiryu World-Leading 10.01 to Tie 100 m Jr. WR, All-Time Japanese #2

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20130429-OYT1T00340.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner
video by okuon



On day two of the Oda Memorial Meet, April 29 at Hiroshima's Edion Stadium, men's 100 m youth world record holder and Rakunan High School senior Yoshihide Kiryu of Kyoto ran a world-leading 10.01 with a legal wind of + 0.9 m/s in the heats of the men's 100 m, the second-fastest time ever by a Japanese man, tying the world junior record, and setting a new high school national record.  The Japanese national record of 10.00 was set by Koji Ito in 1998.

Update: Kiryu won the final in 10.03 with a +2.7 m/s wind. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) took 2nd in 10.04.  Click here for complete results.

Weekend Track Update - Osako Just Off NR at Payton Jordan

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620 and toyosina2008

Stanford University's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, home of both the Japanese men's and women's 10000 m national records, once again delivered big times.  In the men's 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), both graduates of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. and perpetual rivals over the last two years, each got under the Moscow World Championships A-standard but came up just short of the 27:35.09 NR, Osako taking 2nd in 27:38.31 and Sato 3rd in 27:39.50.  Osako's time was the fastest ever by a Japanese collegiate and good for all-time Japanese #4 a fraction of a second behind Sato's all-time #3 mark of 27:38.25.  Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) also got under 28 but was a distant afterthought in 27:55.27, while last year's top two 10000 m runner Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) and Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) both struggled.  After Sato kept him out of the Olym…

Glad to Make the Moscow Team, Noguchi Says "My Goal is to Medal"

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2013/04/2013042701001673.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Selected earlier in the week for the Moscow World Championships marathon team, national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) made a guest appearance at a cross-country race in Asogun, Kumamoto, on April 27.  "I'm totally, totally happy," she delightedly told fans.  "Since I am running, my goal is to medal.  At absolute worst top eight."

In Noguchi's last appearance at the World Championships in 2003 she won silver.  At the 2008 Beijing Olympics she was a DNS with a serious injury, meaning that her last time competing at the world level on the Japanese national team was her gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.  Now 34, the veteran Noguchi smiled as she said, "Having been all the way to the bottom it seems like a miracle to me that I'm back on my feet and headed to Worlds, but I know that it's something I was able to do myself, under my own power."

Tadese, Kawauchi, Ndereba Top Elite Field for 3rd Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon

http://www.tv-aichi.co.jp/news/2013/04/post-89.html

translated by Brett Larner
complete field listing coming shortly

On April 26 the names of the special invited athletes for the 3rd running of the Naoko Takahashi Cup Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon on May 19 were released.  Making his third appearance in Gifu, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will face half marathon world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) and others.  Fans can look forward to both a shot at a new course record and to seeing Kawauchi, just named to the 2013 World Championships marathon team, in person.  Two-time Olympic marathon silver medalist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) leads the women's field.

Highlights of the 3rd edition of the Naoko Takahashi Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon will be broadcast on TV Aichi at 3:00 p.m. on May 19.

Japan to Send Five Men and Three Women to Moscow World Championships Marathon

by Brett Larner

The Japanese Federation Rikuren announced the lineup for this year's Moscow World Championships marathon teams at a press conference on Apr. 25.  With tough sub-2:08 and sub-2:24 standards in place this time around, the team selection provided a surprising outcome: a full men's squad but only three women.

No men met the sub-2:08 standard, but all five men to run 2:08 in the selection races are on the roster, four of them having run PBs to get there.  Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) leads the way with a 2:08:00 PB for 4th at this year's Tokyo Marathon, joined by enigmatic serial marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 7th place Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), 2012 London Olympics marathon 6th place Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), and, running 2:08 again 10 years since the last time he achieved that level, debut and collegiate marathon national record holder Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda).  If y…

Biwako University Ekiden Suspended With Possible Move to Tango Peninsula Examined

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/sports/article/20130422000135

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Apr. 22 the organizers of the Biwako University Ekiden, held each November between Nagahama and Otsu along the west coast of Lake Biwa, announced that the event has been suspended.  With Biwako to have served as the 75th anniversary edition of the Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships this year, a move to an alternate course in the Tango peninsula north of Kyoto is being examined.

With various locations having staged the Kansai championships over the years, the Biwako University Ekiden became the host event in 2005, expanding the championships' scale by bringing together invited schools from the Tokai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu regions along with the best of Kansai to battle for the title of #1 in Western Japan. With an eight-year history, last year 21 schools competed over Biwako's eight-stage, 83.6 km course. Following difficulties in achieving the event's original …

Nobeoka Raises Golden Games Promotional Flags

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/miyazaki/news/20130423-OYT8T01491.htm

translated by Brett Larner

With Nobeoka set to host the country's best middle and long-distance runners May 11 at the Golden Games in Nobeoka meet at the city's Nishishina Field, organizers placed 120 promotional flags around the downtown area on May 23.  The flags measure 80 cm by 45 cm with a black and yellow color scheme.  Below an illustration of a group of runners in action, the flags call on local citizens to come out and support the athletes at the competition.  Race organizers began placing the flags at 9:00 a.m.  The flags are attached to light poles in pairs every 10 m along the main streets of Nobeoka, catching the attention of passersby as they ripple in the wind.

Yukiko Akaba 3rd at London Marathon

by Brett Larner
photo by Martin Lever

Coming in fit off a 1:08:59 win at March's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 5th-placer Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) ran a smart, steady and strong race at the Apr. 21 London Marathon, staying near 2:24 pace as the lead group of Kenyan and Ethiopia women fluctuated, sometimes far ahead, sometimes all around her, and on at least two occasions falling behind her.


Initially working with Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) to reach the Federation's sub-2:24 time goal for the Moscow World Championships team, Akaba slipped off track late in the race after Ito dropped behind but continued to press ahead, reeling in five of the seven Africans up front to take 3rd in 2:24:43, her third time running 2:24 in London.

Ito, still hot from a 1:10:00 half marathon PB two weeks ago in Berlin, couldn't keep up with Akaba's bid for a 2:23 and landed 7th in 2:28:37.  The other three Japanese women in the …

Weekend Track Roundup - World Leader for Mutunga in Hyogo

by Brett Larner

Four track meets featured noteworthy Japanese performances on the first truly busy weekend on the spring outdoor season calendar.

Cold rain and wind hit the biggest of the domestic meets, the Hyogo Relay Carnival.  In the Grand Prix 10000 m, Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) continued his climb to the top of the Japanese circuit with a world-leading 27:40.44 to win over world-level medalists Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) and Martin Mathathi (Kenya/ Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  Former 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) was the top Japanese man, 5th overall with the fastest time so far this year by a Japanese man, 28:16.79.  The year's leading Japanese marathoner, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), was 12th in a decent 28:32.23 as he began working toward the Moscow World Championships.  His teammate Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) easily won the Grand Prix women's 10000 m in 32:00.02.  Runner-up Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) was far b…

Kawauchi and Puchkova Win Freezing Wet Nagano Marathon

by Brett Larner

Dark was the night, cold was the ground.  With heavy rain shifting to snow overnight and wind and below-freezing temperatures throughout the morning the 2013 Nagano Marathon had the kind of race conditions you would not wish on anybody, but although the course record was never an option civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) did what he had to do to secure his third marathon win in four starts so far this year, crossing the line in 2:14:27 more than a minute ahead of runner-up Alexsey Sokolov (Russia) to become the first Japanese man to win in Nagano's 15-year history. Alone after only 5 km, Natalia Puchkova (Russia) was just off her PB as she soloed a 2:30:40 victory in the women's race almost two km ahead of her closest competition.

Kawauchi ran the early stages of the race in a quartet with last year's runner-up Silas Sang (Kenya), Eritrean Isaias Beyn and Hirokatsu Kurosaki of 2013 New Year Ekiden national champion Team Konica Min…

Nagano, London, Hyogo, Mt. SAC and Oregon -- A Busy Weekend Ahead

by Brett Larner

There is a busy weekend ahead domestically and abroad, on the roads and on the track for Japan's distance athletes.  At Sunday's Nagano Marathon, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will seek to become the first Japanese man to win in Nagano's fifteen-year history in his fourth marathon of the year.  His main competition comes in the form of Kenyan Silas Sang, who set his 2:09:10 best in finishing 2nd last year.  Also of note is former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu), running his final race before retiring.  Kenyans Beatrice Jepkemboi and Esther Nganga are the favorites in the women's race, with Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC) leading the domestic contingent.

Overseas, the unfortunate withdrawal this week of the promising Bunta Kuroki (Team Yasukawa Denki) from the London Marathon men's field means that Japan's Moscow World Championships marathon team is all but finalized with five 2:08 men.  Five w…

Boston Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

All three pro Japanese runners at the 117th Boston Marathon ran well, both Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) and Manami Kanitanida (Team Hitachi) recording PBs after leading through the lazy early pace in the women's race and Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) finishing 13th in his debut.  More importantly, all three and their supporters were confirmed safe following the finish line bombings. I had already finished long before the explosions but had just left the Copley Square area a few minutes beforehand and was on the 34th floor of a nearby hotel and could hear them even from there.  My condolences to the victims and their families.

117th Boston Marathon
Boston, 4/15/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) - 2:10:22
2. Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 2:10:27
3. Gebregziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia) - 2:10:28
-----
13. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:16:57 - debut

Women
1. Rita Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:26:25
2. Meseret Hailu (Ethiopia) - 2:26:58
3…

Kawauchi Wins Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Despite Going Off-Course

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130414-1112410.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130414-OHT1T00219.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Probable Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the Apr. 14 Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, winning in 1:06:28.  With the cancellation of last weekend's Satte Sakura 10-Miler due to bad weather it had been three weeks since his last race, the Mar. 24 Saitama City Half Marathon, a long time off for someone who has raced almost every weekend since the start of the year.  The result of this break?  Only 1.5 km into the race Kawauchi went the wrong way and ran off the course.  "I hadn't properly researched the course and lost about 30 seconds.  It happens a lot," he said with an embarrassed laugh.

The Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon was Kawauchi's tenth race of the year, coming on the heels of a minor hip injury after the M…

Meiji University Sweeps Yaizu Minato Half

by Brett Larner

Following up on last year's record-setting race, the Yaizu Minato Half Marathon returned for the 25th anniversary of its unique pair marathon university championship format with some of Japan's best university teams scoring the top two of their three members in the race.  Meiji University, one of the potential favorites for the 2013-14 ekiden season, took the team title in 2:09:43 as Tomoyasu Matsui and Shin Kimura went 1-2 a second apart in 1:04:51 and 1:04:52.  2012 Izumo Ekiden course record-setter Aoyama Gakuin University was 2nd in 2:10:30 with all three of its runners making the top ten, with 2012 National University Ekiden course record-setter Komazawa University 3rd in 2:10:56 despite not getting anyone into the top five.  Shota Kai of 2013 Hakone Ekiden winner Nittai University was 3rd overall, but Nittai did not make the team podium.

28th Yaizu Minato Half Marathon
25th National University Pair Marathon Championships
Yaizu, Shizuoka, 4/14/13
click here fo…

Nittai University Time Trials - Top Results

by Brett Larner

The 2013 Nittai University Time Trials series, Japan's premier long-distance track series and a factory for mass-producing precision-made track results with Saturdays dedicated to distances from 800 to 10000 m and Sundays focused exclusively on 5000 m, kicked off this weekend.  Although far from the highest-quality performance of the weekend, the 16:00.54 win by 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) in the women's 5000 m A-heat was the most noteworthy, coming just a week before her planned shot at the Moscow World Championships marathon team at next weekend's London Marathon.  A solo run with a margin of over 20 seconds over 2nd place, her run spoke well of her fitness despite the unimpressive time.

Japan-based Africans won the other three major races of the weekend, with high schooler Rosemary Wanjiru (Kenya/Aomori Yamada H.S.) taking the women's 3000 m A-heat in a quality 9:01.36, Ethiopian pros Bikila Demma Daba (Tea…

Tanigawa and Yano Set for Boston Marathon

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/event/sports/news/20130409-OHT1T00201.htm

translated by Brett Larner

The organizers of the Ome 30 km Road Race announced on Apr. 9 that they are sending Tomohiro Tanigawa (24, Team Konica Minolta) and Yuka Yano (26, Canon AC Kyushu) to run its sister race, the 117th Boston Marathon in Massachusetts on April 15.  Tanigawa finished 2nd in the Ome men's 30 km division in February, with Yano taking 2nd in the women's race.  For both men and women Boston is included as a selection race for August's Moscow World Championships marathon team.

Translator's note: Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) is also scheduled to run Boston through a similar arrangement after winning January's Katsuta Marathon.

Weekend Overseas Road Results

by Brett Larner
photo by Dr. Helmut Winter

Japanese athletes turned up in three large road races in Europe this weekend. Moscow World Championships marathon team hopeful Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) led the way, finishing 3rd at the Berlin Half Marathon in 1:10:00 in a tuneup for the London Marathon in two weeks. Yamanashi Gakuin H.S. graduate and former Team Hokuren runner Philes Ongori (Kenya) was 2nd in 1:08:01.

At the Paris Marathon, a group of third-tier athletes doing Paris after taking top placings at November's Ohtawara Marathon ran well.  2009 World University Games half marathon silver medalist Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) ran a PB 2:36:57 for 12th, while in the men's race both Atsushi Hasegawa (Team Subaru) and Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) both broke their PBs with marks of 2:15:25 and 2:16:28.

At Saturday's Prague Half Marathon, Kenta Iinuma (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) failed to make much of an impression as both finished far off…

Kanaguri Memorial Meet Results

by Brett Larner

The Japanese outdoor track season got started Saturday at Kumamoto's Kanaguri Memorial Meet depite high winds and heavy rain from a passing storm that kept times from what was hoped.  Japan-based Africans won all the major races, with last year's winners Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) and Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) repeating in the men's and women's 5000 m A-heats in 13:26.48 and 15:42.81.  The Koichi Morishita-coached Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) clocked the fastest time of the day by a Japanese man, 13:39.46 for 2nd in the B-heat, while independent Yuka Ando (Tokinosumika T&F Assoc.) took 2nd behind Chepyego for the top Japanese time in 16:02.08.  The year's leading Japanese marathoner, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), started his buildup to August's World Championships, running a 14:07.46 shakeout in the men's 5000 m B-heat in his first race since running 2:08:00 at February's Tokyo Marathon.

In the men&…

Track Season Kicks Off With Saturday's Kanaguri Memorial Meet

by Brett Larner

Japan's outdoor track season gets underway Saturday with the 22nd edition of the Kanaguri Memorial Meet in Kumamoto.  With light rain forecast throughout the day, after a morning of elementary and junior high sprint relays and middle-distance events the afternoon features nothing but distance with season-opening 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m heats.

On the men's side, the 1500 m includes 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), past steeplechase national champions Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), 61-minute half marathoner Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota), Ethiopian Bikila Demma Daba (Team Kanebo) and, back from time served at the Nike Oregon Project, #1-ranked collegiate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.). Absent rival Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S., 2012 National High School Ekiden champion Toyokawa H.S. starts off its title defense campaign with four team members slated to run in Heat 6 of the high school 5000 m.

A…

Seko Introduces New Rainbow-Colored DeNA Uniform, Praises Kawauchi

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130404/ath13040405010000-n1.html
http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/sports/other/headlines/article/20130403-00000012-spnavi
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/p-sp-tp0-20130404-1107367.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here and here for photos of the flamboyant DeNA uniform

Inheriting the remnants of the historic S&B corporate team following its disbanding at the end of March, the new DeNA Running Club introduced its uniform at a Tokyo-area press conference on April 3. With regard to the uniform's colorful design, supervising head coach Toshihiko Seko said, "They're going to have to be just as flashy in their running to pull off a uniform like this."

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Kiyoshi Nakamura, the mentor who led Seko to marathon greatness.  DeNA ace Yuichiro Ueno plans to run his marathon debut this year.  "We're combining the old and the new, and I'm whipp…