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Chiba International Cross Country - PREVIEW

Takayuki Matsumiya (JPN) (Nakamura)Takayuki Matsumiya (JPN) (Nakamura) © Copyright

The 43rd annual Chiba International Cross Country, which doubles as the a Japanese team qualifying meet for the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, UK (30 March) will be held on Sunday 10 February in Showa woods in Chiba, Japan.

In addition to four World Cross Country Championships selection events (Men’s 12Km, Women’s 6Km, Junior Men’s 8Km and Junior Women’s 5Km), junior high school races are also scheduled on the programme of this IAAF XC Permit event.

MEN

Two runners – Adam Ismail Khamis and Alberto Chaica – are invited from abroad to run men’s 12Km. Khamis of Bahrain holds the national junior record for both 5000m (13:19.27) and 10000m (28:02.08), later recorded at the 2006 Asian Games when he won a bronze medal. He was also third at 10,000m in the 2006 World Junior Championships. In cross country, Khamis was 17th and 23rd in 2006 and 2005, respectively in the junior division of the World Cross Country Championships.

Chaica of Portugal on the other hand is a marathon runner. He was fourth at the Marathon in the 2003 World Championships and eighth in both 2004 Athens Olympic Games and 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg, also at the Marathon. 

Some of the best track runners in Japan are running the men’s 12Km race. They are Takayuki Matsumiya, Yuki Sato, Yuichiro Ueno, Yoshitaka Iwamizu, Yuki Matsuoka, Satoru Kitamura and Yuta Takahashi. 

Matsumiya, who is the World record holder for 30km, won both the 5000m and 10,000m in the 2006 and 2007 National Championships, and set a national 5000m record of 13:13.20 in 2007.

Sato is the best up and coming runner. He was 13th at 5000m in the 2004 World Junior Championships and 4th at 10000m in the 2005 World University Games. Sato has 10,000m best of 27:51.90 and 5000m best of 13:23.57. Ueno, another improving young runner, set national high school record, 28:27.39 for the 10,000m, while Iwamizu, who was 11th at 3000mSC in the 2003 World Championships, set the national 3000m Steeplechase record in the Worlds.

Matsuoka was a silver medallist at 5000m in the 2007 World University Games, while Kitamura is 2006 national Collegiate champion at 10000m and has a 10000m best of 28:00.22. He was also second at 5000m in the 2006 national championships. Kitamura is 2006 Collegiate champion at 10,000m and was second at 5000m in the 2006 national championships, and Yuta Takahashi was fourth at 5000m in the 2007 World University Games.

WOMEN

Carla Martinho, who has a best of 9:42.19 for the indoor 3000m, has been invited from Portugal. In her most recent race, Martinho was eighth in Peurbacher Silvesterlauf (5.1Km road race) in Austria on the New Year eve. 

Turning our attention to the domestic runners, Megumi Seike, Kayoko Obata and Kumi Akaishi are invited.

Seike, a teammate of Mizuki Noguchi, has a 5000m best of 15:28.32, a 10,000m best of 31:57.50 and half marathon best of 1:10:52. Obata has a Marathon best of 2:25:14 and won a bronze medal at the Marathon in the 2006 Asian Games, while Akaishi has a 5000m best of 15:27.30.

JUNIOR races

Some of the top finishers in the Japanese national inter-high school championships will be running the junior men’s 8Km race. Ryosuke Awazu won the 800m, while Fumiya Tanji won the 3000mSC in the championships. Yusuke Mita was fourth while Takuya Nakayama was fifth at 5000m in the inter-high school championships. Another top runner in the race is Toshiki Imazaki, who was eighth at 1500m in the 2007 World Youth Championships. 

Two finalists from the World Youth Championships are running the women’s junior race. They are Saki Nakamichi and Ayaka Mori, who was fourth and fifth, respectively at 3000m in the 2007 World Youth Championships. Other top runners in the junior women’s 5Km race are Risa Takenaka, Yukako Eto and Michi Numata, who were first, second and third, respectively at 5000m in the national junior championships.

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF

Invited Runners

Men 12Km
Aadam Ismael Khamis (BRN)
Alberto Chaica (POR)

Japanese
Takayuki Matsumiya 
Yuki Sato
Yuichiro Ueno 
Yoshitaka Iwamizu
Yuki Matsuoka
Satoru Kitamura
Satoshi Kato
Yuta Takahashi
Hiroyoshi Umegae

Women 6Km
Carla Martinho (POR) 

Japanese
Megumi Seike
Kayoko Obata
Kumi Akaishi