General News Two short sprinters

Japanese sprinters Nobuharu Asahara and Shingo Kawabata get to the semis

Japanese sprinters Nobuharu Asahara and Shingo Kawabata get to the semis
K. Ken Nakamura for IAAF

12 March 2001 - Lisbon - Two short sprinters - Nobuharu Asahara and Shingo Kawabata competed in the 60m heats on Sunday. Kawabata is a young up-and-coming sprinter who recorded 10.11 last year. "Since I did well in the outdoor season last year, I was always planning to run indoor season to see what I can do. Unfortunately I injured my thigh during the indoor competition in Tenjing," said Kawabata after the race. The injury was not serious and although he was not feeling 100%, Kawabata was ready to compete in the World Indoors.

A veteran, Nobuharu Asahara, a former national record holder at the 100m with 10.08, described how he decided to race the World Indoor: "I decided to compete in the World Indoor Championships if my winter training went well." His training did go well, and so he lined up for the World Indoor Championships.

"Since I am new to the indoors, I did not have a definite goal. I just wanted to advance out of the first round, so I am happy," said Kawabata after the first round heat where he finished second and advanced to a semi-final. He became the first Japanese to advance out of the heats in Lisbon. Although that was as far as he got, Kawabata was not overly disappointed: "Since I was injured earlier in the season, I am happy that I was able to compete without any problem."

Of his outdoor goals, he said, "I will aim for the national championships (the qualifying meet for the World Championships). I might run some races in the spring season, but only as a part of training.

"I want to advance to the semi-final and run 10.0 something in Edmonton," he continued. "At this point, I am short of speed training, so I would like to concentrate on that." .

A veteran, Nobuharu Asahara also advanced to the semi-final by finishing third with 6.66 in his heat.

It was his first competition since the National Championships last October. There were two false starts but they did not bother him. "Of course false starts do not help, but since I was short on competitions, I considered it as a good practice of starts in the competition atmosphere."

Asahara, who was based in Germany until last year said, "My training has been going well, but training and racing are quite different, even though both involve running 60m."

Like all good student of sprinting should do, he analysed his race afterwards and said, "My first 30m was good, but I tightened up a bit in the last half." Finally Asahara said: "I hope to run a perfect race in the semi. As for my time goal, I hope to run 6.5 something. If I do that the final will became a distinct possibility," and left to prepare himself of the upcoming semi-final.

Unfortunately, Asahara finished only sixth in the second semi with 6.72; a far cry from his goal of 6.5 something. "For some reason I could not concentrate. Before the start, I was thinking too much about technical details I had to check during the race. Since I have been away from competition, they are not automatic at this point."

Of his outdoor goals, Asahara said: "I have been training in Austin (Texas, USA), and learning lot of technical details about sprinting. If I am able to master these things, I think I can run a good time. I want to improve my PR and make the final in the World Championships in Edmonton," concluded Asahara, who choose to train in Austin because of superior training condition and coaching.

"In Austin, I have been learning a lot about sprinting - about technical aspects of starts, how to rest etc.

"Even while I was in Germany (where he spent the last several years), I was thinking of training in the US if I became international class." His real test to see if his training in the US is working for him will come in five months time in Edmonton.