03 NOV 2005 General News Macau

Japan fights back – East Asian Games, Day Three

Japan's 400m runner Asami Tanno  sets off to victory in Macau (Peh Siong San)Japan's 400m runner Asami Tanno sets off to victory in Macau (Peh Siong San) © Copyright

Finally, a fight! Yes, Day 3 of the track and field competition at the East Asian Games finally gave the meet what it badly needed – some real inter-nation rivalry. For the first two days, China had almost completely dominated proceedings but this morning Japan gave a hint of what was to come with four straight wins which set the foundations for their total haul of nine gold medals on Thursday.

Though the quality of performances wasn’t much to shout about, the fact that the Japanese bounced back gave the meet a renewed sense of competition. In the absence of Olympic champion Koji Murofushi, Hiroaki Doi won gold in the men’s Hammer Throw with a distance of 70.35m. This was well off Murofushi's Games record of 79.68m set in 2001 but it was enough to edge out Korea’s Lee Yoonchul (66.40m).

Japan also won the men's 3000m Steeplechase with an easy victory by Yoshitaka Iwamizu who clocked 8:40.16, ahead of teammate Yasunori Uchitomi  (8:45.47) and Taipei’s Wu Wenchien (8:50.41). Another Japanese win came in the men’s Half Marathon when Toshinari Fujimoto, in 1:08:11, valiantly held off the Korean pair of Huh Jang Kyu and Eom Hyo Seok who clocked 1:08:17 and 1:08:38 respectively.

Close call for Japan in Half Marathon

Perhaps the most predictable win for Japan in the morning came in the women’s Half Marathon. After all, this is the country that has produced the last two Olympic champions in the Marathon - Naoko Takahashi in Sydney 2000 and Mizuki Noguchi in Athens 2004. In the absence of its top runners, Japan still managed to win through Yoshiko Ichikawa who crossed the line at Macau Stadium in 1:16:31. But she did not have it easy at all. Korea's Lim Kyung Hee (1:16:33) almost created an upset but had to settle for silver, while Jong Yong Ok of DPR Korea (1:18:48) won the bronze.

As though taking the cue from her teammates’ success in the morning, Japanese 400m runner Asami Tanno won her event in a respectable time of 52.69. China’s Tang Xiaoyin (52.93) and Xie Qing (54.42) settled for the other two medals. While the winning time wasn’t particularly fast, young Tanno, with her consistent form this season, has established herself as one of the rising stars from her country in an event Japan’s women haven’t been strong in traditionally. Her countryman, and fellow 400m runner, Yoshihiro Horigome, however, had a tradition to uphold as Japan’s men have been a force in this event in the region. He did not disappoint, winning in 46.44, ahead of team mate Yosuke Inoue (47.41) and Macau’s Chao Unkei (49.43). Again, the times were slow, and the lack of competition made the race doubly disappointing.

Japan’s Hiroyuki Morikawa cheered things up a bit when he set a new Games record in winning the men’s 1500m. He clocked 3:48.27. Another Japanese Yasuhiro Tago (3:50.82) was second, while Taipei’s Chen Fupin (3:52.63) was third. Japan also took the men's Pole Vault through Takuro Mori (5.00m), as well as both the 4x100m relay titles. Its men’s team won in 39.61, while its women clocked 44.88.

China responds

Still, China, Asia’s fast expanding sporting superpower wasn’t about to let go of its grip entirely after its first two days of dominance. Li Rongxiang, the continent’s best for so long won the Javelin Throw for China in 79.75m, ahead of countryman Chen Qi (79.96m), and Korea’s Chu Ki Young (75.59m). It was one of the day’s better events – in terms of general standards as well as the degree of competition. The same could be said of the keenly contested men’s Long Jump in competitive terms, where China’s Song Jian (7.77m) just beat Japan’s Kenji Fujikawa  (7.73m) and Korea’s Oh Sangwon (7.72m).  China’s other win of the day came through Xie Sainan in the women’s 1500m. Her time was a slow 4:20.54.

Chua Chong Jin for the IAAF
 

RESULTS

Men

400m
1 Yoshihiro Horigome (JPN) 46.44
2 Yosuke Inoue (JPN) 47.41
3 Chao Unkei (MAC) 49.43

1500m
1 Hiroyuki Morikawa (JPN) 3:48.27
2 Yasuhiro Tago (JPN) 3:50.82
3 Chen Fupin 3:52.63 (TPE)

3000m Steeplechase
1 Yoshitaka Iwamizu (JPN) 8:40.16
2 Yasunori Uchitomi (JPN) 8:45.47
3 Wu Wenchien(TPE) 8:50.41

Half Marathon
1 Toshinari Fujimoto (JPN) 1:08:14
2 Huh Jangkyu(KOR) 1:08:17
3 Eom Hyoseok(KOR) 1:08:38

Pole Vault
1 Takuro Mori  (JPN) 5.00m

Long Jump
1 Song Jian (CHN)  7.77m
2 Kenji  Fujikawa  (JPN) 7.73m
3. Oh Sangwon (KOR)  7.72m
 
Hammer Throw
1 Doi Hiroaki(JPN) 70.35m
2 Lee Yoonchul (KOR) 66.40m
3 Hou Fei(MAC) 37.14m

Javelin Throw
1 Li Rongxiang (CHN)  79.75m
2 Chen Qi (CHN) 79.96m
3  Chu Ki Young (KOR) 75.59m

4x100m Relay
1. Japan  39.61
2. Chinese Taipei 39.89
3. China 39.90


Women
          
400m
1 Asami Tanno (JPN) 52.69
2 Tang Xiaoyin (CHN) 52.93
3 Xie Qing (CHN) 54.42

1500m
1 Xie Sainan (CHN) 4:20.54
2. Kaori Kumasaka (JPN) 4:21.77
3. Bae Haejin (KOR)  4:30.56

Half Marathon
1 Yoshiko Ichikawa (JPN) 1:16:31
2 Lim Kyunghee(KOR) 1:16:33
3 Jong Yonggok(PRK) 1:18:48
 
4x100m Relay
1 Japan 44.88
2 China  45.37
3. Hongkong  46.66