13 FEB 2011 General News

Karoki and Niiya win at Chiba Cross Country

Big win for high schooler Bedan Karoki in 2010 Chiba cross senior race (Yohei Kamiyama (Agence Shot))Big win for high schooler Bedan Karoki in 2010 Chiba cross senior race (Yohei Kamiyama (Agence Shot)) © Copyright

Bidan Karoki of Kenya and Japan’s Hitomi Niiya took lopsided victories at the 2011 Chiba Cross Country, the eighth meeting of the 2011 IAAF Cross Country Permit Cross Country series, in Chiba, Japan, today (13).

Karoki won the men’s 12Km by 24 seconds, while Niiya won women’s 8Km by 41 seconds. The junior women’s 5Km also featured a dominant run with Katsuki Suga taking the win by 15 seconds. 

Karoki, who runs for the Japanese corporate team S&B Foods, too the victory in 33:58.  It was third consecutive win for Karoki, who won 2009 and 2010 edition of the Chiba Cross Country as a high school student. Kenyan Martin Mathathi, who also runs for a Japanese corporate team, Suzuki Motors, was second, and Charles Ndirango, a Kenyan high school student, who is studying at Japanese high school in Hiroshima, finished third. 

The first Japanese in the race was Tetsuya Yoroizaka of Meiji University.  He was the third fastest in the Hakone Ekiden on 2 January and the second fastest at the Inter-Prefectural men’s Ekiden on 23 January, both at the longest stage.  Another Kenyan running for Japanese corporate team, Jacob Wanjuki, was fourth, while one of the pre-race favourites, Yuki Sato was sixth overall, but more importantly he was second Japanese, and thus he could qualify for the World Cross team.

Niiya, a former high school sensation, finished well ahead of Hanae Tanaka, the best collegiate runner in Japan at the moment. Niiya is coached by the legendary Yoshio Koide, who guided Naoko Takahashi to Olympic Gold and the World Record.  Nanae Kuwashiro, a teammate of Olympic marathon gold medallist Mizuki Noguchi finished third in the race. 

Junior races -

Genki Yagisawa, who was second at 1500m in the Japanese Inter-High School Track and Field Championships, won the junior men’s 8Km race with 23:59.  He was followed closely by Yuma Hattori, who was third in the 10Km stage one of the Japanese High School Ekiden Championships, who in turn was followed by Takashi Ichida, who was second in the same stage one at the High School Ekiden Championships. 

Suga, who recorded the fastest time in the first stage of last December’s Japanese High School Ekiden Championships, won the junior women’s 5Km race with 16:08, 15 seconds ahead of Yuriko Kosaki, who was fourth in the same stage of High School Ekiden Championships. They were followed closely by Tomoka Kimura, who was sixth at 1500m in the Japanese Inter-High School Track and Field Championships.

Held in the Showa Woods of Chiba, the races were one of the Japanese qualifying competitions for the upcoming World Cross Country Championships. The Japanese team will be announced after the Fukuoka Cross Country (26) at the end of the month.

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF

Leading Results:
Men’s 12Km   (World Cross qualifying race)
1) Bidan Karoki (KEN)  33:58
2) Martin Mathathi (KEN)  34:22
3) Charles Ndirango (KEN) 34:29     high school runner
4) Tetsuya Yoroizaka   35:23
5) Jacob Wanjuki (KEN)  35:24
6) Yuki Sato   35:38
7) Tsubasa Hayakawa  35:39
8) Hiroyoshi Umegae  35:40 

Men’s 4Km
1) Takehiko Onishi  11:32
2) Aoi Matsumoto  11:34
3) Masahiro Takaya 11:41

Women’s 8Km   (World Cross qualifying race)
1) Hitomi Niiya   25:53
2) Hanae Tanaka  26:33
3) Nanae Kuwashiro 26:41
4) Akane Yabushita  26:48
5) Korei Omata  26:55
6) Ayaka Mori  26:57 
7) Asami Kato  27:03
8) Aoi Igarashi  27:12

Junior Races:
Men’s 4Km
1) Takumi Kobayashi  12:26
2) Fusanosuke Araya  12:28

Men’s 8Km   (World Cross qualifying race)  
1)  Genki Yagisawa   23:59
2) Yuma Hattori   24:01
3) Takashi Ichida  24:05
4) Yuki Arimura  24:05
5) Kazuma Kubota  24:07
6) Kota Murayama  24:12
7) Ken Yokote   24:13

Women’s 5Km   (World Cross qualifying race)
1) Katsuki Suga   16:08
2) Yuriko Kosaki  16:23
3) Tomoka Kimura 16:27 
4) Risa Shibuya  16:40
5) Minori Suzuki  16:44
6) Momoko Akiyama 16:44