Asami Tanno of Japan (Rikujyo Kyogi Magazine) © Copyright

Japanese Junior Championships report

The Japanese Junior Championships were held in the Universiade Stadium in Kobe, the site of 1985 World University Games.  The annual championships have special meaning this year as the selection of the Japanese team for the upcoming IAAF World Junior Championships is largely determined from the results of these championships. 

Two national junior records were set – in the men’s Hammer Throw and Decathlon.  In addition, a national high school record was set in the women’s hammer throw.  Akira Endo, who leads the junior performance list this season, won the men’s Hammer.  In the process he improved the national junior record (with 6Kg hammer) to 65.36m, improving the previous record, 65.15m, set by Nobuhiko Sugimura in the 2003 national junior championships. 

In the Decathlon, Daisuke Ikeda, one of the most promising all-round athletes, set a national junior record of 7145 points, improving the record of 7076, which was set by Akira Kano in the 2002 Asian Junior Championships. 

Ikeda, who was 14th in the Octathlon at the 2003 World Youth Championships, made his Decathlon debut in November 2003, scoring 6714 points.  He improved his score to 6862 in May, which was second highest score by a high school student.  At the time Ikeda said, “My goal was to score 7000 points, which would qualify me for the national senior championship.” It was not to be, but last weekend he has reached his other goal, that of setting the high school decathlon record. 

Miki Yamashiro, best high school Hammer and Discus thrower in the nation, won the women’s hammer throw with a national high school record of 52.95m, thus improving her own high school record 52.94m, which was set in April. She thus made an improvement of over two metres on the previous record of 50.78m.   

Eight athletes successfully defended the title they won last year.  These include Yoshihiro Shimodaira in the 800m, Yuki Imai in the Long Jump, Koki Imoto in the Shot Put, Kazunori Onitsuka in the Javelin Throw, Saori Kitakaze in the women’s 100m, Asami Tanno in the women’s 400m, Yayoi Minamino in the women’s Pole Vault, and Chiharu Yamamoto in the women’s Triple Jump. 

Yuki Imai won the Long Jump at the national junior championships for the third year in a row.  Imai is also the reigning national inter-high school champion at Long Jump, having defeated the 2003 World Youth Champion Naohiro Shinada in the epic competition (after Shinada took the lead in the fifth round with 7.69m, Imai jumped 7.70m in the sixth round) last August.    

The 2000 national junior high school and 2003 national inter-high school champion at 100m, Saori Kitakaze dominated the women’s 100m as expected.  She led from wire to wire to win the national junior championships for the second consecutive year.  “Her biomechanic made dramatic improvement this year,” says her coach.  “Whereas she took 60 steps last year, she can now cover 100m in 57 steps.” 

The reigning national champion and national record holder Asami Tanno led from start to finish to win the women’s 400m by 1.88 seconds.  Tanno is on a roll since last season.  Last summer Tanno, won the national junior championships at 400m and then followed it up with the double victory at both the 200m and 400m in the national inter-high school championships. This year, Tanno started off the indoor season auspiciously by setting a national junior indoor record at 200m. After winning the national championships at 400m, Tanno recorded 52.88 in the Asian Junior Championships in Malaysia.  It was not only the national junior record, but also the national 400m record. 

Yayoi Minamino won the women’s Pole Vault as expected.  However, having missed badly twice at 3.80m, she barely cleared it on her third attempt.  For Minamino who has recorded 4.10m this season, 3.80m should have been a routine height.  If Minamino wants to do well in the World Junior Championships she needs to recapture the earlier form soon. 

In the women’s 5000m, Chiaki Iwamoto who won the national junior title two years ago defeated the defending national junior champion Yuko Nohara.  Iwamoto set steady even pace, passing 1000m in 3:09, and 2000m in 6:17.  By 2400m she started to breake away from the lead pack.  Yuko Nohara, World Youth bronze medallist, started to chase Iwamoto and caught up with her by 3000m (9:26).  However, Nohara was left behind again by 3600m.  Although Nohara once again starting to close the gap on Iwamoto, at the end Iwamoto won by almost a second in the championships record,15:43.17. 

A year after 2003 World Youth Championships, Hikaru Tsuchiya, Go Tanabe and Azusa Ichiki made great stride against the older competitions.  Hikaru Tsuchiya, 2003 World Youth bronze medallist in the High Jump, won the national junior championships by 12cm with 2.15m.  He drew big applause from the stand.  Go Tanabe, who was 4th at 400m Hurdles in the 2003 World Youth Championships won his specialty by taking the lead at the 8th hurdle.  Although Teppei Suzuki, double 2003 national inter-high school champion at both 400m and 400m Hurdles, tried to close the gap, he fell short by 0.31 seconds.  In the women 100m Hurdles Azusa Ichiki, who failed to make the final in Sherbrooke last year, was in the lead by the 5th hurdle.  She continued to increase her lead for the rest of the race and won by 1/4 seconds. 

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
assisted by Akihiro Onishi

The report is dedicated to the memory of Masahiro Hatta, former editor in chief of Track & Field Magazine of Japan, who was instrumental in promoting junior athletics in Japan. 

Highlight of Results:  
100m  -0.4m/s  
1) Shinya Saburi  10.74
2) Naoki Tsukahara  10.75

200m   0.4m/s  
1) Yuzo Kanemaru  21.21
2) Hiroyuki Noda  21.26
3) Naoki Tsukahra  21.47

1) Yudai Sasaki  47.17
2) Kazunori Ota  47.25

1) Yoshihiro Shimodaira  1:51.10
2) Takanori Matsumoto  1:51.46

1) Kazuya Takahashi  3:49.22
2) Hidehito Tanamine  3:51.61

1) Yuki Sato  14:14.63
2) Hidekazu Sato  14:14.92
3) Satoru Kitamura  14:17.24

110mH  -2.0m/s  
1) Tomoki Nakamura  14.38
2) Hironori Katayama  14.49

1) Go Tanabe  51.43
2) Teppei Suzuki  51.74 

1) Shinya Morimune  8:56.72
2) Tsukasa Kawarai  8:58.58

1) Kazuya Kaitani  45:32.98
2) Shoichi Tanoue  46:55.33

1) Hikaru Tsuchiya  2.15m
2) Taishi Otani  2.03m

1) Naoya Kawaguchi  5.10m
2) Masato Hodotsuka  5.00m 

1)  Yuki Imai  7.58m   0.1m/s
2)   Shotaro Nakai  7.41m  2.0m/s

1) Shinya Sogame  15.28m  -0.6m/s
2) Kota  Sakuma  15.22m  -0.1m/s

SP   6Kg 
1) Koki Imoto  17.25m
2) Akira Nakayama  16.24m

DT   1.75Kg  
1) Daisuke Ochi  48.55m
2) Kazumasa Yomogida  47.41m

HT  6Kg     
1)   Akira Endo   65.36m         National Jr rec
2)   Masatoshi Morimoto  62.14m

1) Kazunori Onitsuka  68.60m
2) Tsubasa Imamiya  66.65m

1) Daisuke Ikeda  7145       National junior rec
2) Tadahiro Hiramatsu  6487

100m  0.3m/s  
1)  Saori Kitakaze   12.05 
2)   Momoko Takahashi  12.12

200m  -0.4m/s 
1) Saori Mabuchi  24.68
2) Azusa  Watanabe  24.86

1) Asami Tanno  54.11
2) Mako Suzuki  55.99

1)  Ayako Jinnouchi    2:06.21 
2)  Yuriko Kobayashi  2:08.28

1) Ayako Uchino  4:18.16 
2) Tomomi Yuda  4:19.59

1) Chiaki Iwamoto  15:43.17
2) Yuko Nohara  15:44.14
3) Kazue Kojima  15:59.49 

100mH  -0.0m/s  
1) Azusa Ichiki  13.87
2) Yuko Banno 14.12

1) Miki Sawada  59.29
2) Tomomi Yagihara  61.08

1) Masumi Fuchise  49.14.01
2) Kumi Otoshi  50.14.03

1) Misa Yamaguchi  1.76m
2) Maiko Wakasugi  1.73m

1) Yayoi Minamino  3.80m
2) Megumi Nakata  3.70m

1) Yukari Nakahara  6.02m  0.2m/s
2) Yuko Nakamura  5.90m  0.2m/s

1) Chiharu Yamamoto  12.33m  0.0m/s
2) Emi Katayama  12.06m  1.9m/s

1) Izumi Yoshida  14.21m
2) Kaoru Yamanobe  13.84m

1) Eriko Ogata  45.40m
2) Manami Hayashida  44.04m

1) Miki Yamashiro  52.95m    National High School record
2) Risa Fukushima  43.81m

1) Yuki Ebihara  50.78m
2) Ayako Yamazaki  50.36m
3) Emika Yoshida   49.95m

1) Chinami Yasuda  5146
2) Asayo Tomiyama  4772