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Day One of the East Asian Games

in Osaka
K. Ken Nakamura for the IAAF

On May 23, the track & field competitions of the East Asian Games in Osaka started under rainy skies.  The East Asian Games is an Olympic style multi-sports competition among East Asian countries.  In addition, athletes from Australia are also competing as guests.   The Games in its third edition started in Shanghai, China eight years ago.  Four years ago the second edition was in Pusan, Korea. 

On the first day of track & field competitions, eight finals were contested, but the performances suffered from adverse condition.  In the men’s 10000m, Katsuhiko Hanada who was 15th at the 10,000m in the Sydney Olympics won easily with a relatively pedestrian 28:42.19.   Although the race started slow it turned into a two man race early, reports Akihiro Onishi from Nagai stadium, the stadium which hosts the Osaka GP every May.  By 3200m, only two Japanese - Hanada and Takeshi Hamano - were left in the lead pack.  Then at 6400m Hanada broke away from Hamano, thus becoming the third Japanese 10,000m Champion at East Asian Games.   

In the first two editions of the Games, Nozomi Saho and Toshinari Takaoka won the 10,000m for Japan at Shanghai and Pusan respectively.  Said Hanada after the race: “ I was not in top shape, so I am relieved to win the race.  I will not be running the national championships (in June), but will start training for the fall marathon.” 

The women’s 10,000m also started slow, but all six runners who started the race stayed together and passed 5000m in 16:34.7.  After another 1400m at a slow pace, Yoshiko Fujinaga, a bronze medallist at the 1999 World Cross Country junior division, surged, and 400m later two runners - Ikumi Nagayama and Yanmei Dong of China- were with her.  The seventh kilometre was covered in 3:08.3.   At the end it was Dong who surged at 9300m.  Although Fujinaga lost contact immediately, Nagayama, a 1998 1500m national champion, was able to cover the move by Dong.  The next to last lap was covered in a sizzling 68 seconds.  Dong continued to push the pace, and it was too much for Nagayama who let go with one lap remaining.  Dong, who has a 10,000m best of 30:38.09, covered the final lap in 67 seconds and won comfortably.    She covered the last kilometre in 2:55.  

In the women’s long jump, Kumiko Ikeda, a bronze medallist at the 2000 World Junior Championships jumped 6.52m, a personal best, in the first round to take the lead.   Ikeda was a precocious talent who jumped 6.19m as a 14 year old in 1995.   However, for the next four years, she could not improve her PR.  Her turning point came in the year 2000 when she recorded a national junior record of 6.43m in the World Junior Championships.   Earlier this season, Ikeda had improved her PR to 6.50m.  Although Ikeda failed to improve her first round jump, having fouled in four of her next five attempts, she remained in the lead until the sixth and the final round.   But on her final jump, Yingnan Guan of China, a 1996 World Junior long jump champion, recorded 6.61m to take the lead; Ikeda had to settle for the second place.    After the competition Ikeda told Tatsuo Terada “The judge measured my foul jumps.  My second jump was 6.70m, and my third was 6.66m.  I was about 1-2cm and 5cm over the takeoff line on my second and third jumps respectively.”  

The men’s PV was won by Manabu Yokoyama with 5.60m.  However, he was far from a happy winner because he barely cleared both 5.50m and 5.60m.  For both clearances, although it did not fall, the bar was shaking wildly after his successful clearance.  After winning the competition at 5.60m, he raised the bar to 5.71m, a national record height, but failed in all three attempts.  After the competition Tatsuo Terada reports that Yokoyama said:

“I cannot think of vaulting 5.80m when I not vaulting well. I am not happy with my vaults.”  


1)         Clinton Mackevicius (AUS)  3:44.87    (guest)
2)          Mikhail Kolganov  (KAZ)   3:46.43      New Games Record
3)          Du-Haeng Lee  (KOR)  3:49.63
4)          Junji Konomi  (JPN) 3:51.13
1)          Katsuhiko Hanada (JPN)    28:42.19   New Games Record
2)          Takeshi Hamano  (JPN)    28:50.20
3)          Keun-Hyung Cho  (KOR)  29:33.23

1)         Manabu Yokoyama (JPN)  5.60m
2)         Paul Burgess  (AUS)  5.50m    (guest)
3)         Gang Xu (CHN)  5.20m
4)         Satoru Yasuda (JPN)  5.20m 

1)          Jingnan Li (CHN)  4:12.13
2)          Elizabeth Walsham (AUS)  4:15.58     (guest)
3)          Ikuko Tamura (JPN)  4:16.09
4)         Lixin Lan (CHN)  4:21.81
5)         Yukari So  (JPN)   4:23.65   (junior)

1)         Yanmei Dong (CHN)   32:30.35
2)         Ikumi Nagayama (JPN)   32:36.15
3)         Yoshiko Fujinaga  (JPN)   32:47.2
4)         Ji Li (CHN)  33:06.71

1)         Yingnan Guan (CHN)  6.61m (1.3m/s)
2)         Kumiko Ikeda  (JPN)   6.52m  (0.1m/s)
3)         Maho Hanaoka  (JPN)   6.38m   (2.2m/s)

1)         Qiumei Li  (CHN)   60.99m
2)         Monique Nacsa (AUS)   57.45m   (guest)
3)         Miyoko Nakanishi    (JPN) 55.28m
4)         Christy Thiel  (AUS)   53.50m  (guest)
5)         Yuka Murofushi   (JPN)  50.87m

1)         Brownyn Eagles (AUS)   67.08m    (guest)
2)         Wei Zhao (CHN)  63.98m
3)         Yinghui Liu (CHN) 63.12m
4)         Masumi Aya  (JPN)   60.27m