Ryan Hall (USA) strides towards win in Chiba (Kazutaka Eguchi/Agence SHOT) © Copyright
General News

Hall family double, as USA take three wins at Chiba Cross Country

The 41st annual Chiba Cross Country meeting was held today in the “Showa no Mori” in Chiba, Japan.  The Chiba event, along with Japan’s other annual IAAF cross country permit meeting, the Fukuoka Cross Country which was held two weeks ago, are the selection races for the Japanese team for the 34th IAAF World Cross Country Championships which take place in Fukuoka, 1 – 2 April 2006. 

However, away from the domestic selection battle it was an excellent day for members of the USA national squad currently in Japan preparing for the World Cross. In the senior races, there was a triple triumph for USA, as Ryan Hall and his wife Sara Hall won the men’s 12Km and women’s 6Km respectively, and Jorge Torres took the men’s 4km. 

MEN - 12km

Ryan who exactly a month a go had surprised defending champion Dathan Ritzenhein in the US Cross Country Championships, was running only the second 12km cross country of his career. Finishing second was Mika Jeru of Kenya, who was also runner-up in the men’s 10Km in the Fukuoka Cross Country. Jeru attends Sendai Ikue High School in Japan. 

Ian Dobson, who was fifth in the US World Cross Trials 4Km, was third.  The first Japanese in the race was Masato Imai, who was fifth in the Fukuoka XC, while Kensuke Takezawa, who was third in there, followed in fifth. 

MEN - 4km

Japan’s Kazuyoshi Tokumoto, who won the men’s 10Km race in Fukuoka, finished second in the men’s 4Km today behind USA’s Jorge Torres, 25, who had finished second behind Hall in the USA national cross country.  Kazuyoshi’s second place is sure to enhance his chance to be selected for either or even both the short and long course World Cross teams for Japan. Yuichiro Ueno, one of the most promising young Japanese runners, was third.

WOMEN - 6km 

Sara Hall, who had finished sixth in the 4km at the US nationals and like her husband is in the USA team for the World Cross Country Championships, took victory in the women’s 6km ahead of Yumi Sato of Japan. Sato, who on the track was second at 10,000m and third at 5000m in the 2005 Asian Championships, had finished eighth in the Fukuoka Cross Country two weeks ago, and so has likely secured her selection for the Japanese team.

Kayo Sugihara and Yoshimi Ozaki, who finished fifth and second respectively at the Fukuoka Cross Country, finished third and fourth respectively in Chiba. Like Sato they too enhanced their chance to be selected for the team.  Megumi Oshima, who was tenth at the Marathon in the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, finished sixth behind Ruth Wanjiru of Kenya, who runs for Hitachi.  Oshima was fourth in Fukuoka.   

Junior races

The junior women’s race may be the most important race from the Japanese perspective, for it is maybe their only medal hope at the World Cross Country Championships in two weeks time.  Two big names – Yuriko Kobayashi and Hitomi Niiya – who missed the Fukuoka race two weeks ago, ran well. Kobayashi, the silver medallist at 1500m in the 2005 World Youth Championships, won the junior women’s race, while Niiya, the bronze medallist at the 2005 World Youth Championships, who led during the early part of the race finished third.

Megumi Kinukawa, 16, who was the surprise winner of the Fukuoka Cross Country two weeks ago, again provided the upset by splitting the more favoured pair by taking second. It should be noted that while Kobayashi and Niiya have 3000m track personal bests of 8:52.33 and 9:08.86 respectively, Kinukawa’s best is only 9:21.45. 

Kazue Kojima finished fourth, while Rie Takayoshi finished fifth. In the Fukuoka two weeks ago, Kojima finished eleventh, while Takayoshi finished twelfth. 

Yuta Takahashi won the junior men’s race, while Tsuyoshi Ugachi, who finished fourth in Fukuoka was second.  Takuya Fukatsu, who finished second in Fukuoka Cross, was third. 

NOTE: The Japanese team for the World Cross Country Championships will be announced on Monday (20). 

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF


Men's 12Km
1) Ryan Hall (USA)  35:22
2) Mika Jeru (KEN)  35:39
3) Ian Dobson  (USA)  35:46
4) Masato Imai  35:48
5) Kensuke Takezawa  35:51
6) Tomoyuki Sato 35:54
7) Makoto Tobimatsu 35:59
8) Terukazu Omori  36:12
9) Kazuki Ikenaga  36:15
10) Koichiro Nagata 36:17

Men's 4Km
1) Jorge Torres (USA)  10:55
2) Kazuyoshi Tokumoto  10:59
3) Yuichiro Ueno 11:10
4) Kazuhiro Maeda  11:10
5) Ryo Yamamoto  11:21
6) Kazuharu Takai  11:24
7) Takeshi Arisumi  11:24
8) Osamu Ibata  11:25
9) Tsukasa Morita  11:26
10) Toshihiro Iwasa  11:29

Women's 6Km
1) Sara Hall (USA)    19:12
2) Yumi Sato   19:18
3) Kayo Sugihara  19:20
4) Yoshimi Ozaki  19:21
5) Ruth Wanjiru (KEN)  19:24
6) Megumi Oshima  19:41
7) Mika Yoshikawa  19:47
8) Michiko Ogawa  19:47
9) Shiori Ishiyama  19:48

Junior Men 8Km
1) Yuta Takahashi   24:26
2) Tsuyoshi Ugachi   24:28
3) Takuya Fukatsu  24:30
4) Takafumi Yanase   24:31
5) Kodai Matsumoto   24:35
6) Yusuke Takabayashi  24:36
7) Keisuke Tanaka 24:36
8) Kazuya Watanabe  24:36
9) Takahiro Mori  24:36

Junior Women 5Km
1) Yuriko Kobayashi 16:07
2) Mekumi Kinukawa  16:11
3) Hitomi Niiya   16:16
4) Kazue Kojima   16:17
5) Rie Takayoshi   16:19
6) Yuko Nohara   16:20
7) Aimi Horikoshi   16:20
8) Akane Wakita   16:21
9) Chisato Osaki  16:29