Statue of Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Olympic Marathon champion outside Nagaragawa stadium, Gifu, Japan (Ken Nakamura) © Copyright
General News

Kenyans are the double – Japan Corporate Team Track & Field Champs

The Japan Corporate Team Track & Field Championships were held from September 21 to 23 in Gifu, Japan, the home town of Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Olympic Marathon champion. As visitors approach the Nagaragawa stadium, the venue of the championships, the statue of the Olympic champion welcomes them.  

The main protagonists of the championships were Kenyans athletes running for corporate sponsored track teams in Japan.  Josephat Ndambiri, who finished fifth at 10,000m in the World Championships in Osaka, won both the 10,000m (27:31.61) and 5000m (13:20.30) here in Gifu. In order to accomplish the feat, he had to run the 10,000m on Friday night (21), a heat of 5000m on Saturday morning and then the final of 5000m in Saturday night (22).  Despite the demanding schedule and sweltering heat, with temperatures above 30C, Ndambiri won them all. 

Martin Mathathi,  who was the bronze medallist at the World Championships 10,000m, was also aiming for a double - in his case, 1500m and 5000m.  On Saturday’s 5000m, Mathathi took over the lead before 2000m and pushed the pace in his attempt to shake off Ndambiri. However, Ndambiri easily outkicked Mathathi in the final lap. Mathathi easily won the 1500m on Sunday afternoon (23) leading from gun to tape.

Philes Ongori, who was eighth in the women’s 10,000m in the World Championships in Osaka, won both 5000m and 1500m in Gifu.  After easily winning the 5000m in 15:21.65, Ongori said, “I was aiming for 15:15 in 5000m.  Tomorrow I will try to run 1500m in 4:15.” 

Ongori also went through a demanding schedule.  She had to run a heat and the final of 5000m in Saturday and heat and the final of 1500m on Sunday.  In Sunday’s 1500m, like Saturday’s 5000m, Ongori led almost from the start.  In the 5000m, Ongori shook off all her competitions early but in 1500m, Mika Yoshikawa stayed with Ongori almost all the way.  “I knew she (Yoshikawa) was with me, but with 300m to go, I was confident I can win the race,” said Ongori just before the award ceremony.  At the end Ongori slowly drew away from Yoshikawa and won in 4:17.99. Ongori covered the last lap in 67.5 seconds.

Many of the top Japanese were missing from the championships.  For example, Kumiko Ikeda and Koji Murofushi were in Stuttgart to compete in the World Athletics Final, while some other athletes, Nobuharu Asahra, for example, ran the heat but then pulled of the final. 

Kenji Narisako, who missed the 400m Hurdles final of the World Championships by 1/100th of seconds, perhaps, was the biggest Japanese name in the championships. He won his specialty, 400mH, in 48.99. “I kept on training after the World Championships, so I was fit and confident,” said Narisako.

Satomi Kubokura won the women’s 400m Hurdles on Saturday and then came back on Sunday to win the 400m as well. Many of the races were marred with head wind. Shinji Takahira, who ran the 200m in Osaka, won the 200m in 20.86 into the 1.5m/s wind here in Gifu. “It felt lot stronger than 1.5m/s,” said Takahira after the race. 

Yoshitaka Iwamizu won the 3000m Steeplechase in the Corporate Team Track & Field Championships for the first time. Hiroyoshi Umegae took off with little less than two laps go. “I knew Iwamizu was going to take off with little more than a lap to go.  So I had to go first to run away from him,” said Umegae after the race.

Although he opened the gap on the chase pack, Iwamizue came out of the chase pack to chased Umegae in the back-straight. With one lap to go, Iwamizu took the lead and the race was over.  “Because of the timing of the championships, I always ran 5000m or 10,000m in the late season meets.  I never ran the 3000mSC in the corporate team Track & Field Championships because I am (usually) done with 3000mSC after the big championships,” said Iwamizu after the competition.  

Yuki Yamazaki, whose race (50Km Race Walk) was abruptly disrupted by the officials in Osaka, won the 10,000m track walk in Gifu.  He is now coached by Tsugumichi Suzuki, famed marathon coach, who guided Junko Asari to the 1993 World Championships in the marathon. “Except for the technical aspects like walking form, coaching marathon runners and coaching 50Km walker is very similar.  His training volume has nearly tripled since I started coaching him,” confirmed Tsugumichi Suzuki.  Yamazaki’s future is bright. 

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF


RESULTS

Friday 21 September

Men

10,000m  race 1
Hidekazu Sato  29:08.28
Yuki Abe  29:10.11 

race 2
Noriaki Takahashi  29:09.33
Masahiko Takeyasu  29:13.80

race 3
Josphat Ndambiri (KEN)  27:31.61
Ngatany Gideon  (KEN)  27:35.34
Girma Asefa  (ETH)  28:11.25
Silas Njui (KEN)  28:12.70
Daniel Mwangi (KEN)  28:12.79
Atsushi Sato 28:13.12
Joseph Gitau  (KEN)  28:14.60
Willy Kimtai (KEN)  28:17.84 

Women

10,000m  race 1
Maya Nishio  33:08.30
Yukari Sahaku  33:12.85
Remi Nakazato  33:19.72
Ayumi Hayashi  33:25.78
Naoko Hashimoto 33:29.87 

Race 2
Evelyne Kimwei (KEN) 31:36.20
Lucy Wangui  (KEN) 31:50.41
Yukiko Akaba  31:51.58
Yoshimi Ozaki  32:13.95
Akane Wakita  32:14.44
Yoko Miyauchi  32:15.75
Yurika Nakamura  32:24.65
Yoshiko Fujinaga  32:53.11
Mai Endo  32:59.09
Mika Okunaga  33:12.61
Kazue Ogoshi  33:16.19
Hiroko Miyauchi  33:18.63
Kiyomi Ogawa  33:19.55

----------------------

Saturday 22 September

Men

200m -1.5m/s
 Shinji Takahira  20.86

800m
 Hiroshi Sasano  1:50.36

5000m  heat 1
 Martin Mathathi  (KEN)   14:20.59

Heat 2
 Josphat Ndambiri (KEN)  14:12.54
 Masatoshi Ibata   14:13.57 

Heat 3
 Bekele Gebrsadick  (ETH)  14:05.06
 John Kariuki  (KEN)  14:05.74 

Final
Josphat Ndambiri (KEN)  13:20.30
Martin Mathathi (KEN)  13:22.13
John Kariuki (KEN)  13:22.49
Wanjuki Jacob (KEN)  13:48.96
Hidekazu Sato  13:51.19 

Junior 5000m
Kazuki Gouda  14:34.96 

400mH
Kenji Narisako  48.99 
Takayuki Koike  49.78
Naoko Ihara  50.30
Mahau Sugimachi (BRA)  50.34

10,000mWalk
Yuki Yamazaki   41:09.19
Akihiro Sugimoto   43:00.51

HJ
 Naoyuki Daigo  2.18m

LJ
 Rikiya Saruyama  7.72m  (0.7m/s)
Daisuke Arakawa  7.62m  (0.0m/s)  (7.59m)
Hiroyuki Oishi  7.62m (1.1m/s)  (7.55m)

DT
 Shigeo Hatakeyama  57.15m

HT
Hiroaki Doi  67.31m 

Women

200m   -1.8m/s
Miki Naruse  24.42

800m
Mayu Kida  2:08.26

Junior 3000m
Chiaki Takagi  9:16.67

5000m  heat 1
Kiragu Pauline Wanguru  (KEN)  16:01.31
Mizuho Nasukawa  16:05.28 

Heat 2
Ongori Philes  (KEN)   15:46.64
Hiroko Shoi   16:05.90

Final
Ongori Philes  15:21.65
Kiragu Pauline Wanguru (KEN)  15:39.92
Yuka Kakimi  15:51.50
Chika Horie  15:56.74
Megumi Seike  15:58.31  

400mH
 Satomi Kubokura 56.71
Makiko Yoshida 58.54

5000mWalk
Mayumi Kawasaki  21:56.63

PV
Takayo Kondo  4.30m
Mami Nakano  4.20m
Ikuko Nishikori  4.20m

LJ
Saeko Okayama 6.38m  (1.1m/s)
Sachiko Masumi  6.33m (0.9m/s)

SP
Yukiko Shirai  14.52m

JT
Yuko Kojima  53.20m

----------------------

Sunday 23 September

Men

100m   -1.4m/s
 Masahide Ueno  10.50 

400m
Yoshihioro Horigome  46.39 
Mitsuhiro Sato  46.40 

Junior 1500m
Yoshiaki Shiota  3:53.13

1500m
Martin Mathathi   (KEN)   3:44.99
Kazuya Watanabe      3:46.75 

110mH  -1.3m/s
Tasuku Tanonaka  13.79 
Yuji Ohashi  14.01 

3000mSC
Yoshitaka Iwamizu  8:51.97
Hiroyoshi Umegae  8:54.30 

PV
Takehito Ariki   5.40m
Takuro Mori  5.30m

TJ
Kazyoshi Ishikawa  16.71m  (2.8m/s)  

JT
Yukifumi Murakami  76.09m
Ken Arai 73.05m 


Women


100m  -0.9m/s
Tomoko Ishida  11.82

400m
Satomi Kubokura   54.10 
Mayu Kida  54.80 

1500m
Ongori Philes  (KEN)   4:17.99
Mika Yoshikawa   4:18.57

100mH heat  2
Mami Ishino  13.32

100mH   -1.6m/s
Mami Ishino  13.45 
Yukari Yamazaki  13.93 

3000mSC
Masako Hirata  10:52.47 

HJ
Miyuki Aoyama  1.84m

TJ
Yuka Sato  12.79m (-0.5m/s)
Ryoko Misawa   12.78m  (-0.8m/s) 

DT
Yuka Murofushi  52.82m

HT
Masumi Aya  62.44m
Yuka Murofushi  58.28m