With their victories and ‘A’ standards, five athletes qualified for the World Championships to highlight the second day of the Japanese National Championships in Osaka. International stars Koji Murofushi, Dai Tamesue, Shingo Suetsugu, Masato Naito and Daichi Sawano will all return to Nagai Stadium in August.
Murofushi, the reigning Olympic champion, easily won the Hammer Throw title for a record 13th straight years with a throw of 79.24m, which was achieved on his final throw. Although fans may have been disappointed, after the competition Murofushi said, “It was my first competition, so I was bit nervous. My goal today was to throw somewhere around 78-80m, so I am right on the target. In July and August I like to re-work on the details on the technique again.”
Tamesue out-duels Narisako in the homestretch
An expected showdown between Tamesue and Kenji Narisako in the 400m Hurdles did not disappoint anybody. After a fast start by Tamesue, Narisako caught up with him by the fourth barrier. From then on, Tamesue and Narisako ran side by side until the final hurdle. Tamesue looked very determined at the end and was able to pull ahead convincingly in the last 10 metres.
“He (Narisako) often beat me when the race is close at the end, so I am happy to win here today,” said Tamesue, who clocked 48.87. “I think working on my speed last season really helped me today.”
Sixth title for Sawano
“Air” Sawano won the men’s Pole Vault for the sixth time, thus making his third World Championships team. After winning the title with a clearance of 5.50m on his first attempt, Sawano cleared 5.65m on his second, which was his limit for the day.
“Because I did not compete well in Europe I was bit worried,” Sawano said. “I am now relieved to make the team. One good thing was that I did not get any cramps during the competition.”
As expected, Naito, Suetsugu and Asami Tanno won their specialties convincingly. Naito pulled away convincingly in the last half of the race to win the 110m Hurdles in 13.55, a new championships record.
“After recording 13.58 in the semi, I thought I might be able to set a national record in the final,” Naito said. Although it was not to be, Naito concluded, “I am rounding into shape, so I hope to make the final in the World Championships.”
Suetsugu, who led from wire to wire, pulled ahead strongly in the end to win the 200m in 20.20.
“I felt a wind against me, so I just concentrated on winning,” said Suetsugu, who finished 0.32 seconds ahead of Shinji Takahira.
National 400m record holder Asami Tanno won her specialty easily.
“I was shooting for a national record, so I am disappointed,” Asano said. “The first half of my race went well, but not the second half, so I need work on it.”
Like the men’s 5000m a day before, Takayuki Matsumiya surged away from the competition, this time with 1000m to go, and easily won the men’s 10,000m to complete a distance double for the second straight year. Because he has not yet cleared a standard, he won’t be named to the team right away.
“I am planning to chase the standard next week at the Hokuren distance meet,” Matsumiya said. “I’ll probably get one chance each, at 5000m and 10000m.”
Upsets are the norm in the championships setting and it was no different in the nationals in Osaka. In the women’s 1500m Mika Yoshikawa pulled away from Yuriko Kobayashi on the final home-straight to win in 4:16.80.
“I was thinking about when to surge from 500m from the finish,” said Yoshikawa, who upset Kobayashi, the national record holder, for the second straight year. “I believed in myself and went with 150m to go.”
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
1. Shingo Suetsugu 20.20
2. Shinji Takahira 20.52
3. Naoko Tsukahara 20.64
1. Fumikazu Kobayashia 3:49.86
1. Takayuki Matsumiya 28:47.37
2. Kensuke Takizawa 28:56.27
3. Hideaki Date 28:58.69
1. Masato Naito 13.55
2. Kenji Yahata 13.75
1. Dai Tamesue 48.87
2. Kenji Narisako 49.01
3. Masahira Yoshikata 49.53
1. Daichi Sawano 5.65m
1. Takanori Sugibayashi 16.90m (0.2m/s)
1. Koji Murofushi 79.24m
1. Momoko Takahashi 11.61
1. Asami Tanno 52.48
2. Satomi Kubokura 53.08
1. Mika Yoshikawa 4:16.80
2. Nanae Kuwashiro 4:17.94
3. Yuriko Kobayashi 4:18.65
1. Mami Ishino 13.31
1. Fumiyo Yoshida 13.16m (0.0m/s)
1. Yoko Toyonaga 15.67m
1. Emika Yoshida 57.19m