Battling windy conditions, Daichi Sawano outdueled World indoor champion Brad Walker in the Pole Vault at the Shizuoka International meeting, the highlight of a pair of competitions in Shizuoka and Hiroshima, Japan, on Sunday (29) and Monday (30).
5.75m leap for Sawano
Fitting for a meeting in which Sergey Bubka leaped a World record 6.07m in 1991 – Seppo Raty of Finland also extended the World record in the Javelin to 91.98m at the same meeting 16 years ago – it was the Pole Vault that took centre stage, and it was Sawano, who raised the national record to 5.83 at this meeting two years ago, who emerged triumphant.
The showdown began at 5.60m, when both the rising Japanese star and Walker needed two attempts before moving on to 5.75m. Despite suffering from a severe cramp, Sawano continued to jump and took the competition with a third attempt clearance. Although the bar fell, officials later confirmed that it was the strong wind that knocked it down, giving Sawano credit for a clearance equalling his season’s best from last year.
“The height of 5.75 was my last season’s best, so it is good to match that height in this early season meet,” Sawano said. “I had a problem with a cramp again, but I am glad that I was still able to go on and win the meet. I was definitely helped by the presence of Brad in the competition. I will compete with him in Osaka again this week, so I am looking forward to the competition.” Sawano went on and took three stabs at a would-be 5.85m national record, two of which Walker described as good efforts.
“I just felt a little bit off today day,” said Walker, who finished second at the 2005 World Championships. “I couldn’t get into the groove, and was not able to vault like I had hoped. I would just like to get back to jumping 5.90 consistently and taking a shot at 6 metres and 6.04 by the time the World Championships rolls around.”
Vili over 19m again, national record for Kubokura
Valerie Vili of New Zealand produced her second 19 metre throw of the year to win th Shot Put with a 19.02m best, second thus far this season only to her own 19.47m world leader.
Also attracting some attention at the meeting’s 23rd editions was Satomi Kubokura’s 55.71 Japanese record in the full-lap hurdles race, eclipsing the previous mark of 55.89 set by Makiko Yoshida in 2003.
“Although I was able to set a national record today, I still have lots of things I need to work on, said Kubokura, who is still chasing the ‘A’ qualifying standard for Osaka. “I had a hunch that I can run 55-something today, and after today, I have confidence that I can run 54-something soon.”
In the 10,000m, Kenyan Olympian Lucy Wangui reaffirmed her hold on the No. 4 spot on the early-season world lists with her 31:32.52 solo victory. Compatriot Evelyne Kimwei was a distant second in 32:00.32.
Other highlights of the meet were American Grace Upshaw’s win in the Long Jump with a wind-aided 6.67m leap and Yuka Murofushi 56.95m victory in the women’s Discus Throw.
Both Walker and Upshaw will be training in Shizuoka for the next three days before heading to Osaka for Saturday’s World Athletics Tour stop.
Trywianska, Tamesue provide the highlights in Hiroshima
At the 41st annual Oda Memorial meeting in Hiroshima on Sunday (29), a competition commemorating the first Japanese Olympic gold medalist, triple jumper Mikio Oda, the highlight was the women’s 100m Hurdles, won by Aurelia Trywianska of Poland in 12.83.
“I just wanted to run as hard as I could and did not want to hold anything back and I did that,” said the 30-year-old Pole, a finalist at the 2003 World Championships.
Finishing second in a personal best of 13.02, just 0.02 seconds shy of the Japanese national record, was Kumiko Ikeda, known primarily as a long jumper.
“I changed my start a week ago because I was getting faster,” said the 26-year-old who extended the national record in the Long Jump to 6.86m last year. “I ran with my new start for the first time in the race.” While she plans to focus solely on the jump on the road to the World Championships, she said she’ll give the hurdles race another try before the end of the season. “I am so close to the national record, so I’d like to try for it.”
Home win for Tamesue
In front on a crowd of 12,000, Dai Tamesue took the flat 400m after a strong homestretch drive in 46.90.
“I didn’t think I could win, so I am very happy,” the two-time World Championships bronze medallist in the 400m Hurdles said. “Also I was able to hold on well at the end of the race, which is very good. This is a good confidence builder for the final sprint after the tenth hurdle of the 400m Hurdles. Tamesue will make his debut in his specialty at Sunday’s Osaka Grand Prix.
Elsewhere, Yukiko Akaba sprinted away from the field with 300 metres to go win the 5000m in 15:27.95.
“I was not confident with my sprint, so I decided to go early,” said Akaba, who has a 15:11.17 to her credit and who recently returned to competition after having a baby last August.
Finishing second was Megumi Kinukawa in 15:30.25, a high school sensation who cracked the ‘A’ standard at 10,000m a week ago.
Other notable names who won their specialty were Nobuharu Asahara, who won the 100m in wind-assisted 10.18; Masato Naito who won the 110m Hurldes in 13.64; and Yuka Murofushi in the women’s Hammer throw (64.60m).
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Select results From Oda Memorial, Hiroshima, 29 April:
1. Nobuharu Asahara 10.18
2. Shigeyuki Kojima 10.40
1. Dai Tamesue 46.90
2. Yoshihiro Horigome 46.96
3. Yuki Yamaguchi 47.02
1. Daniel Mwangi (KEN) 13:43.95
2. Kazuharu Takai 13:44.12
1. Micah Njeru (KEN) 28:20.77
2. Paul Kuira (KEN) 28:22.93
3. Willy Kimtai (KEN) 28:45.01
1. Masato Naito 13.64
2. Tasuku Naito 13.73
3. Yuji Ohashi 13.89
1. Takanori Sugibayashi 16.36m (1.7m/s)
2. Kenta Bell (USA) 16.20m (1.1m/s)
1. Hiroaki Doi 72.66m
1. Asami Tanno 53.29
2. Mayu Kida 54.96
1. Ayako Jinouchi 2:06.16
2. Saori Yamashita 2:06.51
3. Miki Nishimura 2:07.48
4. Yuriko Kobayashi 2:08.00
1. Yukiko Akaba 15:27.95
2. Megumi Kinukawa 15:30.25
3. Selly Kaptich Chepyego (KEN) 15:30.37
4. Yoko Shibui 15:30.71
5. Yoshimi Ozaki 15:33.40
6. Hitomi Niiya 15:34.35
1. Aurelia Trywianska (POL) 12.83
2. Kumiko Ikeda 13.02
3. Fiona Cullen (AUS) 13.08
1. Minori Hayakari 10:11.11
2. Haruna Mori 10:11.39
1. Takayo Kondo 4.20m
2. Ikuko Nishikori 4.10m
1. Fumiyo Yoshida 13.50m (1.0m/s)
1. Yuka Murofushi 64.60m
2. Masumi Aya 61.35m
Select results from the Shizuoka International, Shizuoka, 30 April:
1. Yusuke Ishizuka 20.97
2. Mitsuru Hasegawa 21.02
3. J. J. Johnson (USA) 21.14
1. Jeffrey Riseley (AUS) 3:41.60
2. Fumikazu Kobayashi 3:42.18
1. Josphat Ndambiri (KEN) 13:18.49 meet record
2. John Kariuki (KEN. 13:29.55
3. Charles Kamathi (KEN) 13:40.35
1. Masahira Yoshikata 50.10
2. Mahau Sugimachi (BRA) 50.11
3. Naohiro Kawakita 50.17
1. Hikaru Tsuchiya 2.18m
2. Kazuki Tabata 2.15m
3. Tomohiro Nomura 2.15m
1. Daichi Sawano 5.75m
2. Brad Walker (USA) 5.60m
1. Yohei Sugai 7.87m 3.1m/s
2. Masaki Morinaga 7.76m 2.2m/s
1. Shigeo Hatakeyama 56.39m
2. Keita Akimoto 52.51m
1. Yukifumi Murakami 75.61m
2. Ken Arai 72.50m
1. Sally Mclellan (AUS) 11.42
2. Momoko Takahashi 11.55
3. Saori Kitakaze 11.63
1. Lucy Wangui (KEN) 31:32.52 meet record
2. Evelyne Kimwei (KEN) 32:00.32
3. Kayo Sugihara 32:18.37
4. Ruth Wanjiru (KEN) 32:21.04
5. Noriko Matsuoka 32:41.07
6. Mai Endo 32:44.03
7. Yuki Kazama 32:52.34
8. Yukako Goto 32:53.02
1. Satomi Kubokura 55.71 National record
2. Sayaka Aoki 58.89
3. Makiko Yoshida 58.98
1. Miyuki Aoyama 1.80m
2. Kiyoka Fujisawa 1.77m
1. Grace Upshaw (USA) 6.67m 3.2m/s
2. Maho Hanaoka 6.64m 3.6m/s
3. Saeko Okayama 6.47m 3.0m/s
1. Valerie Vili (NZL) 19.02m meet record
1. Yuka Murofushi 56.95m
1. Yuko Kojima 54.34m