23.00 Japanese national record for Chisato Fukushima in Hiroshima (PHOTO KISHIMOTO Keisuke KOITO) © Copyright
General News

Sprinters excel at the Japanese Champs

The young up and coming sprinters were the stars at the 93rd Japanese national championships, held in Hiroshima Big Arch, the venue of 1994 Asian Games, from 25 to 28 June.

The Championships doubled as a selection meet for 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Berlin, Germany (15 – 23 August). The winner of each event is automatically selected for the Berlin team provided he/she has cleared the IAAF Standard.  

National record in women’s 200m

Chisato Fukushima won the 200m with the national record of 23.00sec thus improving her recently set national record from 23.14, while her arch rival Momoko Takahashi was second with 23.19. 

Fukushima tied national 100m record (11.36) last year and competed in the Olympic Games as 20 years old. However, that was only the beginning for Fukushima.  This year, Fukushima set 100m national record (11.28 & 11.24) twice and 200m national record (23.14) once. 

“I am happy to crack the ‘A’ standard. I was concentrating on making smooth acceleration from the start,” said Fukushima after the 200m final. When asked about her rivalry with Takahashi, Fukushima said, “I hope that friendly rivalry, not just with Takahashi, but also with other sprinters, will improved our performances.” 

Momoko Takahashi won the 100m in Fukushima’s absence. Fukushima, the defending champion, pulled out of the 100m final due to an injury she picked up during the semi, where she recorded 11.36.  Takahashi is 20 years old while Fukushima turned 21 a day after setting 200m national record. Takahashi known for her great closing speed came from behind to win with 11.34. 

“I was hoping for a personal best (11.32). I was also hoping to race against Fukushima in the final, so I have a mixed feeling about the win,” said Takahashi after the 100m final. 

In the men’s sprints, Shinji Takahira won the 200m with a personal best of 20.22, cutting 0.09 seconds from his previous best of 20.31, recorded in Osaka GP. “I was secretly hoping for Suetsugu’s (national) record,” said Takahira.

The defending champion Naoki Tsukahara recorded 10.09 in both the first round heat and the semi, while Masashi Eriguchi recorded 10.07 in the semi, thus setting up for the showdown in the final. However, like women’s 100m, the showdown never materialized.  Eriguchi won the 100m in the absence of Tsukahara, because Tsukahara pulled out of the final due to an injury he picked up in the semi. Eriguchi’s winning time at the final was 10.15. 

“I am happy to win. But the race itself was not a very good one.  My start was not good because my legs were hurting, but I am satisfied with the middle part of the race. I expected to break 10.2 but not 10.1. This is a good confidence builder,” said Eriguchi.

Asuka Terada is the hottest sprint hurdler in Japan.  In the national championships, Terada set a national junior record for the 110m Hurdles in the first round heat (13.29), in the semi final (13.12) and then in the final (13.05), where she won by tenth of the second. She is now only 0.05 seconds away from the national record. 

Distance races – below par

On the other hand, the distance races at the nationals were bit disappointing. The hot weather approaching 30C, was partly responsible, but more importantly, the big name athletes did not perform to the expectation.

Kayoko Fukushi, the premier women’s distance runner in Japan finished second in 5000m and third in 10,000m, while Yuriko Kobayashi, a Beijing Olympian and the World Youth and Junior medalist, was also disappointing third at 5000m. Instead the marathon runners won women’s distance races.  Yukiko Akaba, who is selected to run the marathon in Berlin, won the women’s 10000m with a strong kick in the last 200m, while Yurika Nakamura, who was 13th at the marathon in the Beijing Olympic Games, held off challenges from Fukushi and Kobayashi to win the 5000m. 

The men’s distance races were even worse. Yuki Sato, who recently ran third fastest 10,000m by Japanese, was disappointing 8th, while three-time defending champion and 30Km world record holder Takayuki Matsumiya was 12th, both at 10,000m. The race was won by Yuki Iwai, who was described by his manager as “he ran better than expectation in the important race.”

The lone bright spot in the distance scene was a successful 1500m – 5000m double by Yuichiro Ueno.  In the 1500m, Ueno took off after 300m and stayed in the front all the way to the end holding off national record holder Fumiaki Kobayashi and broke his national championships winning streak at four.  Other long standing winning streak that came to an end was that of Hiromasa Tanaka at the Decathlon. Daisuke Ikeda won the Decathlon with 7753 points, thus clearing the “B” standard. 

Run of national titles is extended to 15 by Murofushi

Although some of the winning streak came to an end, many of the long standing winning streaks at the national championships stayed intact.  At the men’s Hammer Throw, Koji Murofushi won fifteenth straight national title. However, because Murofushi missed much of his training recently, his winning mark was only 73.26m, lowest since 1996.

“I am happy to be competing again,” said Murofushi after his first competition of the season. When asked about his recent lower back problem, Murofushi said, “I am relieved that I was able to compete at the national championships.  In the men’s javelin throw, Yukifumi Murakami won the tenth straight title, which is the second longest winning streak after Murofushi at the national championships.

Other long streaks that stayed intact are eight straight by Yuki Nakata at Heptathlon and Yuka Murofushi at women’s Discus Throw, five straight by Yuzo Kanemaru at men’s 400m and Fumiyo Yoshida at women’s Triple Jump, four straight by Minori Hayakari at women’s 3000m Steeplechase, Mika Yoshikawa at women’s 1500m and Miyuki Fukumoto at women’s High Jump.  Incidentally, Hayakari is the only ever national champion at women’s 3000m Steeplechase.

The Pole Vault scene has been quite active recently with the emerging young vaulters, who broke Daichi Sawano’s high school record (Hiroki Sasase) and collegiate record (Takafumi Suzuki and then Daiki Ogita).  However, when it came to the most important domestic meet of the year, Sawano was still supreme. He won the Pole Vault for the four straight year, when he cleared both 5.50m and 5.70m on his first attempt. 

“I knew the condition will be good in the Big Arch, so I was pointing to this meet with the personal best (national record) in mind. I was bit disappointed for not making it,” said Sawano, who missed three times at 5.85m. 

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF 
Assisted by Akihiro Onishi and Tatsuya Yamada in Hiroshima



100m    1.9m/.s
1)  Masashi Eriguchi  10.14
2)  Shintaro Kimura  10.22
3)  Shogo Arao  10.23

200m   1.3m/s
1)  Shinji Takahira  20.22 
2)  Hitoshi Saito  20.42
3)  Kenji Fujimitsu  20.55

1)  Yuzo Kanemaru  45.45
2)  Hideyuki Hirose  45.84 
3)  Yusuke Ishitsuka 46.02
4)  Yoshihiro Horigome  46.02

1)  Masato Yokota  1:48.53
2)  Hisato Suzuki  1:49.92
3)  Takeshi Kuchino  1:49.94

1)  Yuichiro Ueno  3:42.51   (59.4, 1:58.8, 2:58.8)
2)  Fumikazu Kobayashi  3:44.34
3)  Masahiro Takaya  3:45.00 

1)  Yuichiro Ueno  13:41.04 
2)  Kensuke Takezawa  13:43.77
3)  Satoru Kitamura  13:45.25 

Guest runners (non-Japanese)
Bedan Karoki (KEN)  13:35.39
Nahom Mesfin (ETH)  13:43.07

1)  Yuki Iwai  28:19.25
2)  Yusei Nakao  28:30.39 
3)  Yoshinori Oda  28:40.30
4)  Ryuji Ohno  28:41.09
5)  Takeshi Hamano  28:53.74
6)  Satoru Kitamura  28:57.40 
7)  Takeshi Makabe   28:57.51
8)  Yuki Sato  28:58.56 

Guest runners
Yakob Jarso (ETH)  28:04.20
Micah Njeru (KEN)  28:17.31 

1)  Yoshitaka Iwamizu  8:36.17
2)  Takayuki Matsuura  8:37.08
3)  Tsuyoshi Takeda  8:37.48
Final    1.6m/s 
1)  Tasuku Tanonaka  13.57 
2)  Shuto Takayuki  13.77
3)  Masato  Naito  13.81 

1)  Kenji Narisako  49.53 
2)  Kazuaki Yoshida  49.61
3)  Naohiro Kawakita  49.74  

1)  Naoyuki Daigo    2.24m
2)  Hikaru Tsuchiya    2.20m
3)  Hiromi Takahari  2.20m

1)  Daichi Sawano   5.70m  (missed thrice at 5.85m (national record))
2)  Takafumi Suzuki  5.50m
3)  Hiroki Ogita  5.40m
4)  Hiroki Sasase  5.40m 

1)  Daisuke Arakawa  8.00m  (1.5m/s)  (second best 7.96m)
2)  Yohei Sugai   8.00m  (0.6m/s)  (second best 7.89m)
3)  Rikiya Saruyama  7.91m (1.5m/s)

1)  Takanori Sugibayashi  16.45m   (2.2m/s)
2)  Yohei Kajiwara  16.36m   (1.5m/s)
3)  Kazuyoshi Ishikawa  16.19m   (1.0m/s)
4)  Yoshihiro Suzuki   16.02m  (2.3m/s) 

1)   Sotaro Yamada  18.47m
2)   Yohei Murakawa  18.11m
3)   Satoshi Hatase  17.80m

1)  Shiro Kobayashi  57.18m
2)  Shigeo Hatakeyama  56.88m
3)  Masaru Miyauchi  53.07m
1)  Koji Murofushi  73.26m  (71.33, 71.66, 72.02, 73.16, 73.26, 72.94)  15th straight national title
2)  Hiroaki Doi  69.90m
3)  Hiroshi Noguchi  67.84m 

1)  Yukifumi Murakami     78.25m
2)  Yasuo Ikeda     75.15m
3)  Yutaro Tanemoto   75.07m 

1)   Daisuke Ikeda  7753
2)   Hiromasa Tanaka  7575 
3)   Koki Someya  7301


100m   1.0m/s
1)  Momoko Takahashi  11.34 
2)  Mayumi Watanabe 11.50 
3)  Maki Wada  11.76 

200m   1.7m/s
1)  Chisato Fukushima  23.00   national record
2)  Momoko Takahashi 23.19 
3)  Kaoru Matsuda  24.03 

1)  Asami Tanno  52.96 
2)  Sayaka Aoki  53.87
3)  Mayu Sato  54.05

1)  Ayako Jinnouchi  2:04.76  
2)  Ruriko Kubo  2:04.88 
3)  Akari Kishikawa  2:05.42 

1)   Mika Yoshikawa  4:15.89   (64.6,  2:13.3,  3:24.2) 
2)  Nami Tani  4:20.66
3)  Maki Arai  4:21.39 

1)  Yurika Nakamura  15:25.31
2)  Kayoko Fukushi  15:25.49 
3)  Yuriko Kobayashi  15:26.84 
Guest runners
Felista Macharia  Wanjugu (KEN)  15:25.00
Doricah Obare (KEN)  15:28.22  

1)  Yukiko Akaba  31:57.44
2)  Yukari Sahaku  32:01.80 
3)  Kayoko Fukushi  32:04.06 
4)  Mari Ozaki  32:04.26 
5)  Noriko Matsuoka  32:13.04
6)  Yurika Nakamura  32:21.07
7)  Ryoko Kizaki   32:24.69 
8)  Yuri Kano  32:34.87 

1)  Minori Hayakari  9:45.05  (3:08.7, 6:26.3)
2)  Yoshika Tatsumi  9:58.64 
3)  Chisa Nishio  10:13.96
100mH    1.9m/s
1)  Asuka Terada   13.05  Junior National Record
2)  Mami Ishino  13.15
3)  Rena Joshita  13.26 

1)  Satomi Kubokura  56.70 
2)  Sayaka Aoki  57.56
3)  Miyabi Tago  58.03 

1)  Miyuki Fukumoto  1.85m
2)  Yuki Mimura  1.82m
3)  Kiyoka Fujisawa  1.75m

1)  Takayo Kondo  4.35m
2)  Tomomi Abiko  4.20m
3)  Mami Nakano  4.10m
1)  Sachiko Masumi             6.65m  (1.4m/s)
2)  Kumiko Imura (formerly Ikeda)  6.46m  (1.3m/s)
3)  Saeko Okayama  6.39m  (2.0m/s)

1)  Fumiyo Yoshida  13.43m  (1.2m/s)
2)  Sayuri Takeda  13.16m (0.5m/s)
3)  Waka Maeda  12.95m  (1.9m/s) 

1)  Yukiko Shirai  15.44m
2)  Yoko Toyonaga  14.52m
3)  Reina Hiruta  14.40m

1)  Yuka Murofushi  54.80m
2)  Tsuruyo Suzuki  49.89m
3)  Miya Itoman   49.48m    national high school record

1)  Yuka Murofushi   63.46m
2)  Masumi Aya     60.28m
3)  Mika Takekawa   57.82m 

1)  Yuki Ebihara  55.16m
2)  Emika Yoshida  54.31m
3)  Momoko Matsumoto 53.70m

1)  Yuki Nakata     5802 
2)  Minori Ito   5350
3)  Chinami Yasuda  5241   

Team for Berlin (as announced on Monday):

Masashi Eriguchi
Shintaro Kimura
Naoki Tsuakahara
Shiji Takahira
Hitoshi Saito
Kenji Fujimitsu
Yuzo Kanemaru
Hideyuki Hirose

Yuichiro Ueno
Yuki Iwai

Steeple Chase:
Yoshitaka Iwamizu

Tasuku Tanonaka
Kenji Narisako
Kazuaki Yoshida

Naoyuki Daigo
Daichi Sawano
Takafumi Suzuki
Daisuke Arakawa

Koji Murofushi
Yukifumi Murakami

Daisuke Ikeda

Momoko Takahashi
Chisato Fukushima
Mayumi Watanabe
Maki Wada 
Asami Tanno
Mayu Sato
Miho Shingu

Yurika Nakamura
Yuriko Kobayashi
Yukari Sahaku
Kayoko Fukushi

Steeple chase:
Minori Hayakari

Asuka Terada
Satomi Kubokura
Sayaka Aoki 

Takayo Kondo
Sachiko Masumi

Yuki Ebihara