Koji Murofushi of Japan finishes third in the men's hammer throw (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Yokohama, Japan

'Super Meet' in Yokohama

A 'home' win for Koji Murofushi in the men's Hammer, and of course another solid run from Felix Sanchez in the men's 400m Hurdles were the hardly unexpected delights of the annual Super Meet. 

“I am happy to win the final international competition of the year,” said Murofushi, who won the Hammer throw in 80.44m, ahead of the World Champion Ivan Tikhon who could only throw 77.52m.

“I think we are all tired because it is the end of the season.  Perhaps Europeans had trouble with the jet lag also,” explained Murofushi why he was the only athlete with an 80m throw in Yokohama. 

However, that may not be the only reason, for a day before the competition, in the press conference, Tikhon said, “I have been suffering from pneumonia since early September and even competed in the Athletics Final while ill. I am OK now, but still little short on training.” 

So the anticipated showdown between Murofushi and Tikhon, who has been coached by one of the all-time hammer great Sergey Litvinov, never materialized.  

“It (coaching by Litvinov) started as the telephone consultation and from the end of 2001, he has been advising me on the technical aspect. Real coaching started after the European Championships last year. I have radically modified my technique, which is not perfected yet, but when it is perfected, I expect to throw even further.” 

While some of the World Champions like Felix Sanchez in the men's 400m Hurdles and Irina Yatchenko in women's Discus Throw, won their event, many of the World Championships medallists suffered defeat in the end of the season meet. 

John Capel, the World Champion at 200m was a half second behind Shawn Crawford in the 200m., while South Africa's Jacques Freitag could only manage 2.25m for third = in the men’s High Jump. 

In the long jump, won by Chris Tomlinson of the Great Britain with 8.05m, the World Indoor and Outdoor Champion Dwight Phillips finished a dismal eighth. 

On the brighter side, at least from the Japanese perspective, finishing third in the competition with 7.63m, was the reigning Japanese national inter-high school champion Yuki Imai.  In the prestigious national inter-high school championships in August, Imai defeated Naohiro Shinada, the reigning World Youth Champion, by 1cm with the final round jump of 7.70m.  In Yokohama, Imai again finished ahead of Shinada, this time by 2cm with 7.63m. These two young jumpers are the future of long jumping where the national record, 8.25m, is over 10 years old.

The women’s 5000m was won by Lucy Wangui, a Kenyan who lives in Japan. The race started out slow with 3:11 and 6:17 for the first 1000m and 2000m respectively. Despite the slow pace, by 2700m, only Tirunesh Dibaba, the World 5000m Champion, Werknesh Kidane, the World 10,000m silver medallist and Lucy Wangui were left in the lead pack. They continued to run together until the last 100m when the fierce kick started but at the end Wangui won the battle of the kickers with 15:10.23.

Lucy Wangui is a graduate of Aomori Yamada High School, located far north in the snow country, and was a Japanese national inter-high school champion at both the 1500m (4:09.86) and 3000m (9:02.77) in 2002. She also won the 3000m in 2001.  She now runs for the corporate track team sponsored by Suzuki motors. 

Obadele Thompson won the slow 100m in 10.20 against the head wind ahead of the World record holder Tim Montgomery. Chryste Gaines, who failed to make the World Championships team, is in great form lately. She won the 200m easily with 22.67 ahead of Muriel Hurtis of France. 

Inga Babakova, who won the women’s High Jump in the 2001 Super meet, won again this year with 1.99m.  She had a perfect jumping card until 1.99m. Finishing third with 1.90m was Yoko Hannicutt, formerly Yoko Ota, who has been struggling to gain good form this year. Kumiko Ikeda, a precocious talent, whose junior high school record (6.19m) still stands, won the Long Jump in 6.48m. 

In the women’s Shot Put, the event in which all three medallists from Paris competed, Tadezhda Ostapchuk, the silver medallist from Paris prevailed over Vita Pavlysh, the bronze medallist and Svetlana Krivelyova the World Champion. The expectation was high for Chinatsu Mori who set a national record of 17.80m in the Asian Track & Field Championships in Manila only few days ago.  However, although she was the best Japanese, her best throw
was only 16.63m.   

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF with assistance from Akihior Onishi and Tatsuo Terada

Selected Results -

Men
100m  (-0.2m/s)
1)  Obadele Thompson  10.20
2)  Tim Montgomery  10.32
3)  Nobuharu Asahara  10.39 

200m  (2.3m/s)
1)  Shawn Crawford  20.19
2)  Frank Fredericks  20.50
3)  John Capel  20.69

400m 
1)  Tomohiro Ito  46.71
2)  Jun Osakada  47.07

800m
1)  Justus Koech  (KEN)  1:49.25
2)  David Krummenacker  1:49.40

5000m
1)  Julius Maina  (KEN)  13:24.51
2)  Simon Maina (KEN)  13:29.31
3)  Julius Gitahi  (KEN) 13:35.57 
4)  James Ndungu (KEN)  13:44.65

110mH  (-2.2m/s)
1)  Terrence Trammell  13.52
2)  Masato Naito  13.82

400mH
1)  Felix Sanchez   48.86
2)  Joey Woody  49.34 

HJ
1)  James Nieto   2.31m
2)  Shuhei Manabe  2.25m
3=)  Aleksaner Walerianczyk  2.25m
3=)  Jacques Freitag  2.25m 

LJ
1)  Chris Tomlinson  8.05m  (0.6m/s)
2)  Walter Davis  7.85m  (1.0m/s)
3)  Yuki Imai  7.63m  (0.4m/s)
4)  Kazushige Inadomi  7.63m (1.4m/s) 
5)  Naohiro Shinada  7.61m (1.0m/s)      World Youth Champion
...
8)  Dwight Phillips   7.48m (-1.1m/s)

HT
1)  Koji Murofushi  80.44m
2)  Ivan Tikhon    77.52m
3)  Zsolt Nemeth   76.73m


Women
200m  (1.4m/s)
1)  Christe Gaines   22.67
2)  Muriel Hurtis  22.96
3)  Demetria Washington  23.53
4)  Zhanna Block  23.53

800m
1)  Kelly Holmes  2:01.46
2)  Jolanda Ceplak  2:03.21

5000m
1)  Lucy Wangui   15:10.23
2)  Tirunesh Dibaba  15:11.05
3)  Werknesh Kidane  15:12.19 
4)  Megumi Tanaka  15:29.57 

HJ
1)  Inga Babakova  1.99m   (perfect until 1.99m)
2)  Venelina Veneva  1.96m
3)  Yoko Hannicutt  1.90m

LJ
1)  Kumiko Ikeda  6.48m (0.7m/s)
2)  Grace Upshaw  6.43m  (0.9m/s)

DT
1)  Irina Yatchenko   63.40m
2)  Natalya Sadova  60.60m

SP
1)  Tadezhda Ostapchuk  19.56m
2)  Vita Pavlysh  19.15m
3)  Svetlana Krivelyova  18.48m
4)  Chinatsu Mori  16.63m