Hirooki Arai and Kai Kobayashi in action in the 50km race walk (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Japan fields full-strength squad for IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Taicang 2018

World silver and bronze medallists Hirooki Arai and Kai Kobayashi are among the 20 members of the Japanese team for the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Taicang 2018 on 5-6 May.

Arai and Kobayashi will contest the 50km race walk along with Yuki Ito, Hayato Katsuki and Sitoshi Maruo.

The men’s 20km race walk quintet is just as strong and includes the three fastest athletes in the world this year. Eiki Takahashi, who last month went to ninth on the world all-time list with 1:17:26, will be joined by World University Games champion Toshikazu Yamanishi, 2014 world U20 champion Daisuke Matsunaga, Olympian Isamu Fujisawa and Koki Ikeda.

All five men finished well inside 1:20 at the Japanese Race Walking Championships last month.

Japan’s first medals in the history of this event came as recently as 2014 when they picked up team bronze in the men’s 20km race walk and silver in the U20 men’s 10km race walk, courtesy of Matsunaga. They also earned team bronze in the U20 men’s 10km race walk in Rome two years ago.

Having put forward their best possible team for this year’s edition, they will be keen to add to their medal tally in Taicang.

Japanese team for Taicang

Men
20km: Isamu Fujisawa, Koki Ikeda, Daisuke Matsunaga, Eiki Takahashi, Toshikazu Yamanishi
50km: Hirooki Arai, Yuki Ito, Hayato Katsuki, Kai Kobayashi, Sitoshi Maruo
U20 10km: Hiroto Jusho, Sho Sakazaki, Takumi Suzuki

Women
20km: Kaori Kawazoe, Ai Michiguchi, Kumiko Okada, Yuki Yoshizumi
U20 10km: Nanako Fujii, Maika Yagi, Yumi Yoshida