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20,000+ Fans Agree - Sani Brown the Star of Japanese National Championships Day Two

Over 20,000 fans packed Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai Saturday to try to catch a piece of history on the second day of the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships. After a red-hot round of men's 100 m heats and sufficiently fiery semi finals led by 18-year old Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) and backed by Rio Olympics 4x100 m relay silver medal trio Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) and Aska Cambridge (Nike) plus 20-year-old newcomer Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) there was an expectation in the air for Japan's first sub-10 clocking almost as heavy as the approaching storm front.

With conditions improving throughout the late afternoon and into the early evening ahead of the 8:38 p.m. start time for the 100 m final all signals looked go.  Then, in the last km of the women's 3000 m SC two events before the 100 m, a few drops of rain. A light drizzle during the men's 400 m final. Then, in the ten minutes between the 40…
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Sani Brown Brings the Heat on Day One of Japanese National Championships

2015 World Youth Championships 100 m and 200 m gold medalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) brought the heat to the first day of the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai, running a PB 10.06 (+0.4) in the opening round of heats and 10.06 (+0.5) in the semifinals to lead the field into the final.

There's a major air of excitement around the men's 100 m in Japan, its 4x100 m silver medal in the Rio Olympics fueling hopes of seeing the country's first-ever sub-10 clocking. At the time they won that silver medal only two members of the team, Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) and Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) had ever broken 10.10 with a legal wind, along with alternate Kei Takase (Fujitsu). Earlier this month another of the four, 200 m specialist Shota Iizuka (Mizuno), ran 10.08 (+1.9). Shortly after that a newcomer, 20-year-old Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) jumped into the picture with a 10.08 (+1.9). The momentum w…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

New Balance Nationals and Record-Breaking Times Nationwide at Japanese High School Regionals

The New Balance Nationals Outdoor was the weekend's big high school meet in the U.S.A., but from Thursday through Monday regions across Japan also held their qualifying meets for the July 29 - Aug. 2 National High School Track and Field Championships in Yamagata. Performances were at a high level across the board, with at least eight meet records nationwide in distance events.

Five girls broke 4:20 in the 1500 m, with Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) leading the way with a 4:09.67 meet record to win the Tohoku Region. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was the fastest Japanese girl, winning the Kinki Region title in 4:18.32. On the boys' side, four broke 3:50 in the 1500 m, three of them in the Kinki Region meet. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) took the Kinki title in 3:46.86.



In the girls' 3000 m, five girls including both Ekarare and Tanaka were under 9:05 nationwide. Ekarare and Tanaka both doubled with 3000 m wins, but the fastest time came from Tabitha Kamau (Kamimu…

Kanagawa University Wins Kanto Region Qualifier for National University Men's Ekiden

After a DNF in the final round knocked it out of contention last year, Kanagawa University led the qualifiers for November's National University Men's Ekiden from the most competitive region in Japan to win the Kanto Region Qualifier Sunday in Urawa, Saitama.

With six schools from Kanto already seeded for Nationals after taking the top six spots last year twenty more lined up in Urawa for four heats of 10000 m on the track, two runners from each school per heat. The combined times of each school's eight runners would determine who would stay and who would go come November, the top nine teams on aggregate time making the cut. With the four heats graded by time the first heat established the early favorites, runners from Kanagawa, Tokai University and Daito Bunka University taking the top three spots.

Heat 2 went out bafflingly slow, with one exception. Running alone, Juntendo University senior Kento Hanazawa fearlessly went it alone, opening up a 300 m lead at one point a…

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…