Sato Breaks 1500 m U18 National Record – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Sato Breaks 1500 m U18 National Record

Written by on April 17, 2021

It was a busy weekend on the track across Japan. At Saturday’s Kanaguri Memorial Meet in Kumamoto, the biggest news came in the men’s 1500 m where 17-year-old Keita Sato (Rakunan H.S.) ran 3:40.36, a new U18 national record, the 2nd-fastest ever by a Japanese high schooler, and 3rd-fastest-ever U20 mark. Sato took 4th after leading the first three laps, with two of the three people who finished ahead of him going under 3:40. Winner Kazuki Kawamura (Toenec) broke into the all-time Japanese top ten at 3:38.83 and Keisuke Morita (Komori Corp.) was 2nd in 3:39.37.

Steeplechase specialist Kazuya Shiojiri (Fujitsu) followed up his 10000 m win last month in Nobeoka with a 5000 m PB at Kanaguri, dropping a Kenyan trio led by Justus Kevasa (Honda) for the win in 13:22.80. A total of thirteen people broke 13:40 across heats. Joan Kipkemoi (Kyudenko) led Japan-based Africans to sweep the top five spots in the women’s 5000 m in 15:30.45, with Ethiopian Burka Desta (Denso) taking the B-heat in 15:32.49.

One of the favorites for the women’s 5000 m team if the Tokyo Olympics go ahead, 20-year-old Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) had a good 10000 m debut, winning in 31:30.03 just over 5 seconds off the Olympic qualifying standard. Marathoner Yuka Ando (Wacoal) was the only other runner under 32 minutes, 2nd in 31:46.80. Only two men broke 28 minutes at Kanaguri, Stanley Waithaka (Yakult) taking the top spot in 27:47.15 and Yudai Okamoto (Sunbelx) getting there for the first time with a 27:58.43 for 2nd.

Two other men went sub-28 Saturday at the IUAU 10000 m Time Trials meet at Kanagawa’s Nittai University track. Originally planned as the qualifying race for this summer’s Chengdu World University Games, the meet saw a lot of DNS when the Games were postponed to next year earlier this month. All the same, corporate leaguer Yuki Muta (Hitachi Butsuryu) and 20-year-old Ryuto Igawa (Waseda Univ.) both went under 28 minutes for the first time, Muta winning in 27:57.15. Igawa just pulled it off in 27:59.74, becoming the third Waseda runner to break 28 minutes in the last four months. Wataru Tochigi (Hitachi Butsuryu), Mebuki Suzuki (Komazawa University) and Tomoya Ogikubo (Yakult) just missed, all three clearing 28:01.Yuna Wada (Meijo Univ.) took the women’s race in her debut, winning by over 10 seconds in 32:22.83.
The Chugoku Corporate Time Trials meet Saturday in Kure, Hiroshima was low-key, with Takumi Komatsu (NTT Nishi Nihon) leading the top four under 14 minutes in 13:55.98 in the men’s 5000 m A-heat. Kazane Iwamoto (Funyu H.S.) was the only woman to run in the meet, clocking 10:15.54 for 3000 m.
Three others men went under 14 minutes at Sunday’s Six-University Meet in Konosu, Saitama. Ken Tansho (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) won in 13:50.84, alongside Kenyan teammate Luka Musemi‘s 8:53.37 win in the 3000 m SC helping lead Tokyo Kokusai University to its first win in the meet’s 17-year history.

© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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