Japan Announces Marathon Squad For 2013 Moscow World Championships

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Courtesy of Ken Nakamura
April 24, 2013

The Japan AAF announced the five men three women Japanese World Championships Marathon team on April 25.  They are Hiroyuki Horibata, who was second (first Japanese) in 2012 Fukuoka Marathon with 2:08:24, Yuki Kawauchi, who won the 2013 Beppu-Oita Marathon with 2:08:15, Kentaro Nakamoto, who was second in 2013 Beppu-Oita Marathon with 2:08:35, Kazuhiro Maeda, who was fourth (first Japanese) in 2013 Tokyo Marathon with 2:08:00, and Masakazu Fujiwara, who was fourth (first Japanese) in 2013 Lake Biwa Marathon with 2:08:51.

Only three women, not five, were selected form the marathon team.  They are Ryoko Kizaki, who won the 2013 Nagoya Women’s Marathon with 2:23:34, Kayoko Fukushi, who was second (first Japanese) in 2013 Osaka Women’s Marathon with 2:24:21 and Mizuki Noguchi, who was third (second Japanese) in 2013 Nagoya Women’s Marathon with 2:24:05. First Japanese in Yokohama Women’s Marathon last November, Mizuho Nasukawa nor second Japanese in Osaka Women’s Marathon, Yuko Watanabe, were not selected on the team.  It should be noted that neither Nasukawa nor Watanabe cracked 2:25 for the marathon in above races.

Horibata, Nakamoto and Kawauchi all ran in the 2011 World Championships. Horibata was 7th, Nakamoto 10th and Kawauchi 18th in Daegu. Nakamoto also ran in the 2012 Olympics and finished respectable sixth in London. Maeda ran 2009 World Championships, but was only 39th in Berlin.  Fujiwara, who holds the record for the fastest marathon debut by Japanese, is the only one without global championships experience. Originally after running 2:08:12 in 2003 Lake Biwa Marathon Fujiwara was selected to run in the 2003 World Championships in Paris, but he was not able to start the race in Paris due to injury.

Noguchi, of course, is the 2004 Olympic Marathon champion, and was second in the 2003 World Championships. Fukushi has run the World Championships and Olympics multiple time, all on track, but this is the first time she was selected to run the marathon in the global championships. Kizaki was 16th in 2012 Olympics, but has never ran in the World Championships, although she was 12th and 10th respectively at the 2009 and 2010 World Half Marathon Championships.

Japanese woman marathon runners have not medaled in the World Championships since 2009 when Yoshimi Ozaki won silver in Berlin.  Japanese men are experiencing longer medal drought than women counterpart. They have not medaled since 2005 World Championships when Tsuyoshi Ogata won bronze in Helsinki.  Can this year’s team do better?

World Championships walk team was also announce at the same time. For men’s 20Km Walk, they are Yusuke Suzuki and Takumi Saito and for 50Km walk, they are Takayuki Tanii, Hirooki Arai and Koichiro Morioka. For women’s 20Km walk, they are Masumi Fuchise and Kumi Otoshi.

Among them, Suzuki who was eighth in Daegu and recently set a national record of 1:19:02 in the 20Km walk, may be closest to the medal, the goal he explicitly stated in the recent TV interview.

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