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Watch the 2012 National Women's Ekiden Live Online - Preview

by Brett Larner

The last national championship women's ekiden of the season takes place this Sunday, Jan. 15 in Kyoto.  The National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden Championships have one of the most interesting formats on the circuit, with teams of nine women ranging from junior high schoolers to pros running for teams representing Japan's 47 prefectures.  The open stages are one of the few chances to see the best high school, university and pro women battle it out, while the stages reserved for junior high and high school runners often feature breakout performances by unknowns.  The commercial-free national broadcast and outstanding online coverage begins on NHK at 12:15 p.m.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online via Keyhole TV using the password NHK, with English-language commentary available once again via Twitter @JRNLive.

Final start lists at the men's and women's National Interprefectural Ekidens are notoriously unpredictable compared to the posted entry lists, but assuming anything similar to what is currently public hosts and perennial favorites Kyoto Prefecture once again bring the strongest team to the start line.  Look for national corporate 10000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara, top-ranked high schoolers Nanako Kanno, Haruka Kyuma and Ayano Ikeuchi and Nagoya University ace Eriko Kushima to give Kyoto a winning edge, particularly in the second half of the race.  The only team to beat Kyoto in recent years, Okayama Prefecture, is again its strongest rival, with a team made up entirely runners from National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships 4th-place Team Tenmaya and National High School Ekiden Championships runners-up Kojokan H.S. plus two junior high girls.

This year three other prefectural teams stand a good chance of competing with the two favorites, all three sporting four runners among the best on their stages.  Aichi Prefecture is the best of these, on paper tying Kyoto and Okayama.  Leading off with National University 5000 m champion Ayuko Suzuki, Aichi has an overall high level and has distributed its talent throughout the race, so look for it to be a steady presence near the front.  Chiba Prefecture includes 2011 National Track & Field Championships 5000 m runner-up Hitomi Niiya and ascendant ekiden star Yurie Doi in its lineup and should do well through at least the first five stages.  Gifu Prefecture is something of a surprise, leading off with outstanding track and ekiden specialist Yuko Shimizu and following with three more women among the best of their stage.  It wouldn't be a surprise to see Gifu in the early lead.

In individual competition, the 6.0 km First Stage and 10.0 km Ninth Stage once again feature most of the best talent.  Along with Shimizu, Niiya, Nishihara and Suzuki on the First Stage are ekiden star Korei Omata (Yamanashi), World Championships marathoner Yoshiko Fujinaga (Nagasaki), Yokohama International Women's Marathon winner Ryoko Kizaki (Osaka) and national champion Ritsumeikan University leader Risa Takenaka (Shiga).  The main event on the anchor stage is a great three-way matchup between national 5000 m champion Megumi Kinukawa (Gunma), national 10000 m champion Kayo Sugihara (Shimane) and national 10000 m collegiate record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Kumamoto), but with a dozen other big names there should be plenty of action.  Notables on other stages include 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Hyogo) looking to start of her Olympic season by breaking her own Second Stage course record, and the up-and-coming Doi on Fifth Stage for Chiba.

2012 National Women's Interprefectural Ekiden Championships
Entry List Highlights
Jan. 15, Kyoto
9 stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete entry lists
bib numbers: team - stage

First Stage - 6 km (open)
stage record: 18:44 - Miwako Yamanaka (Nara/Team Daihatsu), 2003
24-1. Yuko Shimizu (Gifu/Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:14.71
15-1. Korei Omata (Yamanashi/Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:27.89
43-1. Seika Nishikawa (Kumamoto/Team Sysmex) - 32:37.28
42-1. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Nagasaki/Team Shiseido) - 32:44.60
12-1. Hitomi Niiya (Chiba/Sakura AC) - 15:13.12
27-1. Ryoko Kizaki (Osaka/Team Daihatsu) - 15:22.87
26-1. Kasumi Nishihara (Kyoto/Team Yamada Denki) - 15:23.80
22-1. Ayuko Suzuki (Aichi/Nagoya Univ.) - 15:33.47
25-1. Risa Takenaka (Shiga/Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:33.54
10-1. Miyuki Gokan (Gunma/Tokiwa H.S.) - 9:08.46

Second Stage - 4 km (open)
stage record: 12:07 - Yuriko Kobayashi (Hyogo/Team Toyota Jidoshokki), 2009
28-2. Yuriko Kobayashi (Hyogo/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:33.09
37-2. Yui Okada (Tokushima/Mima Shugyo H.S.) - 9:13.41
22-2. Yuka Ando (Aichi/Toyokawa H.S.) - 9:14.27
12-2. Yuriko Kosaki (Chiba/Narita H.S.) - 9:15.52
35-2. Ayumi Hagiwara (Yamaguchi/Team Uniqlo) - 9:19.56

Third Stage - 3 km (J.H.S.)
stage record: 9:11 - Yui Takahashi (Yamagata/Tobishima J.H.S.), 2004
11-3. Ayaka Nakagawa (Saitama/Asaka San J.H.S.) - 9:17.46
27-2. Nozomi Musenbi Takamatsu (Osaka/Kunei Joshi Gakuin J.H.S.) - 9:22.99
21-3. Nao Yamamoto (Shizuoka/Mikkabi J.H.S.) - 9:23.49
24-3. Sachi Aoki (Gifu/Tajimi J.H.S.) - 9:25.56
14-3. Naho Matsumoto (Kanagawa/Midorigaoka J.H.S.) - 9:28.51

Fourth Stage - 4 km (open)
stage record: 12:41 - Yuriko Kobayashi (Hyogo/Team Toyota Jidoshokki), 2011
10-4. Yuika Mori (Gunma/Team Yamada Denki) - 15:36.55
12-4. Riko Matsuzaki (Chiba/Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:10.37
26-4. Nanako Kanno (Kyoto/Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:17.44
33-4. Chiyo Adachi (Okayama/Kojokan H.S.) - 9:18.16

Fifth Stage - 4.1075 km (open)
stage record: 12:53 - Taeko Igarashi (Miyagi/Sendai Ikuei H.S.), 1995
12-5. Yurie Doi (Chiba/Team Starts) - 15:41.38
33-5. Miyuki Oka (Okayama/Kojokan H.S.) - 9:10.62
22-5. Mao Kiyota (Aichi/Chukyo Prep. H.S.) - 9:13.43

Sixth Stage - 4.0875 km (H.S.)
stage record: 12:39 - Nanako Kanno (Kyoto/Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.), 2011
33-6. Katsuki Suga (Okayama/Kojokan H.S.) - 9:05.72
26-6. Haruka Kyuma (Kyoto/Ayabe H.S.) - 9:23.21

Seventh Stage - 4 km (H.S.)
stage record: 12:21 - Kazue Kojima (Kyoto/Ritsumeikan Univ.), 2007
26-7. Ayano Ikeuchi (Kyoto/Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:17.64
44-7. Madoka Uesugi (Oita/Nihon Bunri Prep H.S.) - 9:24.63
45-7. Yuki Nakamura (Miyazaki/Kobayashi H.S.) - 9:28.75

Eighth Stage - 3 km (J.H.S.)
stage record: 9:41 - Moe Kyuma (Kyoto/Ayabe J.H.S.), 2009
17-8. Kanna Tamaki (Nagano/Kawanakajima J.H.S.) - 9:25.24
24-8. Yuka Hori (Gifu/Nakayama J.H.S.) - 9:35.76
22-8. Hinano Yamada (Aichi/Miyoshi Kita J.H.S.) - 9:39.14

Ninth Stage - 10 km (pro/univ.)
stage record: 30:52 - Kayoko Fukushi (Aomori/Team Wacoal), 2004
10-9. Megumi Kinukawa (Gunma/Mizuno) - 31:10.02
32-9. Kayo Sugihara (Shimane/Team Denso) - 31:34.35
43-9. Hikari Yoshimoto (Kumamoto/Bukkyo Univ.) - 31:45.82
26-9. Eriko Kushima (Kyoto/Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 32:16.84
23-9. Hiroko Shoi (Mie/Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 32:17.39
21-9. Hitomi Nakamura (Shizuoka/Team Panasonic) - 32:23.49
34-9. Yuko Watanabe (Hiroshima/Team Edion) - 32:27.89
28-9. Ayumi Sakaida (Hyogo/Team Daihatsu) - 32:37.39
22-9. Asami Kato (Aichi/Team Panasonic) - 32:51.07
37-9. Mai Ito (Tokushima/Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 32:54.15
24-9. Sayo Nomura (Gifu/Meijo Univ.) - 32:57.69
29-9. Kazue Kojima (Nara/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:35.87
40-9. Hanae Tanaka (Fukuoka/Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:54.18
33-9. Yurika Nakamura (Okayama/Team Tenmaya) - 15:57.60
45-9. Aya Nagata (Miyazaki/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:18.41

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Marcos said…
Brett:
Estoy esperando ansioso el duelo enntre Noguchi y Fukushi , en el Osaka Maraton , es dificil predecir quien ganara, pienso que Hara, Shibui , ,Tosa y Akaba estaran en Nagoya en marzo , FELICITACIONES POR TU BLOG.
Brett Larner said…
Thanks, Marcos, nice to hear from you. Osaka should be very exciting if both of the big name women are ready to go.

I'm not sure what Hara or Tosa, maybe Shibui, would be capable of in Nagoya. Akaba has not declared yet from what I've seen, so I would think she is probably waiting to see how Osaka goes and if it looks likely that she'll get picked on the strength of Daegu then we'll see her in London in April instead.

Kinukawa in Nagoya should also be very, very interesting if it happens. Kinukawa vs. Akaba and Ozaki would be almost as good as Noguchi vs. Fukushi in a different way.
Marcos said…
YO conozco a Fukushi ella estuvo aqui en Chile en Octubre de 2000, corriendo los 5000 metros en el Mundial de Atletismo Junior Santiago 2000 y termino cuarta ella tenia 18 años , vi entero por la web el Maratón de Yokohama en Noviembre gracias al link que usted entrego, animaba a Ozaki pero el sprint de Kizaki fue muy fuerte, Saludos,

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