14/02/2020   Will the new Kobe circuit enter history?



There are few circuits in the world that can be considered almost perfect for walking events.
In addition to the two historichal of La Coruna (ESP) and Taicang (CHN) on which the World Team Race Walk Championships races those of the World Athletics Challenge were held, we would like to remind those of Huangshan (CHN) and Mudu, Suzhou (CHN).
A width that allows a departure of over 150 athletes without any hindrance, very wide turning points (Chinese ones even more than the standard diameter of 7,5 meters) and completely flat.
Pages of walking history were written in La Coruna and Huangshan in 2015 when Liu Hong set the world record for the 20km race and then in 2019 when she was the first woman in the world to break down the four-hour wall on the 50km women's walk.
But there is still a circuit, the Japanese one in Kobe, that enters this elite.
Kobe is perhaps the one that boasts the best cumulative performances of Japan's athletes in recent years and that has seen their exponential growth born thanks to the teamwork of Fumio Imamura, Shigeyuki Shimizu and Koji Hoga Miura.
On Sunday morning at 8:50 am on the route of Rokko Island in Kobe will take place the Open Japan Championships of the 20km walk.
The scheduled departure times are as follows:
- 20km men: 8:50
- 20km women: 10:35
- 10Km U20 men: 12:35
- 5km U20 women: 13:35
This year the course has been changed and probably the choice to reduce it from 2,000m to 1,000m will prove to be the best for athletes.
Departure set just in conjunction with a turning point, with the other turn after 500m.
At 400m the tables for sponging and water, at 850m the tables for personal supplies.
Immediately afterwards, around 900, the Penalty Zone and then dive on the finish line.



In the starting list we see an incredible parterre:
- Eiki Takahashi, multiple winner in Kobe
- Yusuke Suzuki, 20km world record holder from 15.3.2015 (1:16:36) in a historic Nomi race led in the lead from the first meter. But equally well known is his victory at the Doha World Championships in the 50km. Even in that night Suzuki on Corniche was always in the lead from the first meter.
- Toshikazu Yamanishi, the young mathematician, who won the 20km of the Doha World Championships 2019
- Koki Ikeda who won the Taicang World Team Championship in 2018 and the University World Games of Naples in 2019
Among the invited athletes of the open race is Perseus Karlstrom winner last Sunday in Adelaide.
The strong Swedish athlete who has a personal best of 1:18:07 obtained in La Coruna on 8.6.2019 (and which represents Sweden's national record) makes no secret of wanting to improve.
The minimum goal is a performance around 1:17:00, but the real one, and not so much hidden, is the attempt to want to break the world record of Yusuke Sukuzi.
The ingredients are all there.
But will the all guns blazing team from Japan allow it?

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