19/02/2021   Kobe (JPN) - On Sunday the 104th national championship of Japan in the 20km walk





On Sunday 21 February the 104th edition of the National Road Walking Championships of Japan will take place in Kobe (JPN) on the traditional route of Rokko Island.
The scheduled races are as follows:
20km road walk men
73 athletes are enrtered.
Eight of them have a personal best less than 1:19:00 a mark that places five of them in the top five of the world rankings of the 2020 season and the other three in the top 15.
If, on the other hand, we consider the number of performances of the top five athletes, one of them (Koji Ikeda) was able to obtain two high-level performances in less than a month last season: the first in Kobe (JPN) with his second place 16.2.2020 (1:19:07) and the second in Nomi (JPN) on 15.3.2020 where he won in 1:18:22.
However, the best seasonal performance of the past season belongs to Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN) in 1:17:36 with his victory on the tested Kobe course.
In addition to these athletes we like to remember: Eiki Takahashi (JPN), Yuta Koga (JPN), Isamu Fujisawa (JPN), Tomohiro Nota (JPN), Hirooki Arai (JPN), Sotoshi Maruo (JPN), Kai Kobayashi (JPN) and Hiroto Jusho (JPN) who is the only one who has a personal best above 1:20:00 (1:20:46)
We think that with this parterre of athletes the race will be of great interest.
We know for sure that if the weather conditions were favorable on the day of the competition, the goal of some athletes was to rewrite the world record on the distance of 20km that belongs to Yusuke Suzuki (1:16:36) obtained in Nomi, JPN on 15.3.2015.
Unfortunately, even if this happens, the result could not be approved by World Athletics due to the lack of one of the three international judges requested. Likewise the results will not be valid as entry standard for the Olympic Games, but here the problem becomes of minimal importance as the athletes of Japan already have the standard.
In fact, following the Covid-19 restrictions, the eight usual judges will be judging the race, but only two of them belong to the international category.
Moreover, they are both from Japan (Tomoya Ishii and Hideo Yamada) as in the Country of the Rising Sun the Covid legislation does not yet allow the access of foreign citizens to fight the pandemic.
A real shame, also because Japan was perhaps one of the first Countries to open up to the international world and since 2004 at their three most important competitions (Kobe, Wajima and Takahata) the presence of the three international judges (sometimes even more) was always been guaranteed.
Also due to the pandemic, the Council of the Asian Athletics Association recently decided to cancel the Asian Championships of the 20km walk that should have been held in Nomi, JPN (as well as the Asian Athletics Championships scheduled for 20-23 May in the beautiful scenery of Hangzhou, CHN).
20km road walk women
34 athletes are entered.
The most successful is Okada Kumiko (JPN with a 1:27:41 in La Coruna (ESP) on 8.6.2019, which is also the national record of Japan.
Below 1:30:00, however, there are two other athletes: Masumi Fuchise (JPN) with a time of 1:28:03 which dates back to 25.1.2009 and was also obtained in Kobe, and Nanako Fujii (JPN ) with the time of 1:28:58 obtained in La Coruna (ESP) on 8.6.2019.
Also in this competition we like to point out Kaori Kawazoe (JPN), Ai Michiguchi (JPN) and the athlete Siunga Ching (HKG) who participates in the women's open trial with a registration time of 1:32:30
In the other two races reserved for the U20s, the following are registered:
10km U20 men: 68 athletes
5km U20 women: 39 athletes.