29/09/2021   Osaka (JPN): 69th edition of the “All Japan Business Group” Athletics Championships




The 69th edition of the “All Japan Business Group” Athletics Championships took place in Japan on the weekend between Friday 24 September and Sunday 26 September.
The competitions took place in Osaka, at the Nagai Stadium, which hosted the 2007 World Championships and promoted by the Japan Business Association Athletics Association Osaka City with the managerial cooperation of: Kansai Business Group Athletics Federation, TBS Television Co., Ltd. and Mizuno Corporation, Cerespo Co., Ltd.
The walking events took place on the second day (Saturday 25 September) with the following timetable:
- 16:20: 5.000m women's track walk
- 16:55: 5.000m men's track walk
The temperature was warm enough to be late September (27.9° Celsius) with a relative humidity of around 47% and with an almost non-existent wind (0.4 m / s)
5.000m track walk women
Eleven athletes at the start.
The three favorites are immediately leading the race: Kumiko Okada (JPN), Nanako Fujii (JPN) and Kaori Kawazoe (JPN) followed closely by Masumi Fuchise (JPN) and Serena Sonoda (JPN).
At 1,000m, Kumiko Okada took the lead (4:18) followed by the other two main opponents Nanako Fujii and Kaori Kawazoe.
The 29-year-old holder of the national record of Japan over this distance (20:42.25 set in Kumagaja, JPN on 19.5.2019), is in charge of making the pace even in the 1.000 seconds which always see her leader in 8:36 (1.000m seconds always in 4:18).
In the third 1,000 she does not change the pace, which is always 4:19, but Nanako Fujii takes the lead in the race.
Kumiko Okada returns to the top of the 4.000m which are covered in 17:12 (with a partial of 4:17).
It is in the last 1,000m that Okada produces her maximum effort with a partial of 4:12.95 and takes off her opponents.
Victory to Kumiko Okada (JPN) in 21:24.95
Second place to Nanako Fujii (JPN) in 21:45.38
Third place to Kaori Kawazoe (JPN) in 21:53.90
5.000m track walk men
Nineteen athletes at the start.
Among them we find some of the names that are well known to us and that in the past years have made the history of race walking in Japan.
We like to remember the names of Akihiro Sugimoto (born 20.10.1981) who at almost 40 years old still enjoys competing in this kind of competitions.
Together with him we also want to remember Koichiro Morioka (born in 1985) that we saw grow up in a training meeting in Saluzzo in Italy and Kai Kobayashi. For the latter two this will be their last race, in fact they have already announced their retirement.
For Sugimoto, who had long since abandoned the important races, it was a flashback.
But the high-sounding names at the start also included Eiki Takahashi, Hirooki Arai, Daisuke Matsunaga, while the entrants Tomohiro Noda, Koki Ikeda and Satoshi Maruo did not show up at the start.













The race was resolved in a two-way battle between Eiki Takahashi who led the first 2,000m with these splits:
- 1.000m in 3:52
- 2.000m in 7:43 (3:51)
It was then the turn of Ryosuke Kondo to take the lead for another 2,000m with these splits:
- 3.000 in 11:36 (3:53)
- 4.000 in 15:30 (3:54)
In the last 1.000m Eiki Takahashi shows his pickup of greatest speed with a 1.000 covered in 3:44.42.
Victory to Eiki Takahashi (JPN) in 19:14.42
Second place to Ryosuke Kondo (JPN) in 19:25.32
Third place went to Kazuki Takahashi (JPN) in 19:40.99



In their last race:
- Kai Kobayashi finished in 20:03.81 (compared to a personal best of 19:11.94 set in Abashiri, JPN on 11.7.2016)
- Koichiro Morioka finished in 22:24.14 (against a personal best of 19:13.77 established in Tendo, JPN on 16.5.2009)
The almost forty-year-old Akihiro Sugimoto frankly surprised us by finishing in 21:09.34 (compared to a personal best of 18:56.70 established in Tendo, JPN on 16.5.2009) but recording a better mark than that of the last two seasons in this event . Well done !
We want to dedicate to him the cover photo that portrays him together with Toshikazhu Yamanishi and Koji Hoga Miura.