|Suguru Osako of Japan|
2018 has seen a number of unexpected surprises from the Japanese athletes ranging from the middle to the long distance races. Yuki Kawauchi won one of the world’s biggest marathon; the Boston Marathon in April. Among other surprising performances by Japanese athletes in the 42km distance was at the Chicago Marathon where the little known Suguru Osako beat the likes of Abel Kirui, Galen Rupp, Geoffrey Kirui and Bedan Karoki, among others to finish on the podium in a new national record of 2:05:50.
But more interesting to follow will be Nazomi Tanaka of Japan who won gold medal in the women’s 3000m at the IAAF world u20 championships in an exciting race where fourteen athletes out of the total seventeen who finished the race registered their personal best times. The two team mates from Japan; Yuna Wada and Nazomi Tanaka, had ran a well calculated race to ensure that they won the gold medal for their nation.
Soon after the gun went off, the Japanese pair had started to break away from the rest. In many of the distance track races, when a less known athlete breaks away from the field, no one takes them seriously as they would soon falter and get overtaken as the race progressed. The two girls crossed the first 1,000m in 3:00.55, about 50m ahead. It was almost in an even split that they crossed the 2,000m point in 6:03.19. The gap was almost constant and it was beginning to look obvious that some of the pre-race favorites had not taken the two girls seriously as a trio of one Kenyan and two Ethiopians began a frantic chase to try and catch up with the Japanese.