Kiryu Yoshihide beats Cambridge Aska again to capture Japanese men's 100 crown

Rio 2016 silver medallist comes from behind to win second title in first post-corona national c'ships.

By Shintaro Kano

Kiryu Yoshihide is the fastest man in Japan again after a six-year wait as the Rio 2016 silver medallist won the men's 100 meters at the national athletics championships on Friday (2 October).

Just as he did on 23 August at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix, Kiryu edged Cambridge Aska to capture his second national title in 10.27 seconds against wind of 0.2 meters at Denka Big Swan Stadium in Niigata Prefecture. Taking third was Koike Yuki.

"First of all, I'm glad I won for the first time in six years", the 24-year-old Kiryu said. "I'll have good memories of Niigata now.

"It wasn't the fastest of times so when I come back to this stage next year, I win it with a convincing time. The most important thing is to win in a final regardless of what the race is like.

"No matter how many people are watching on TV, the atmosphere is totally different when you have fans. Hopefully the day will come soon when I can run in front of a full house".

Organisers have allowed a crowd of 2,000 - Niigata residents only - per day at these championships in line with the recent relaxation of government regulations for sporting events.

Steady as he goes

Kiryu, who jointly holds Japan's second fastest time in the 100m (9.98) with Koike, wrapped up his season on a high by winning the first nationals of the post-corona era.

These championships were originally scheduled for May, doubling as the qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that have since been postponed to 23 July-8 August, 2021.

With fast-starter Tada Shuhei setting the tone early, in-form Cambridge had the midway lead and appeared to have what would have been his second championship in the bag.

But Kiryu, in lane No. 7, tipped Cambridge at the wire with a closing rush he has been working on all year.

"A lot to be desired time wise but I got the job done. Even when he (Cambridge) was ahead I kept my cool and won it in the last 10m", Kiryu said.

"All these years I was a mention but couldn't win. I'm glad I could finally do it. I want to be able to consistently break 10 from hereon".

United States-based Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, the Japan record-holder with a 9.97, did not take part.