After missing out on a certain place in the men’s 100 metres by one-thousandth of a second, KOIKE Yuki made sure there was no slip this time.
On Sunday (27 June), the final day of the national athletics championships in Osaka, Koike won the 200 hands-down to secure a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Koike’s time of 20.46 seconds handed him his first national title as the four-day Japanese trials drew to a close at Nagai Stadium.
In the 100 on Friday, Koike fell short of a top-three finish behind Japan record-holder YAMAGATA Ryota.
Koike has qualifying times in both the 100 and 200, meaning the Japan Association of Athletics Federations has a decision to make.
He is also on the 4x100 relay team, an event Japan won silver in at Rio 2016 and one that is of chief priority to the JAAF for Tokyo 2020.
To have enough left in the tank for the relay, the JAAF is asking all 4x100 candidates to enter in only one individual race.
“I’d never won at the nationals before so I really wanted to do it today. And it feels great,” Koike said.
“I don’t really know between the 100 and 200. I need to discuss it with my coach and there is what the federation wants.”
Taking second in a personal best of 20.63 was the fast-rising DEDE Bruno, who was also runner-up in the 100.
While Dede has not met the qualifying standard in either the 100 (10.05) or the 200 (20.24), with a pair of silvers at these championships, the half-Nigerian 21-year-old might be hard for the JAAF to ignore for selection.
Izumiya flies to new Japan 110m hurdles record
Joining Koike on the Olympic squad was IZUMIYA Shunsuke, who rewrote the national record in the men's 110 hurdles by 0.1 for a mark of 13.06 - the third fastest in the world this year.
The race was thrown with two disqualifications as ISHIKAWA Shuhei and MURATAKE Rashidso were shown the door due to a false start.
With the field reduced to six, Izumiya capitalised to hold off the former record-holder KANAI Taioh for the win, qualifying for his first Games.
Kanai (13.22) as well as third-place TAKAYAMA Shunya also secured berths at Tokyo 2020.