The Japan Indoor Championships regularly brings overseas competitors to their event and the invitation of Canadian under-23 rising star Charles Alexander and retired Olympian Julien Bahain saw new records being set. Alexander, going 5:57.5 for 2000m, became the first person in Japan to officially break the 6-minute mark. Bahain, 33, missed out by a fraction going 6:00.6.

Alexander, who was second in the men’s under-23 category of World Rowing Indoor Championships last year with 5’51”1, is mentored by Bahain and is a rising star among Canada’s national rowing team.

Third place, and the best from Japan in the male category, was Tatsuya Sakurama with 6’06”4. And the winner in the female open category was Ayaka Chujo (Japan) with 7’09”5. Sakurama and Chujo will compete in 2020 World Rowing Indoor Championships in Paris, France next month.

The Japan Indoor Championships is getting more global. International competitors from not only Canada, but also Denmark and Chinese Taipei participated. Denmark’s Lars Garvey was the fourth place with 6:08.1 in the men’s open and Jhe-Lun Fan from Chinese Taipei was the fastest with 6:56.2 in the under-15 men’s category.

This event continually gets larger and this year saw 903 rowers participating. During the five elite championship races, local DJ performers produced club sound music to motivate competitors. The arena was surrounded with cheering screams and exciting atmosphere.

Japan is now facing the “Golden Sports Years”, which include 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and 2021 World Masters Games in Kansai. These events have motivated Japanese rowers and Motoki Kyo of the Seta Rowing Club believes it will be the epoch-making period for rowing into Japanese sport culture.

The 2021 Japan Indoor Rowing Championships has already been scheduled on January 17th 2021.

Watch the men’s open race here

Main results

Men’s open

1. Charles Alexander 5:57.5, age 22, Canada

2. Julien Bahain, 6’00”6, age 33, Canada

3. Tatsuya Sakurama, 6:06.4, age 23, NTT East

4. Lars Garvey, 6’08”1, age 27, Denmark

5. Yoshihiro Ohtsuka, 6:14.0, age 26, NTT East

Men’s lightweight

1. Tomoki Nishi, 6:26.1, age 25, NTT East

2. Ryo Kajitani, 6’28”0, age 27, NTT East

3. Tomoyuki Miura, 6’29”5, age 33, NTT East

4. Takumi Nemoto, 6’29”6, age 24, Toda Chuo Hospital RC

5. Tatsuhiro Uchida, 6:29.8, age 24, NTT East

Women’s open

1. Ayaka Chujo, 7:09.5, age 23, Denso

2. Kyoko Kazusa, 7’12”1, age 24, Denso

3. Yumiko Shoji, 7:18.8, age 27, Denso

4. Kana Nishihara 7:21.1, age 23, Print Pac

5. Kasahara Minori, 7’36”7, age 20, Kanazawa University

Women’s lightweight

1. Emi Hirouchi, 7’17”9, Age 23, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance

2. Kaho Ohnishi, 7’24”8, age 23, Denso

3. Hinako Takimoto, 7’26”5, age 23, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance

4. Sahoko Kinoda, 7:28.1, age 24, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance

5. Miharu Takashshima, 7:33.3, age 22, NTT East

Men’s Junior

1. Taisei Miyaguchi 6:37.0, age 17, Seta Tech High

2. Rikuto Sugawara, 6’39”4, age 17, Mikata High

3. Shotaro Tsushida, 6’42“4, age 16, Mikata High

Women’s Junior

1. Sora Shimizu, 7:32.7, age 16, Mikata High

2. Ayaka Umano, 7’43”5, age 16, Mikata High

3. Chiharu Fukushima 7’50”1, age 18, Takaishi High

Copy thanks to Motoki Kyo, Seta Rowing Club