Olympic aspirations and Olympic legends at Japan’s indoor championships
Japan is moving in the right direction towards rowing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games if the 2019 Japanese Indoor Rowing Championships is anything to go by.
In the men’s open division, the invited competitor from Denmark Mark Hartsteen achieved three-peat with 6:08.4 for 2000m. Japanese under-23 rower Tatsuya Sakurama came in second with 6:12.0 and Shin’ichi Katsumata, 24, was third with 6:13.5.
In the men’s lightweight division, Japanese teammates, Mitsuo Nishimura and Olympian Hideki Omoto, showed strong performances with 6:19.9 and 6:24.7, respectively.
The men’s junior (under 19) race was won by Shunsuke Shimada, who participated in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Shimada impressed the crowds with a time of 6:26.6.
For the women, Kyoko Kazusa, Olympian Ayami Oishi and Danish rower Amalie Riff Brems, won with 7:14.5, 7:15.8 and 7:28.9, in their respective categories.
As has become the tradition Japan invites well-known rowers to compete. This year it was the battle of two great former Olympians. Three-time Olympic Champion, Eskild Ebbeson of Denmark went up against one of Japan’s greatest rowers, Daisaku Takeda. Both have competed at five Olympic Games – the same five from 1996 to 2012. Ebbesen, now aged 46 and Takeda, 45, performed a nose-to-nose race with Takeda finally winning in a time of 6:32.3. Ebbesen finished just 0.5 of a second later.
New this year was the race of the coxswains. Held over 500m all participants had to be coxswains in rowing competitions last season and must weigh less than 60kg for the men and 55kg for the women. The winner was Hiroaki Kodama of Sendai University with 1:34.9 and for the women, Airi Ito of Kansai University with 2:04.1.
The championships, which has established itself as a major sports attraction drew 924 participants. Among them were 11 over-60-year-olds. One of the oldest participants, Atsuji Adachi, 72, recorded 7:28.7 in the over 70 men’s lightweight. Kazuhiro Kamoi, 62, achieved 7:06.7 in the over 60 men’s lightweight category.
This event of next year has already been scheduled for 19 January 2020. This will be only half year before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and one year before the 2021 Kansai World Masters Games.
Watch the event here.
Copy thanks to Motoki Kyo, Seta Rowing Club