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Tokyo Kokusai College Head Coach Yuji Oshida Resigns After Workforce Misses Hakone Podium


After ending eleventh on the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden’s 99th version to finish its 3-year streak of constructing the 10-deep podium, Tokyo Kokusai College introduced on Jan. 18 that head coach Yuji Oshida, 60, will resign. After additionally ending eighth at October’s Izumo Ekiden and eleventh at November’s Nationwide College Ekiden Oshida’s resignation got here as a means of taking private duty for this system’s drop in aggressive stage. He will likely be changed by veteran coach Saburo Yokomizo, 83.

A graduate of Chuo College, the place he gained Hakone’s eighth leg throughout his senior yr, Oshida was the gold medalist within the 1500 m on the 1986 Asian Video games. After working as assistant coach at Honda and Chuo, together with for Chuo’s 1996 Hakone Ekiden win, he has been head coach at Tokyo Kokusai for the reason that program’s inception in 2011, constructing it up from zero in session with fellow Chuo alumnus Yokomizo.

Tokyo Kokusai first certified for the Hakone Ekiden in 2016. In 2020 it completed fifth, making the 10-deep podium for the primary time and following that up with podium finishes in 2021 and 2022. In 2021 it gained the Izumo Ekiden in its first look on the occasion, following that with appearances at each the Nationwide College Ekiden and Hakone to make all three main college ekidens in a single season, the mark of a top-tier group.

Coach Oshida has a status for being shut with athletes and a well mannered and respectful teaching model. His success as a coach was evident at each the group and particular person stage. In highschool, Tokyo Kokusai alumnus Tatsuhiko Ito by no means made it to a national-level competitors. However beneath Oshida’s teaching he turned one of many highest-level collegiate runners within the nation, happening to symbolize Japan within the 10000 m at their 2021 Tokyo Olympics post-graduation. Kenyan Vincent Yegon broke the course information on Hakone’s 2nd, third and 4th legs. Luka Musembi was largely hidden in Yegon’s shadow all through their 4 years collectively at Tokyo Kokusai and by no means received to run Hakone, however final August he gained the Hokkaido Marathon in his debut on the distance.

Regardless of Tokyo Kokusai’s struggles by means of the 2022-23 season, Oshida’s success with this system was broadly revered by his friends, and his resignation to take duty for the group’s failures this yr despatched waves of shock throughout the faculty ekiden circuit.

His alternative as coach, Yokomizo was the star runner at Chuo College from 1959 by means of 1962, the group’s Hakone wins all 4 years part of its legendary 6-year streak of Hakone victories from 1959 to 1964. There are not any doubts about his {qualifications} as a coach, however he’s already 83 years outdated, even older than Yoshiyuki Aoba, who was named head coach at Nihon College in 2020 at age 77. Komazawa College grad Takumi Matsumura and Chukyo College alum Yuta Nakamura will function Yokomizo’s assistant coaches. In keeping with an concerned supply, Yokomizo’s appointment is short-term, and a brand new everlasting head coach could also be named at a later date.

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translated and edited by Brett Larner

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