SLEEPER COUNTRY: THE NEXT POWERHOUSE SPRINTERS

With Usain Bolt leaving track and field and Asafa Powell soon also, both of Jamaica, what is next for the 4×100 meter relay teams. Who will be the next best team and from what country. Well you’re looking at it. Japan is a team that I have not heard anyone speak of when the conversation around sprinting comes up. Yes, you here about the United States, who by the way, has an aging team of sprinters as well (Tyson Gay, Justin Gaitlin, and Lashawn Merritt). Others include the like of course Jamaica, Barbados, Great Britain, and Canada to name a few. But back to Japan.

Japan’s 4×100 meter relay team knocked out the United States in the Rio Games, even without the disqualification to win silver. Shota Iizuka ran his personal best 20.11 back in 2013 and he is only 25 years of age. His teammate, 20 year old Yoshihide Kiryū ran a personal best 10.01 in the 100 meter and a 20.41 in the 200 meter dash. Next is Ryota Yamagata, who at only 24 years old runs 10.05 in the 100 meter and a 20.41 in the 200 as well. Then last is their fourth leg Asuka Cambridge, who himself runs 10.11 in the 100 meter, yet only 20.62 in the 200 meter.

With four years to plan for the next Olympics, which ironically enough will take place in Japan, all will have to step up. Yohan Blake of Jamaica will most likely be the new face of sprinting as the second fastest man in history already. But the Jamaican team will lose some guys due to retirement, or too old to compete in sprint events. Now the Americans have life in in Trayvon Bromell (9.84 100 meters and 20.03 200 meters) as well as two young men leaving high school right now 18 year old Michael Norman (10.27 100 meter and 20.14 200 meter) and 19 year old Noah Lyles (10.14 10 meter and 20.09 200 meter). But will they step it up and quick. There was a promising athlete from high school as well named J-Mee Samuels, who graduated high school in 2005, but did not turn out to go as hard as people had hoped. This Japanese team have proven themselves in the Olympics. The 20 year old Kiryu of Japan is a Junior, but was chosen on the Olympic team while Noah and Norman are thinking about college.

This should be a really interesting four years for the Japanese team considering the 2020 Olympics will be in Tokyo. They came in with a silver in the 4×100 and could potentially take the gold if they stay healthy. Whatever the case may be, all eyes are now going to be focusing on these four Japanese runners as time goes on.

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