Japan won a third of the gold medals on offer on the final day of athletics action at the World University Games in Naples on Saturday (13).
The morning’s half marathon events – where Japan filled the top three spots in both the men’s and women’s races – set the tone for the rest of the day.
Akira Aizawa finished 12 seconds ahead of compatriot Taisei Nakamura to win the men’s title in 1:05:15 with Tatsuhiko Ito finishing third in 1:05:48.
The women’s race was similarly close as 19-year-old Yuka Suzuki took first place in 1:14:10. Rika Kaseda and Yuki Tagawa were separated by just four seconds, clocking 1:14:32 and 1:14:36 respectively to finish second and third.
Japan’s Asian champion Yuki Hashioka added another major long jump title to his collection. The 20-year-old was down in seventh place after the first two rounds and was at risk of missing out on making the cut for the final three rounds, but he pulled out an 8.01m leap to move into the lead.
Yann Randrianasolo of France responded with 7.95m to move into second place ahead of Australia’s Darcy Roper, who had jumped 7.90m in round two. None of the top three improved in the last three rounds, but Hashioka backed up his earlier effort with a 7.97m leap in the last round.
Japan’s other gold medal from the sixth day of athletics came in the men’s 4x100m. The quartet of Daisuke Miyamoto, Yoshihiro Someya, Jun Yamashita and Bruno Dede held off the Chinese squad to win in 38.92.
Switzerland enjoyed a solid final day in the Stadio San Paolo. Their women’s 4x100m team struck gold in 43.72, while Jonas Raess won the men’s 5000m in 14:03.10 from France’s Yann Schrub (14:03.24).
Australia’s Matt Denny produced one of the best throws of his life to win the discus. The 2013 world U18 champion sent his disc out to 65.27m, just 10 centimetres shy of his lifetime best, to win from Romania’s Alin Alexandru Firfirica (63.74m).
Yuliya Chumachenko got the better of domestic rival Iryna Herashchenko to win the women’s high jump. Chumachenko cleared all of her heights on her first attempt, up to and including a PB-equalling 1.94m. Herashchenko, meanwhile, bowed out at that height, setting for second place with 1.91m.
Elsewhere, Germany’s Caterina Granz kicked on from Australia’s Georgia Griffith to win the 1500m in 4:09.14 while Algeria’s Mohamed Belbachir took the men’s 800m title in 1:47.02.
South Africa looked to be on their way to a comfortable victory in the men’s 4x400m, having built up a significant leading margin after the first two legs. Their lead had narrowed going into final leg with Japan in second and Mexico having moved from fourth to third.
But Mexico’s individual 400m champion Valente Mendoza timed his run to perfection and stormed past South Africa’s 400m hurdles silver medallist Sokwakhana Zazini in the final 20 metres to win in 3:02.89.
The women’s 4x400m was won by Ukraine. In fourth place at half way, a storming third leg from Kateryna Klymyuk put them into first place and they maintained their position to the finish, winning in 3:30.82.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF