OSAKA – Dai Tamesue, Japan’s record-holder in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, drew the curtain on a decorated career after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the preliminaries at the National Athletics Championships on Friday.
The 34-year-old Tamesue clocked just 57.64 seconds after uncharacteristically taking a spill on the first hurdle at Nagai Stadium and later announced he will retire with his dream of booking his fourth consecutive Olympic appearance dashed.
“I didn’t think that I would end like this in the preliminaries, but I am satisfied,” said Tamesue while holding back tears. “Actually, I feel somewhat refreshed.”
The two-time world bronze medalist said he lost his concentration for some reason when the pistol’s report rang out, causing him to reflexively lead with his right leg over the first hurdle instead of his left as usual.
After the Beijing Olympics, Tamesue moved his base to the United States with hopes of making the London Olympics as a last hurrah.
“I stopped drinking, and gave it my all, even living on a diet of mainly fish. But I had a rude awakening today that my body has deteriorated.”
In other races, Kazuya Deguchi won the men’s 5,000 meters in 13 minutes, 47.17 seconds to claim his first title.