Runner Niiya repeats as 6-km champ


Hitomi Niiya successfully defended her title in the women’s 6-km race at the Fukuoka international cross country meet on Saturday.

Niiya clocked a time of 20 minutes, 18 seconds at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park in Fukuoka. Grace Mbuthye Kimanzi of Kenya placed second 20 seconds behind, while Megumi Kinukawa took third in 20:49.

On the men’s side, Suguru Osako pipped Yuki Sato in a photo finish after both men crossed line with the identical time of 30:27 in the 10-km race. Akinobu Murasawa finished third in 30:32.

The races served as a qualifier for the Asian cross country championships in China in March.