Masatora Kawano qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the men’s 50-km race walk after winning an event in Takahata, Yamagata Prefecture, in a national record time on Sunday.
Kawano, a 21-year-old Toyo University student, crossed the finish line in 3 hours, 36 minutes, 45 seconds and met the qualifying standard of 3:45:00 set by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations.
“I was determined to win my Tokyo Olympics berth here, so I’m really happy,” Kawano said.
“I didn’t expect (my time) to improve this much. It was a surprise to me too,” he said.
The previous national record of 3:39:07 was set by Yusuke Suzuki at the nationals in April. Suzuki, who in September became the first-ever Japanese man to win a world race walking title, is the only other race walker to seal an Olympic berth in the 50-km discipline.