2 Japan records fall on final day at World Athletics

Kaito Kawabata, Julian Walsh, Yuki Joseph Nakajima and Fuga Sato pose after finishing the men’s 4×400 metres final in fourth place in th World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Sunday.

Two Japanese national records fell on the final day of the World Athletics Championships, with Mako Fukube claiming the mark in the women’s 100-meter hurdles and the men’s 4×400 relay team rewriting the record in that event on Sunday in Eugene, Ore.

Fukube clocked 12.82 seconds in placing eighth her semifinal heat, which wasn’t good enough to make the final but did eclipse the Japan record of 12.86 set by Masumi Aoki in April in Niigata.

Fukube, who defeated Aoki at this year’s Japan championships, was helped by being in a fast race that saw Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan run to a world record of 12.12.

Aoki had a chance to regain the record in the second of the three semifinals, but hit a hurdle midway through the race and finished in sixth place in 13.04.

In the preliminary round Saturday, Fukube broke 13 seconds for the first time when she clocked 12.96 to qualify for the semifinals, making her just the third Japanese in history to achieve that feat after Aoki and Asuka Terada.

In the 4×400 relay, the Japanese squad anchored by Yuki Joseph Nakajima became the nation’s first to eclipse the 3-minute mark, clocking 2:59.51, although it proved to be little consolation for coming up just short of a medal.

The quartet, which included Fuga Sato, Kaito Kawabata and Julian Walsh, finished in fourth place, 0.79 seconds behind third-place Belgium. The United States won the gold, followed by Jamaica in second.

Kawabata was a member of the relay team at the Tokyo Olympics that had tied the previous record of 3:00.76, which had been set at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Aoki will still return to Japan as a record-holder. She was a member of the women’s 4×100 relay squad that set the national mark of 43.33 in the qualifying heats on Friday. The team did not make the final.