Koki Ikeda at the 2018 World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang (© Getty Images)
A seven-strong team – including Olympic medallists Koki Ikeda and Toshikazu Yamanishi – has been named by Japan for the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22 on 4-5 March.
Ikeda and Yamanishi claimed Olympic 20km race walk silver and bronze respectively on home soil in Tokyo last year and they will race over the same distance in Oman next month.
Ikeda clocked 1:21:14 and Yamanishi 1:21:28 to secure Japan's two athletics medals of the Tokyo Games.
Ikeda also led Japan to double gold in the men’s 20km race walk at the last edition of the World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang in 2018. With his individual win, he became his nation’s first 20km winner in the history of the championships, and Japan had three finishers in the top seven to also claim the team title.
They will be joined in the squad for the men’s 20km event by Motofumi Suwa, while 2019 world seventh-place finisher Nanako Fujii, who claimed U20 10km bronze in Taicang, contests the women’s 20km race walk.
Hayato Katsuki, who secured 50km race walk silver in Taicang and went on to win Asian Games gold later that year, goes in the men’s 35km event along with Olympic sixth-place finisher Masatora Kawano and Kazuki Takahashi.
Japanese team for Muscat
20km: Nanako Fujii
20km: Koki Ikeda, Motofumi Suwa, Toshikazu Yamanishi
35km: Hayato Katsuki, Masatora Kawano, Kazuki Takahashi