By Shizuka Goto / Yomiuri Shimbun SportswriterKYOTO — Daisuke Miyamoto did not intend to just follow in the footsteps of sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu when he entered Rakunan High School. His goal has been to surpass the famous Rakunan grad, and he’s off to a good start.
The 16-year-old Miyamoto enjoyed a banner first year at the Kyoto-based school, where Kiryu burst onto the world sprint scene by clocking 10.01 seconds in 2013, putting him second on the all-time Japan list.
Miyamoto finished seventh at the IAAF World Youth Championships in July, then topped the season with a victory in November at the Tajima Memorial meet in Yamaguchi, where he defeated collegians and other older runners.
In the short term, Miyamoto has his eyes set on earning the title of “fastest high school sprinter” by winning the gold at next year’s Inter-High School championships. He also hopes for a clash with Kiryu, who now attends Toyo University. “He’s my hero, but he’s also a rival,” Miyamoto said.
Miyamoto has already surpassed Kiryu in one way. As a third-year student at Shuyo Middle School in Yamaguchi Prefecture, he clocked 10.56 seconds in May last year to set the national middle school record. That time eclipsed the 10.58 run by Kiryu when he was a first-year high school student.
Miyamoto continued to make progress after entering Rakunan High School in the spring of this year. The teen renewed his personal best at the Japan youth championships in October by clocking 10.49 seconds, and later ran 10.57 at the Tajima Memorial.
However, Miyamoto is not satisfied. Despite placing seventh at the World Youth Championships with a time of 10.78, he finished a full half-second behind winner and Japanese compatriot Abdul Hakim Sani Brown. “The gap just continued to widen — I couldn’t do anything,” Miyamoto said.
Still, the loss to a rival of his generation — Sani Brown is a student at Josai High School in Tokyo — has provided a spark for Miyamoto.
Miyamoto’s strength lies in his smooth strides based on a solid body core, enabling him to increase speed from the middle of a race. “He is extremely good at transferring power to the ground,” Rakunan coach Hiroyuki Shibata said.
He also benefits from the fact that he has suffered no major injuries to date. That can be credited to building a strong foundation and avoiding practice routines that would have placed excessive burden on his body during his middle school years.
The teen is often compared to Kiryu, who is now a sophomore at Toyo. Unlike Kiryu, who runs with short, frequent strides, Miyamoto is known for his dynamic strides. When asked to comment on Kiryu, he said, “I’d like to catch up, and surpass him as soon as possible.”
Talking about Miyamoto’s training plan, Shibata said: “I want to improve the general quality of his running in every area to make it possible for him to vie with the top sprinters.”
For the future, Shibata and Miyamoto have a five-year target — to grab the spotlight at the Tokyo Olympics.