21 APR 2011 General News

Japanese World Championships Marathon squad selected – Daegu 2011

Yoshimi Ozaki impresses with a 2:23:56 victory in Yokohama (Yohei KAMIYAMA / Agence SHOT)Yoshimi Ozaki impresses with a 2:23:56 victory in Yokohama (Yohei KAMIYAMA / Agence SHOT) © Copyright
21 April 2011Following the cancellation of some qualifying races in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the remaining spots for nation’s Marathon squad for the IAAF World Championships, Daegu, Korea, 27 August – 4 September, were announced today (21).
 
The men’s team and one of the members of women’s squad, Yoshimi Ozaki, who automatically qualified for the team by winning Yokohama Women’s Marathon with 2:23:56, were announced earlier. Today, four more members of the women’s team were announced. They are Yukiko Akaba, Remi Nakazato, Azusa Nojiri and Mai Ito.

Ozaki, the winner in Yokohama, was automatically selected because her winning time cleared the standard (2:26) set by the JAAF.  Akaba, the winner in Osaka as well as the first Japanese in the London Marathon, and Nojiri were generally considered as two top candidates.

The decision came down to selecting two from a pool of three: Nakazato, the second Japanese in Yokohama; Ito, the second Japanese in Osaka; and Yoshiko Fujinaga, the second Japanese in London.

Because Nakazato was quite impressive in Yokohama - her Marathon debut time was faster than everyone else except for Ozaki – she was given the nod for one spot while Ito edged Fujinaga for the last remaining spot.

"I won the silver last time in Berlin, so I want gold this time, which will be enough to make the Olympic marathon team," said Ozaki, who plans to compete in the 5000m and 10,000m at the East Japanese Corporate championships before heading to Boulder, USA in June for altitude training. "I might not have the speed to run fast marathon yet, but I am a good heat runner and that will be my advantage in Daegu."

"I am happy to make the team again," said Akaba, who was a distant 31st at the 2009 World Championships and doesn't plan to race again prior to Daegu. "Since my race in Berlin was a disappointment, I want to redeem myself in Daegu. I don't think the race in Daegu will be fast, so it is important to make sure I can change the pace dramatically at the end of the race."

Ed. Note: Click here for the initial Marathon team announcement.

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF