translated by Brett Larner
Athens Olympic marathon gold medallist Mizuki Noguchi returned to Japan today, arriving at Kansai International Airport in Osaka after spending several weeks at a training camp in Kunming, China in preparation for her Beijing Olympic bid at next week`s Tokyo International Women`s Marathon. Asked about her condition, Noguchi replied "I am very excited and 100% prepared for this race."
In Tokyo, Noguchi will face former Japanese national record holder Yoko Shibui and Hiromi Ominami, who was on the same flight from Kunming as Noguchi. Noguchi set the Japanese national record of 2:19:12 at the 2005 Berlin Marathon but has not run a marathon since then due to a series of accidents. She says that her comeback race will not be a guaranteed victory. "With rivals like these running it`s not going to be an easy race. Shibui and Ominami both look like they are in great shape so I expect the pace to be very high. I`m really looking forward to it."