translated by Brett Larner
Every step of Fukushi's run will be closely observed. The most dominant Japanese track runner, Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) has chosen the Beijing Olympics-qualifying Osaka International Women's Marathon this Sunday for her debut marathon. Fukushi has been sequestered at a secret training camp in preparation for this eagerly-anticipated debut.
Defending champion Yumiko Hara (Team Kyocera), who had a difficult time in last year's World Championships marathon, will be running. Last year's 3rd place finisher Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) and 2006 Vienna Marathon winner Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) are also on the start list. Foreign competitors include Sydney Olympics silver medalist Lidia Simon and 2:21:30 runner Constantina Tomescu-Dita, both of whom hail from Romania.
Osaka World Championships marathon bronze medalist Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) has already secured one spot on the Beijing Olympic team. November's Tokyo International Women's Marathon winner Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) will almost certainly be selected for the team, leaving only one spot. Naoko Takahashi (Team Phiten) is scheduled to run the final Olympic-qualifying race, March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon, and like Fukushi will be closely observed.
Translator's note: This article omits mention of the U.K.'s Mara Yamauchi among the strong foreign competition in Osaka.