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Noguchi to Lead Japanese Team of 10 at Rio World Half Marathon Championships

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On June 16, Rikuren announced the members of the Japanese team for the World Half Marathon Championships to be held October 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Leading the team of five men and five women will be two-time Olympic marathoner Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex).
The complete lineup of each team, with qualification data:

Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku): 1:02:00 (2nd, Sendai, 5/11/08)
Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko): 1:02:05 (3rd, Sendai, 5/11/08)
Masato Kihara (Chuo Gakuin Univ.): 1:02:07 (5th, Sapporo, 6/15/08)
Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK): 1:02:35 (3rd, Jitsugyodan, 3/16/08)
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN): 1:02:40 (4th, Jitsugyodan, 3/16/08)

Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren): 1:08:11 (1st, Jitsugyodan, 3/16/08)
Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex): 1:08:25 (1st, Sendai, 5/11/08)
Chisato Osaki (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo): 1:09:16 (2nd, Sapporo, 6/15/08)
Miki Ohira (Team Mistui Sumitomo Kaijo): 1:10:52 (4th, Sapporo, 6/15/08)
Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon): 1:11:44 (3rd, Sendai, 5/11/08)

Translator`s note: While some Japanese runners recorded faster times in other half marathons this spring, Rikuren used March`s Jitsugyodan Half Marathon, May`s Sendai International Half Marathon, and June`s Sapporo International Half Marathon to select the teams for the World Half Marathon Championships. In each case, the top two Japanese finishers were given consideration. The men`s team holds no surprises, as the second Japanese finisher in Sapporo, Tsuyoshi Ogata of Team Chugoku Denryoku, had a time of 1:02:46 and was thus not selected for the team.

The women`s team, on the other hand, has a few unexpected turns. Most notable is the absence of Sapporo winner Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC), who recorded a PB of 1:08:57. This may be an indication that Kano intends to run either the Berlin Marathon or Chicago Marathon, the latter along with her teammate Kiyoko Shimahara. Also notable is the absence of Jitsugyodan Half Marathon second Japanese finisher Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). Shibui`s 1:10:27 4th place finish was superior to both Ohira and Machida`s results. Their selection, particularly that of Sapporo third Japanese finisher Ohira, suggests something is afoot in the Shibui camp.


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