Monday, July 14, 2008

Akaba Scores Olympic A-Standard Mark in Women`s 5000m

translated by Brett Larner

At the fifth meet in the Hokuren Distance Challenge track and field series, the July 13th Kitami Meet in Kitami, Hokkaido, Team Hokuren`s Yukiko Akaba won the women`s 5000 m in a personal best time of 15:06.07. Her mark, set with the aid of a male pacemaker, cleared the Olympic A-standard of 15:09.00. Akaba has already been named to the Beijing Olympic team in the women`s 10000 m but is now eligible to double in the 5000 m. Team Toyota Jidoshokki`s Yuriko Kobayashi and Team Wacoal`s Kayoko Fukushi also hold the A-standard and have already been named to the Olympic team.*

Kobayashi, the national record holder in the women`s 1500 m, ran the 1500 m at the Kitami meet. She won in a time of 4:12.76

Other athletes hoping for last-minute Olympic team selection have until July 23rd to run a qualifying time. In any event if one athlete from a given country breaks the Olympic A-standard the country may send up to 3 competitors in that event.

*Translator`s note: Kobayashi won the National Track and Field Championships 5000 m earlier this month, with Akaba 2nd and Fukushi 3rd. Kobayashi and Fukushi already held the Olympic A-standard at the time and so were named to the Beijing team. Akaba had not broken the Olympic A-standard at the time of Nationals and was thus left off the preliminary team lineup. Having now broken the A-standard she will almost certainly be added to the team.

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