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No Decision for Noguchi Until Tuesday or Wednesday (updated)

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Translator`s note: The section of quotes from the Aug. 10 press conference following the main article below has been updated and contains a fair amount of additional information.

Speaking at a press conference in Kyoto on Aug. 10, Mizuki Noguchi`s head coach Nobuyuki Fujita and Rikuren official Keisuke Sawaki addressed the defending Olympic marathon champion's condition and the possibility that she may withdraw from the Aug. 17 Beijing Olympics marathon, saying, "No decision will be made for another two or three days."

The press conference included Fujita, Sawaki, Noguchi's trainer Hisakazu Hirose and Rikuren marathon director Tadasu Kono. The conference began with an overview of Noguchi's situation by Sawaki, while Fujita followed with a further explanation. Sawaki told reporters, "While training in Switzerland, Noguchi began to feel that something was wrong with her left thigh. As a result she returned to Japan four days earlier than planned. She began receiving medical treatment on the 5th and yesterday also underwent MRI examination. Since returning to Japan her condition has been improving bit by bit, and this morning she was able to run much better than even yesterday."

Fujita commented, "While doing a long jog on July 25, Noguchi began to experience pain on the inside of her leg below her buttocks, leading us to change her practice on July 26 and 27 to walking only. She received painkiller tablets from a Swiss hospital, then an injection of a painkiller on July 30 when the pain did not subside. However, the necessary treatment facilities were unavailable in Switerland, so we left on the morning of Aug. 3, arriving in Kyoto and undergoing an MRI examination on Aug. 4. Noguchi received shots and other treatment beginning on the 5th. An additional MRI examination on the 9th revealed that she has sustained damage to her biceps femoris and semitendinosus, but compared to the results of the MRI on the 4th her condition is improving."

No decision will be made about Noguchi competing in the Aug. 17 Beijing Olympic Marathon for another two or three days. If she is unable to compete, team alternate Tomo Morimoto will not be elligible to fill her spot as she was not entered on the final Olympic team roster.

Following are questions and answers from the Aug. 10 press conference:

Q. What is the semitendinosus?
Sawaki: "It is a muscle to the inside of the biceps femoris. It got injured because Noguchi was compensating for the pain in her biceps femoris."

Q. What was the cause of her initial injury?
Fujita: "We don`t know. It could have been anything. There are various stresses."

Q. How bad is the pain?
Sawaki: "According to the doctor's observations, she is getting better and she should try hard to be able to race. In terms of just reducing the pain, compression by taping will work, but it doesn't mean she can run the race. If it were a sprint race, it would be easier to judge..."

Q: Was her training going well before she got injured?
Fujita: "I wouldn't say 100%, but not so far from that."

Q. Is her left leg still her weak point?
Fujita: "Her right leg was originally stronger. We thus tried to reinforce her left leg by weight training, but you cannot make both legs completely the same. Yes, there is a weakness."

Q. What will Noguchi's treatment be like from now?
Fujita: "The same low frequency wave treatment and ultrasonic wave treatment that we usually do."

Q. How much jogging can she do now?
Fujita: "The duration of her jogging is getting longer. It was 15 minutes before, but now 30 minutes."

Q. There is only 1 week left until the race.
Sawaki: "The situation is that even if Noguchi feels she is ready to give it everything she has, she might not be able to run. No decision will be made for another two or three days."

Q. What is Noguchi saying?
Fujita: "Her desire to run this race is very strong."

Q. Is there any possibility for an unrehearsed performance?
Hirose: "If she recovers enough to run within two or three days, it's possible. But even though she has a strong desire to run, she might not be able to finish. She has tried to run a couple of times, then had pain. We have to wait and see."

Q. Who will decide whether she runs?
Sawaki: "Noguchi, her coach and her trainer will decide together."

Q. What would be the criteria for the decision by her coach?
Fujita: "I would rather decide whether or not she can race from her movement than by how many days are left."

Q. If Noguchi is out, are we to expect only two runners for the Olympic women's marathon this time?
Kono: "We removed Morimoto from substitute duty on July 30 and it seems difficult to re-enter her as a runner at this point, but we are looking at the possibilities and are checking Morimoto's situation."


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