NHK News broadcast, 8:55 p.m., 8/23/08
translated and edited by Brett Larner
The JOC announced on the evening of Aug. 23 that Beijing Olympics men's marathon team member Satoshi Osaki, 32, of Team NTT Nishi Nihon, has suffered an injury to his left hip and has withdrawn from the Aug. 24 competition. Osaki began to experience discomfort in his left hip during his final training session on Aug. 20, the day before he travelled to Beijing. The pain became progressively worse, and while jogging on Aug. 22 it developed to the point at which he could no longer run. Osaki made the decision to withdraw early in the day on Aug. 23.
In the women's marathon, defending gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi of Team Sysmex withdrew from the race shortly beforehand leaving only two team members to compete. Osaki's withdrawal leaves the men in the same position, with only Tsuyoshi Ogata and Atsushi Sato of Team Chugoku Denryoku remaining.
Osaki was 6th at last year's Osaka World Championships marathon, then ran 2:08:36 to finish 3rd at March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon and qualify for his first Olympic team.
Osaki appeared with Ogata and Sato at an official press conference in Beijing on Aug. 22 but did not give any indication of his injured status. Sato, on the other hand, was surprisingly subdued and evasive in his answers to reporters questions, showing an uncharacteristic lack of confidence leading to speculation that he is not at peak fitness. Team Chugoku Denryoku coach Yasushi Sakaguchi also spoke at the press conference about his two Olympic marathoners, saying, "Everything is good with Ogata, but Sato had a failure in Hokkaido [June's Sapporo International Half Marathon]. We planned to have him train in St. Moritz (Switzerland) after that, but...."*
*Translator's note: Sato ran very poorly in Sapporo. Shortly afterwards Sakaguchi cancelled the planned training camp in St. Moritz over concern that Sato was overtraining.