Originally published 10/12/08 in the Nikkei Newspaper
translated by Brett Larner
Mizuki Noguchi (30, Team Sysmex), who pulled out of the Beijing Olympics women's marathon after an injury to her left thigh, took part in a panel discussion at an event in Sado, Niigata Prefecture on Oct. 11, telling the audience through her tears, "I sincerely apologize [for pulling out of the race]. My big goal now is to be ready to run the London Olympics." It was Noguchi's first public appearance since her injury, and she sent a positive message with her mention of plans four years in the future.
The panel discussion was part of an event organized by Noguchi's coach Nobuyuki Fujita. "Fujita Running Academy" is a program designed to support and develop elementary and junior high school student runners. Appearing as a special guest, Noguchi spoke publically about her injury for the first time while addressing the student audience. "Getting hurt was my own fault. I wanted to be in the best shape possible for the Olympics and I did too much [training]. The fault was my own. Coach Fujita and my trainer [Hisakazu] Hirose bear no blame...."
Noguchi tried at one point to begin training again after her Olympic pullout, but the pain persisted and she returned to recovery and rehabilitation mode. Looking to the future, she commented, "I'm still motivated and looking forward to coming back to the top."