translated by Brett Larner
The 2009 Osaka International Women's Marathon athletes' village officially opened on Jan. 20. Making her first appearance in Osaka, Russian Gulnara Vygovskaya, 28, arrived in the athletes' village together with her coach Volker Wagner, 59, a former coach of men's marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia.
Also arriving in the athletes' village for her ninth Osaka was three-time winner Lidia Simon of Romania, 35. "I want to break 2:25 and be in the top three," Simon told reporters. As part of the pre-race festivities, runners in the athletes' village took part in a mochi-making ceremony (photo above). Simon professed her love for the traditional pounded rice-paste delicacy.