Sunday, August 9, 2009

Still Waiting for the Return of Noguchi

translated by Brett Larner

Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex), who withdrew shortly before the Beijing Olympics women's marathon with an injury, revealed on Aug. 7 that despite hopes of a genuine comeback she is still unable to train nearly a full year after the original injury. Her coach Nobuyuki Fujita, in Tokyo for an event at Komazawa Park, commented, "Noguchi hasn't returned to the point yet where she can run for more than about half an hour."

According to Fujita, the pain Noguchi has experienced in her left hip and thigh for the last year is gone, but she has just started jogging again for 30 minutes at a time and is far from peak condition. Because of the injury, "Her muscles have grown stiff and her movement isn't good." Asked about a comeback race, Fujita said, "When she is able to jog for 60 to 90 minutes then we'll think about the next step," emphasizing that Noguchi's future plans are a blank slate.

In June and again in late July Noguchi visited the National Institute of Sports Science (JISS) for measurements of muscular strength in her legs.


Roberto said...

Has any Japanese newspaper/magazine/website published something about Noguchi's injuries that contains anything but her and her coach's reports? The reports I've seen have been extremely vague, and I wonder if any investigative reporting has been done. Also, has anyone published anything critical of her/her coach's decision to keep secret the extent of her injuries until it was too late to send a replacement to Beijing last year?

Brett Larner said...

I recall there being some criticism of Fujita at the time last year, but I think the strongest criticism, although indirect, came in the form of Rikuren taking explicit steps to improve communication about athletes' condition and potential injuries. To be fair, though, that wasn't just in reaction to Fujita/Noguchi but also to the three other athletes who were in various stages of breakdown but remained on the Beijing starting list.