translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner
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After initial reports on Aug. 19, Rikuren officially confirmed on Aug. 20 that marathoner Yoko Shibui (30, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) is withdrawing from the Aug. 23 World Championships women's marathon in Berlin, Germany. Shibui began experiencing discomfort in the upper right side of her right foot on Aug. 14. After arriving in Berlin, the discomfort developed into pain bad enough that Shibui consulted a doctor on Aug. 18. The diagnosis was a likely stress fracture of the 4th metatarsal.
Since alternate Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) is also injured and unable to run, Japan will field a team of only four runners: Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei), Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC), and Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido). In the Beijing Olympics two marathoners, Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) withdrew with injuries shortly before their races. Rikuren executive Keisuke Sawaki apologized to the public for Shibui's situation, saying, "Since Beijing I have been personally involved in overseeing athletes' condition, and I am very, very sorry this has happened."