Monday, September 14, 2009

Noguchi Sees "Light at the End of This Long, Long Tunnel"

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Marathoner Mizuki Noguchi (31, Team Sysmex) made an appearance Sept. 13 in Nagano's Sugadaira Takahara region at a workshop organized by her coach, Nobuyuki Fujita. For the first time she spoke seriously of a comeback from the left leg injury which has plagued her ever since forcing her to withdraw from defending her Olympic gold medal at last year's Beijing Olympics, saying that her condition has improved to the point that she is now able to run 20 km. "I've been running again for a month now after taking four months completely off," she told audience members. "The pain is mostly gone. I feel like I can see the light at the end of this long, long tunnel growing brighter bit by bit."

Coach Fujita revealed that a medical examination in mid-July during her stay at the National Institute of Sport Science had indicated that all traces of inflammation in Noguchi's leg have disappeared. In terms of a comeback race Fujita said, "We're looking toward a half marathon in the spring." With an eye toward making the national team for the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Korea, Noguchi would then plan toward running either the Yokohama International Women's Marathon in Nov., 2010 or the Osaka International Women's Marathon in Jan., 2011.

Taking motivation from the silver medal won by Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) at August's World Championships women's marathon in Berlin, Noguchi said, "[Ozaki's performance] left a good mark on me. My main goal right now is to build a solid foundation for the London Olympics."

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