translated by Brett Larner
1999 World Championships marathoner Tadayuki Ojima (33, Team Asahi Kasei) announced on Jan 8 that he will retire from competition following his run at February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon. After retirement Ojima plans to concentrate on his work obligations with Asahi Kasei.
A native of Sasayama, Ojima went to the competitive Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. where he was part of the school's two year-straight national champion ekiden team. Following his older brother Muneyuki to Team Asahi Kasei, Ojima had a remarkable string of successes as a pro. He was a member of the Japanese national team at the 1999 World Championships marathon in Seville. At the 2004 Biwako Mainichi Marathon he ran 2:08:18, 2nd overall and the top Japanese finisher. The mark put him into contention for the Athens Olympics marathon team but ultimately he was not selected.
Ojima commented, "Before I joined Team Asahi Kasei, Nishiwaki Kogyo coach Koji Watanabe told me, 'If you last for 10 years [in the jitsugyodan circuit] then you'll be a true pro.' I've done my best for 15 years and I'm proud of what I've achieved. In the future I'd like to be a mentor to upcoming young runners."