translated and edited by Brett Larner
All nine athletes and six support staff from the federation-sponsored women's long distance training camp in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of this week's major earthquake returned safely to Japan the morning of Feb. 25. Four of the athletes and five of the staff members arrived at Tokyo's Narita International Airport, with the remaining camp members flying in to Osaka's Kansai International Airport. The four athletes arriving in Tokyo shared comments on their experiences with members of the media.
Multiple national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) said, "I've never felt an earthquake that big before. It was too much to put into words."
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), winner of last month's Osaka International Women's Marathon, was blunt, saying only, "It was terrifying. We were lucky, period."
Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei), who hails from Toyama where the large group of still-missing Japanese students studying abroad in Christchurch are from, told reporters, "I hope that they can rescue even one more person. All I can do is run, so I will run and pray that they come back safely and recover quickly."
Beijing Olympian Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya), who lived through the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Hyogo prefecture's Kobe, said, "I hope that they're able to quickly help those who are still missing and that they overcome this tragedy."