translated by Brett Larner
Rikuren announced its list of athletes receiving special financial support in the 2011-2012 season on Mar. 31. Joining the ranks of the country's federation-supported athletes for the first time, Tokyo Marathon 3rd place finisher and amateur runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.) was officially granted B-class support.*
Female marathoners Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and male sprinters Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) and Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) were downgraded from A-class to B-class. Only three athletes were categorized at the highest level, S-class; field athletes Koji Murofushi (Team Mizuno) and Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and marathoner Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei).
*Translator's note: B-class athletes receive an annual stipend of 1,500,000 yen, roughly $18,000 USD at current exchange rates.