Thursday, March 24, 2011

London, Boston, Daegu International Named as Women's WC Selection Race Replacements

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Mar. 23, Rikuren announced that three overseas races, the April 10 Daegu International Marathon, the April 17 London Marathon, and the April 18 Boston Marathon have been designated as the official replacement selection races for this summer's Daegu World Championships women's marathon team. Due to the earthquake and tsunami disasters in northeastern Japan, both the final domestic selection race, the Nagoya International Women's Marathon, and its replacement, the Nagano Marathon, were cancelled, leading to the necessity of designating overseas events as the selection race. Only women who were entered in Nagoya are elligible for a World Championships team berth.

Following the preemptive withdrawal of 2010 Nagoya winner Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC), Beijing Olympian Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) leads eight Japanese women in London. 2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) was already entered in London and her performance there will not count in the national team selection process. 2011 Ome 30 km winner Hiromi Ominami (Yutic AC) is the lone Japanese woman in Boston, while Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) and four others will run Daegu International.

Rikuren's criteria for World Championships consideration on the strength of results from the three races remain unchanged, "Sub-2:26 and top Japanese woman." At the press conference announcing the races, Rikuren director Keisuke Sawaki commented, "We originally planned to use the April 17 Nagano Marathon as the replacement selection race, but since it isn't possible for that race to take place we want to pick up Japanese athletes from London."

The World Championships marathon team will be made up of five athletes. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei), winner of February's Yokohama International Women's Marathon in 2:23:56, is the only woman to have secured a guaranteed spot on the team. The remaining four places will be decided following the three races in April.

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