translated by Brett Larner
TBS, the official broadcaster of this summer's Daegu World Track and Field Championships, will broadcast Rikuren's announcement of the Japanese women's marathon team lineup live on the internet. On April 21 it's your chance to share the ecstasy of those who have emerged triumphant from the heat of the selection races to make the national team!
When: Thursday, April 21, 1:00 p.m. Japan time
Where: Go to the TBS homepage (http://www.tbs.co.jp/) and click on the [Ustream] link to go to TBS' online channel.
Translator's note: The men's team lineup has already been announced. Looking at the contenders for the women's team, thus far only defending World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) has secured a guaranteed spot on the Daegu team on the strength of her 2:23:56 win at February's Yokohama International Women's Marathon. Her teammate Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) was the top Japanese woman in contention for a World Championships team spot at Sunday's London Marathon, where she ran 2:25:29 to clear the federation's requirement of a sub-2:26, and must be considered a lock for a spot. Likewise for Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), who won January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:26:29 with very strong headwinds over the final 10 km. Akaba also finished ahead of Nojiri in London in a PB of 2:24:09 but that result will not officially count toward her chances for a World Championships spot because she was not one of the women running London as a consequence of the cancellation of March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon. Yokohama runner-up Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) clocked 2:24:29 there and is all but certain to pick up the fourth spot on the Daegu team.
The final spot on the team will most likely come down to a toss-up between Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) and Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku). Fujinaga was only 11 seconds behind Nojiri in London, running a 3-minute PB of 2:25:40 and clearing the sub-2:26 goalpost despite the difficult circumstances of running London after training for Nagoya and going through the stress of Japan's disasters. She finished only 13th in London but was 2nd among the women who had entered Nagoya. Ito was impressively aggressive in Osaka in January and finished 2nd behind Akaba in 2:26:55 after leading much of the race, missing a sub-2:26 thanks to the tough headwinds over the final part of the course. Comparing the two, Fujinaga's experience at two past World Championships will also work to her advantage. Ito's case is hurt by the fact that the next Japanese woman in London after Fujinaga, debutante Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), ran 2:26:54, but she gains points from her coach Tadasu Kawano being the federation's director of road racing. All things considered, the scales appear to tip in Fujinaga's favor.