translated by Brett Larner
Daegu World Championships women's marathon 5th-place finisher Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), the top Japanese finisher in the Championships race, gave a press conference Sept. 20 at Hokuren's headquarters in Sapporo, Hokkaido to talk about her renewed motivation after her Daegu performance and her plans for making the London Olympics team.
Appearing together with her coach and husband Shuhei, Akaba talked about her race, saying, "At this summer's World Championships I didn't run the way I hoped, but I think it was a good performance. Still, I'm really disappointed not to have won a medal." Akaba also missed out on securing a place on the London Olympics team, but explained, "Looking toward my ultimate goal of an Olympic medal, Daegu helped me find a few weak points in my race and now I know what I need to work on tightening up."*
Shuhei confirmed that Akaba will run in November's East Japan Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships, but with regard to the Osaka International Women's Marathon and other Olympic selection races next year he said only, "We'll make a decision while keeping an eye on the overall situation."
Akaba is based in her native Tochigi prefecture and came to Hokuren headquarters to discuss her World Championships result with the company. It was her first time holding a press conference within Hokkaido in 1 1/2 years.
*Translator's note: Akaba was with the three Kenyan medalists in Daegu at the time of their move at 33 km. She clocked a faster split from 35 km to the finish than bronze medalist Sharon Cherop and a faster split than silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo from 40 km to the finish, only 2 seconds slower than gold medalist Edna Kiplagat's closing split, but did not respond to their initiative between 33 and 35 km. She finished 21 seconds out of the medals.