translated and edited by Brett Larner
The organizers of the 31st Osaka International Women's Marathon and the Sysmex Women's Distance Running Team announced on Jan. 25 that invited athlete Mizuki Noguchi, 33, has pulled out of this Sunday's London Olympics selection race edition of Osaka with inflammation in the back of her left thigh.
Noguchi has been training at 1600 m altitude in Boulder, Colorado since Dec. 24. She returned to Japan on Jan. 19, saying, "I did almost 100% of what was on the training menu. I'm ready to drop a big one."
Noguchi, the 2004 Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist, was forced to pull out of defending her title at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after an injury to her left hip joint. Since then she has suffered serial injuries but has persevered in trying to return to competition through her intense mental toughness. Her last marathon was the Nov., 2007 Tokyo International Women's Marathon, one of the selection races for the Beijing Olympics. Her planned return to the distance in Osaka after four years and two months had attracted enormous attention.
Update (from Nikkan article 1 hr 41 min after Sankei article): According to a source involved in the situation, Noguchi intends to shift her plans to try to make the London team by running the final Olympic selection race, the Mar. 11 Nagoya Women's Marathon.