2017 World Championships women's marathon gold medalist Rose Chelimo, a Kenyan-born Bahraini, duly took gold in Sunday's Jakarta Asian Games marathon, biding her time in a slow race mostly led by 2017 Asian Championships silver medalist Keiko Nogami before taking off at 25 km to win unchallenged in a 2:34:51 Indonesian all comers record.
Behind her the main pack featured duos from Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, China and Kyrgyzstan, shedding members along the way before shaking down to a core chase group of four made up of Nogami, South Korean national record holder Do Yeon Kim and teammate Kyung Sun Choi, and North Korean rival Hye Song Kim. The fastest of the four, the South Korean Kim was the first to crack, leaving the other three to fight it out over the last 10 km for silver and bronze.
Choi, the only one in the chase trio not to have broken 2:30, launched a brief attack but was quickly reeled in by Nogami and Kim. Nogami returned fire with 5 km to go and dropped Choi, earning herself a medal in the process but the color still to be determined. She settled that at 40 km with another surge that broke her free of the North Korean, running alone the rest of the way to take silver in 2:36:27 and clearing the old Indonesian all comers record by nearly a minute. From 40 km to the finish she was 23 seconds faster than winner Chelimo but too far back to regain contact.
Kim held on to bronze in 2:37:20, with Choi close behind in 4th in 2:37:49. Un Ok Jo of North Korea overtook the South Korean Kim for 5th in 2:38:32, with Kim dropping to 6th in 2:39:28. Tanaka, who stopped at one point to tie her shoe, struggled in to a 9th-place finish in 2:42:35.
A relative latecomer to the marathon, Nogami's steady progress and quality performance in the hot conditions in Jakarta mark her as a stronger candidate for the Tokyo 2020 team than her 2:26:33 best would suggest. She qualified for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic with that 2:26:33 earlier this year, and a medal at the Asian Games only reinforces her position. Tanaka coming up short means she will have to try again, maybe once more before the qualifying deadline in March next year.
Jakarta Asian Games Women's MarathonJakarta, Indonesia, 8/26/18
1. Rose Chelimo (Bahrain) - 2:34:51 - ACR
2. Keiko Nogami (Japan) - 2:36:27
3. Hye Song Kim (North Korea) - 2:37:20
4. Kyung Sun Choi (South Korea) - 2:37:49
5. Un Ok Jo (North Korea) - 2:38:32
6. Do Yeon Kim (South Korea) - 2:39:28
7. Munkhzaya Bayartsogt (Mongolia) - 2:40:14
8. Meixia Zhang (China) - 2:41:30
9. Hanae Tanaka (Japan) - 2:42:35
10. Khishigsaikhan Galbadrakh (Mongolia) - 2:42:57
DNF - Mariya Korobitskaya (Kyrgyzstan)
DNF - Lihua Gong (China)
© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved