Having made her point on the problems with Japan’s selection process for the Olympic marathon, Osaka Women’s Marathon champion Kayoko Fukushi has announced that she will in fact not run in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon later this month.
Fukushi, concerned that her victory in Osaka in January had not guaranteed her a place on Japan’s team to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, had entered the Nagoya race on March 13 as a general-entry runner.
“We came to the conclusion that it was not necessary to win another race,” said Tadayuki Nagayama, Fukushi’s coach at Wacoal.
Japan athletics officials had earlier tried to dissuade the 33-year-old Fukushi from running a second marathon in 40 days, feeling that it could affect her performance in Rio if, as expected, she is selected for the team.
Three marathons — Saitama, Osaka and Nagoya — were designated by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations as domestic qualifiers for the Olympic team. But because Mai Ito earned an automatic place by finishing seventh at last year’s IAAF world championships, only two berths are available.
Fukushi, the 2013 world bronze medalist, won the Osaka Women’s Marathon in 2 hours 22 minutes 17 seconds, which topped the JAAF’s non-binding standard for selection of 2:22:30.
But according to the rules, if two runners surpass that time in Nagoya, they could both theoretically be chosen over Fukushi for the tickets to Rio.
One JAAF official acknowledged that, given the current level of Japan’s women marathoners, it did not anticipate the possibility of more than two runners meeting the qualifying standard.