No Japanese Runners qualify for Olympic trials at the Saitama Marathon

SAITAMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Marie Imada finished fourth for Japan's best performance in the Saitama International Marathon on Sunday, failing to meet the qualifying standards for the Marathon Grand Championship, 2020 Olympic trials. In the race won by 20-year-old Dalila Gosa of Bahrain in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 35 seconds, Imada clocked 2:29:35, neither making the top three and running under 2:29:00, nor finishing in the top six under 2:28:00 to earn a place in next fall's MGC Race. Only eight women have met the qualifying standards so far for the MGC Race to be held Sept. 15 next year in Tokyo. The MGC is a race that will determine two of the three members for both the men's and women's marathon teams for the Tokyo Olympics. On Sunday, Imada and Saki Tokoro fell behind the leading pack around the 23-kilometer mark, while the women's 42.195-km race -- an IAAF Silver Label Road Race -- turned into a duel between Gosa and fellow Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel down the final stretch. "I was able to win because I trained hard. I'm very happy," Gosa said. "I'd like to work more on speed and endurance, and be able to maximize my performance." Habtegebrel crossed the finish line at the Saitama Super Arena four seconds after Gosa, and Kenya's Sylvia Jebiwot Kibet took third in 2:28:38. Mao Kiyota, who competed in the world athletics championships in London last summer, finished fifth in 2:31:07, and Tokoro came home sixth.

posted Sunday December 9th