OSAKA, Japan, Jan 25 (AFP) - Naoko Sakamoto defeatedworld bronze medallist Masako Chiba to win the Osakainternational women’s marathon on Sunday, aqualification race for the Athens Olympic Games.
Sakamoto, 23, clocked two hours, 25 minutes and 29seconds in her third full distance marathon to securequalification for the Olympics.
Chiba timed 2:27:38 and Hiromi Ominami third in2:27:40 as the Japanese runners took the top six placesahead of seventh-placed Renata Paradowska of Poland, whofinished in 2:31:47.
I had planned to spurt at around the 30-kilometre(18.6-mile) mark, but I decided to follow Chiba when shetried to shuffle the front-running group at around the28km mark, otherwise I would have been beaten,'' saidSakamoto. My time was not so good, I just tried to win therace, not to make a good time,’’ she added.
The Japan Association of Athletics Federations willannounce in March the three runners that will compete inthe Olympic Games in Athens.
Mizuki Noguchi has already secured a berth in theOlympics after winning the silver medal at the worldchampionships in August in Paris.