Radcliffe rival, Takahashi, left off Japanese Olympic team Welcome! › Forums › Running Forum › Radcliffe rival, Takahashi, left off Japanese Olympic team This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Ryan 14 years, 5 months ago. Author Posts March 17, 2004 at 1:31 am #1306 RyanKeymaster The runner expected to be among Paula Radcliffe’s biggest rivals for the marathon gold medal at the Olympic Games has been left out of the Japanese team for Athens. In a decision which shocked even the country’s prime minister, the selectors omitted Naoko Takahashi, who won the marathon at the last Olympics in Sydney. Takahashi, a national icon, was the first woman to run the marathon inside 2hr 20min, when she won the Berlin race in 2hr 19min 46sec. Despite her impressive record, she was passed over because she failed to impress the selectors in November’s Tokyo Marathon, one of four races designated as trials. Takahashi faded in the last four miles to finish second behind Elfenesh Alemu of Ethiopia. It was thought that she would be given the chance to defend her Olympic title and Takahashi skipped Sunday’s Nagoya Marathon to concentrate on training for Athens After several hours of deliberation, however, the selectors came up with a team of three and the damning verdict that Takahashi should have wrapped up her Tokyo race “more skilfully”. With Mizuki Noguchi already selected following her silver medal at last summer’s World Championships, the federation picked Reiko Tosa, who won in Nagoya, and Naoko Sakamoto, the champion in Osaka. Takahashi said: “I had always wanted to go to Athens and even pictured myself running there. I have regrets, but I wish all the best to the people who have been selected.” Junichiro Koizumi, the Japanese prime minister, said: “I feel sad. Can they add just another person by any means?” Author Posts You must be logged in to reply to this topic.