SENDAI – Resurgent Athens Olympic gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi won her first official race in five years on Sunday when she triumphed at the Sendai International Half Marathon.
Noguchi, who marked her latest comeback from a succession of injuries with a third-place finish at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in March, cut the tape in a winning time of 1 hour, 10 minutes, 36 seconds at Sendai City Athletic Stadium.
It was the first victory for the diminutive 34-year-old since she won this race in 2008.
Noguchi missed the chance to defend her Olympic title in 2008 in Beijing because of injury and went on to suffer a series of other fitness issues that have interrupted her running career.
But she has been gradually regaining her form and her performance in Nagoya has earned her a place on the Japan team for this summer’s athletic world championships in Moscow.