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Marathon runner Noguchi sets goal of earning medal at world championships

Kyodo

Athens Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi said Thursday that she is aiming to win a medal at the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Speaking at a news conference with leading Japanese athletes two days before the championships begin, Noguchi said she was rearing to go for Saturday’s women’s marathon.

“I have prepared myself well,” said Noguchi, who was unable to defend the Olympic title she won in 2004 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to injury.

“Because I’m going to run, I am aiming to be on the medal podium. Now all that’s left for me is to get psyched up for it.”

Ryoko Kizaki, who was 16th at last summer’s London Olympic marathon, displayed slightly less ambition.

“At the absolute minimum, I want to be among the top finishers,” she said. “I want to run with the leaders until the very end.”

Kayoko Fukushi, who will run in her first world championships marathon, said, “I’ve done all that can be done.”

Saturday will also see the heats of the men’s 100 meters, in which Japan sprint ace Ryota Yamagata and high school phenomenon Yoshihide Kiryu will compete.

“If I run my best race of the season, then I’ll be able to match my personal best (10.07 seconds),” Yamagata said.

Kiryu, who ran 10.01 on April 29, said, “I’m excited. Because I’m a high schooler, I want to enjoy running my race and gain experience.”