KOBE – Eiki Takahashi won his second straight national 20-km race walking championship on Sunday to earn a spot in this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
With world record holder Yusuke Suzuki unfit for competition due to injury, the 23-year-old Takahashi booked his first ticket to the Olympics with a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, 26 seconds.
“I’ve been having good practices and managed to turn in a spirited race,” Takahashi said. “The Olympics have been a dream of mine since I was little. I now stand on the starting line and will keep working to win a medal.”
Isamu Fujisawa, targeting his second-straight Olympic berth, was the runnerup, 19 seconds behind. Kumiko Okada won the women’s title in 1:29:40 but failed to clear the qualification time needed to walk in Rio.