• Kyodo

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Ryuji Takei surged into the lead with 6 kilometers remaining in the Lake Biwa Mainichi marathon on Sunday and finished strong to make his case for a berth on Japan’s team for the Asian Games this fall.

Takei, pacing himself with the foreign contingent of runners in the race, hit the finish line with a personal best time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 35 seconds for his first triumph in the 42.195-km race in Shiga Prefecture.

The race, run in cool but gusty conditions, doubled as the final national team qualifying race for the Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea, in October.

“I wasn’t concerned about the foreign runners in the race, but was nervous about shaking off (Takeshi) Hamano and (Toshinari) Suwa,” Takei said.

France’s Mohamed Ouaadi, with a personal best of 2:07:55, finished 25 seconds back for second place while Kenya’s Fred Kiprop was third in 2:09:08.

Suwa settled for fourth place in 2:09:10 in only his second try at a marathon while Hamano was fifth in 2:09:18. Defending champion Antonio Pena of Spain did not fare well in the gusty conditions and faded to 14th with a time of 2:13:01.

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