• Kyodo

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Takami Ominami led Japan to an unprecedented podium sweep at a major overseas marathon when she eclipsed her personal best time by more than two minutes to win the women’s race at the Rotterdam Marathon Sunday.

Ominami, 26, who became the first Japanese woman to win the race since Miyoko Asahina’s triumph in 1994, crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 43 seconds to finish ahead of compatriots Masako Chiba (2:25:11) and Junko Akagi (2:29:10).

Ominami, a national team member at last year’s World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, opened up a six-second lead over Chiba at the 30-km mark and dug deep into her energy reserves down the final straight to clinch her first win in the Rotterdam race.

“Physically it was pretty taxing in the final stages but I must say I really enjoyed every minute of the race,” Ominami said.

Simon Biwott of Kenya won the men’s race in 2:08:39, compatriot Kenneth Cheruiyot finished second in 2:09.43 despite running the final 30 km with a broken arm, and Jose Manuel Martinez of Spain took third in 2:09.55.

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